Wednesday, October 5, 2011

A Hoarder-In-Training

This picture says it all. Actually, this only shows about 10% of her room. But trust me, the other 90% is just as bad if not worse. Articles on the floor include dirty clothes, dog toys, stickers, lip balm, books, hairbrushes, ribbons, trash, jewelry, shoes, pom-poms, wrapping paper, an assortment of glitter, a pillow, a pillow pet, and an oar. That’s right, a wooden oar and I have no clue.

Now before we begin, let’s examine the resources she has available to her on a daily basis. It’s not like she doesn’t have the proper tools she needs to keep a clean room. You may be surprised to know that an entire bookcase in her room is full of rectangular baskets that are currently empty. It’s as if each night she just dumps the contents of said baskets onto the floor. I am careful to ensure that she has ample storage room for her belongings. Everything I listed above that is on her floor right now, does have a proper home in her room.

In my futile quest to instill in her a modicum of responsibility, I have tried a variety of approaches to get her to straighten up. When she was 3, the “toy fairy” would come at night and abscond with any toys she left on the floor. The fairy would in turn deliver them to boys and girls who kept their rooms neat and tidy. That worked for a week or 2. Then the fairy got lazy and kind of pissed off that expensive toys were left out and the fairy didn’t feel like throwing away significant investments. A couple years later, we tried the old, you-cannot-watch-TV-until-your-room-is-straightened-up threats. In lieu of TV, she would just stay in her room and make even MORE of a mess. Then we got our new puppy. Surely the site of her dog turning her toys, books and even shoes into chew toys would be the perfect deterrent. Not so much. She’s perfectly fine with her things being destroyed (because she knows I’ll replace the important items) and she’s fine with the mess (she doesn’t take up all that much room on her bed) She’s fine with her clean clothes sitting folded on her bed and not in her drawers (they’re easier to grab on the bed) and the open dresser drawers just don’t bother her at all.

Part of me just wants to leave it this way and let her bury herself in her crap. A tiny part of me wonders if she’s got serious hoarding tendencies. She does LOVE cats. Hmmmm.

The other part of me can’t wait to get it all straightened up. But I know in a matter of days, it will go back to the way it is now. I want to be able to commit to not buying her ANYTHING unless her room is kept clean. I’ve even considered stripping her room of EVERYTHING except a clean change of clothes – a strategy I hear on Dr. Laura’s radio show almost daily. But I just don’t have the gumption or the storage room to do it.

What are YOUR strategies to keeping kids’s rooms clean and organized? Or do I just need to RELAX?

PS - I hoped to get a better picture of the mess today for this post, but when I returned home from work she and Daddy were already cleaning up. Make that Daddy was cleaning up, she was supervising. Ugh.

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