I admit that as a child, a teenager and a young adult I was a hot mess when it came to keeping my room tidy. As an adult, I still struggle with picking up after myself but make a strong effort to be organized and have come a long way from the days of my youth.
I can remember occasionally as a child coming home from school to the wonderful sight of a clean room. My mother, no doubt, spent the whole day working her ass off transforming the disaster into a neat and tidy form. I am certain this was not an hour long process and I am sure that this is why it was not done frequently. I can still remember the labels that she placed on the outsides of my drawers in an effort to get me in a system and help me become organized.
While my Mom made a gallant effort to get me organized through out the years, I believe my main setback with being orderly was that she did these huge tasks while I was at school. I am sure it was much easier for her to tackle the mess without my help (as I would surely object to everything she would try to do) so I certainly can’t blame her for working alone. But because she did work alone, I was never properly taught the how’s and why’s of organizing space by myself.
It has taken me years to become an organized person and over time I’ve turned quite obsessed with books, articles and tips on how to live simply. Organization doesn’t come natural, so I have to work very hard in finding and maintaining systems that do work, for me.
Oh and how the apple does not fall far from the tree!
I noticed a very long time ago that my daughter was a very unorganized carbon-copy of me. After years of being disgusted with her room I decided that every 6 months I would go into her room with her and do a total gut and reorganize.We would leave no corner unturned and no item out of place. I created this ritual with her in hopes to teach her a few things:
Now I am going to show you a few pictures of my daughters room…
Okay, so by the looks of the pictures you are probably wondering when the heck is she going to put these skills to use.
Yes, the photos are bad, but I have to say, I was actually quite pleased with her room. I independently went into her room to begin the 6 month clean out routine while she was at school. I planned on assessing the damage and getting started but figured before I even put a dent in the job she would be home from school.
In each of the clean outs there have been less and less items that have been dug out of the drawers, corners, bags and boxes and placed into trash bags. In previous purges we have left the room with multiple (and I mean MULTIPLE… 11… 9… 5) bags of trash. We have, in the past, taken up to 2 days to get her room in order but over the past few years the days have turned into 1 day, then 9 hours, 5 hours and then yesterday, 3 hours.
Had I been moving correctly, I would estimate that it would have taken me (by myself) less than 1 hour and I only filled a small plastic bag with trash. Nope, not a trash bag, only one small plastic bag from a clothing store!
This to me is progress and firm assurance that my system is working!!
Sure, she still has a way to go before being completely organized and systematic, but I cannot stress enough on how much of an improvement this is from where she was 3 years ago.
- Natalie no longer hides things the way she once did!
- She keeps her collections in the containers I had previously had her set up!
- She hasn’t started any new collections!
- Aside from her clothes, accessories and stuffed animals she pretty much puts things where they belong!
So, because of her obvious effort to keeping fairly organized, I wanted to reward her in some type of way
that wouldn’t involve me spending any money. She has been working on putting photos into picture frames that she buys at the dollar store and has been talking about creating a photo wall.
For a few months now, Natalie had the frames she’s picked up, so far, filled with photos but we hadn’t had the chance to hang them up on her wall. I decided I would help her along in her project and get her started.
I laid out all of the frames on her cleared off floor, and when she came home from school yesterday, I received her approval of the arrangement.
This morning, I traced all of the frames onto paper and numbered both the paper and the back of the frame.
After I cut out the traced form, I copied the pattern onto the wall, taping each cut out with the numbers towards me. I used painters tape so it wouldn’t peel off the wall paint.
Once I was satisfied that everything was in proper form, I inserted picture hanging nails through the paper and then hung up each picture.
Lastly, I removed the papers after each picture was in the correct place.
This is the first time I have used this method for hanging pictures on a wall and I have to tell you it was easy as pie!
I think this is a great start to build on and it is so nice to have all of those frames off of her dresser!
And here is a photo of what it looks like to walk by her room now…
The last thing I want to say is that if you haven’t noticed I didn’t post a picture of the inside of her closet. This is because she will be tackling that bit alone this afternoon. I have full faith in her that she will do it correctly and I just know she will make me prouder of her than I already am.
UPDATE** I knew she’d make me proud: