Thursday, August 01, 2013

Summer organization for the girls

Just when I think I've got a handle on this organization of our house I'm reminded that I am delusional. We as a family have agreed that it is time to get control of our clutter. We made the mess and now we must take care of cleaning it up. I'm taking a top down approach. Starting upstairs in our home working our way to the dreaded basement.

Our first stop is with the children's rooms. Every parent struggles with keeping their children's rooms generally tidy. I expect high standards only because I am a particular person that just happens to be a librarian. Woe is the life of the children in my home. Actually I have gotten better about ignoring disorderly portions of our home. I have to, it's a coping mechanism so I won't end up in the funny farm for being overly OCD with organization. Our biggest problem is with bedrooms. Another child will be coming to join us in December which means that we need to figure out how to use the rooms efficiently. Two of the three girls will have to share a room so this is even more important to accomplish.

Each of my girls has a particular way of dealing with their mess. Adelynn at nearly 3 years old operates by the standard toddler method of abandonment. Upon entering her room you know exactly what was going on in there and what was the choice of the day for entertainment. I am the one who initiates the clean up and often I end up cleaning up her mess. Olivia my 11 year old tends to have a trace of the tidy gene within her. She will typically have the cleanest room in the house. Oh but it's really mostly show. Where she enjoys order she can be distracted and rushed when cleaning up. Her closet and drawers will hold an assortment of items all of which do not belong together. This makes finding things difficult. I know this about her because I investigate her room. Then there's the obvious outward sign of her wearing the same 5 pieces of clothing over and over which tells me she puts little effort in putting stuff away. The nearly 13 year old is the biggest room mess maker. Not a naturally organized person she uses a more organic approach of room management. She just lets her room become a hot mess stepping over clutter to get to what she needs. She too tends to stuff things away in random drawers or nooks.

We have settled on the who of the three will share a room. The younger two girls will bunk together. Leah will keep the room she has to herself on the condition that she will make a SERIOUS effort to keep her room tidy. The messy room she creates stresses her out. She requires the most help and I'm at wits end trying to find solutions to her needs. We have much to do before her room will be complete. Her ideas are grand which is great but we'll have to be clever in our methods. The plan is to make it better by using what we have in our home to re-adjust the needs she has for her teen room.

Before coming up with a design for the room we needed to get a better control of her clothing problem. She has too much for her personality. She is better suited to have fewer key things to work with rather than plentiful amounts. Together she and I weeded out some of her clothing. Too small, too ugly, too anything was tossed out into a pile to donate to her sister or the church. What remained was far less than before. With a very limited clothing pile to work with she and I determined which pieces were year round clothing and which were seasonal. One box under her bed was filled with winter clothing. Heavy shirts, sweaters, fleece anything, ski gear, etc was tucked away out of sight. We folded up her long sleeve shirts and put them in a box in her closet. (This same box will hold her summer pieces when the season changes.) Everything else was assigned a new drawer where it was folded up and put away. Another day she and I will go through these remaining items and create outfits for her to wear. The need to create outfits is huge for her. During the summer it's not a big deal but for school it is a HUGE deal to her. We have made some progress in this project by cutting out ideas from magazines which we will use to come up with outfits from her closet. It's the idea of abstract things that is difficult for her to manage. She can't see the plethora of outfits that can come from 6 pieces of clothing. This is where Mom comes in handy to teach the daughter how to use things in 17 different ways to make up a wardrobe. I have to admit this is something I really enjoy doing. It will be a great rainy day event for us both.

Now that her clothing is all sorted out we need to get on to the rest of her room. This is where I step out of the picture. She needs to make decisions about the stuff she WANTS in her room. A long step to ponder but required before we can press on. While she determines how she wants to use her room, besides the obvious sleeping part, then we can make changes. For the next few days I'm going to check websites, hello Pinterst, magazines and stores to get ideas. Ikea is great for compact storage. In the mean time I need to start on Olivia's room. She has to de-clutter on a massive scale. Since her room will be shared the need to reduce her stuff is imperative. I know the one thing we will need to invest in is another dresser. The two she has will not be enough to hold 2 girls' clothing. By removing one dresser and her desk there will be room for a large tall dresser. We've already cried about the desk leaving. She uses is to hold stuff, rather pile stuff, and not for working on things like she imagines. I reminded her that there is little chance that she'd use a desk in her room now that she will be sharing her room with a toddler. Her concern was a homework location. That is a legitimate concern but I know that all the kids end up at the dining room table so the removed desk will not be missed. I already have a homework station on my list of need to set up before school begins.

Steps. All in steps. We have to be productive for at least half our day so that we are able to spend the other half having fun. I don't want to take away their summer but I also don't want to tackle this alone. Room by room, day by day, this is how it will go until we have completed our goals of total room organization.

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