Mary cleaned her room

Yes, this is a blog-worthy event.

I’m one of those moms. I don’t make my kids clean their rooms. They help with the other chores around the house, but I let them be responsible for their own space. Or at least that’s what I tell myself.

Ethan’s room is disorganized, but nothing that couldn’t be whipped into shape within a half an hour. He likes it clean, or clean enough, and frequently makes it so. Mary’s bedroom floor, on the other hand, is seeing the light of day for the first time in quite a while. The mess didn’t bother her until she literally couldn’t play in her room without stepping on her stuff. Two weeks ago she started drawing pictures of how she’d like her room to look, and when she asked for help making it look that way, of course I was much obliged.

She also decided she’d like a cube organizer (in addition to her aluminum foil) for her birthday, and I was happy to get her that. Grandma pitched in and bought her a new quilt as further incentive to make her space beautiful. And Ethan and I agreed we’d help her clean.

What a process it’s been though. I love that she’s crafty, has a good memory and excellent imagination, and is rather sentimental, but I’m having a devil of a time trying to teach her that her stuff is just stuff. Especially since I was the same way! I remember being six or seven years old and shedding many a tear over the loss of my dear friend Rachel the Apricot Pit, whom I’d bestowed with a felt-tipped face and some fuzzy red-yarn hair.

Mary had a small family of toilet paper tubes… a tall one with brown eyes named Cylinder Mom, and two blue-eyed tubes named Cylinder Ethan and Cylinder Mary. You could tell them apart because the Cylinder Mary had bigger, cuter eyes, as her maker was wont to point out. This little tubular family has been living on a cardboard nightstand she fashioned some time ago, and their job was to hold the letters and notes we’d write each other. Voodoo-doll mailboxes of a sort, I guess. But today she parted with the nightstand after removing and saving the “PARTY” sign she’d cut out for it. She even said goodbye to the toilet paper tubes, but not before giving them each sentimental kisses and wishing them happiness and new friends at the dump.

WHY does this tug at my heartstrings so? Oh… and the craziest part? Now that I’ve taken the Cylinders out to the dumpster, I’m regretting not taking their pictures first. *Sigh*

Anyway. We’re done. For now. Here’s hoping it’ll last long enough to be worth the trauma it took to get there. 🙂


  1. Suki

    Wow! Good job high fives to all of you!

    I was talking with an admittedly neurotic Asian mother about kids when she told me her philosophy about kids and their bedrooms. She adheres to the idea that a child’s bedroom is his domain (she only has sons) and he needs to be able to control and organize this small area of his world. If he can’t organize his room, he can’t possibly organize the rest of his life. A disorganized room is a sign of a disorganized mind and life.

    I can see her point and I’m mulling over how I want to incorporate this idea into Kelly’s and my life. I’m thinking that I’m rather disorganized myself and maybe if I organize my own bedroom I might become more organized all the way around.


  2. velda

    Sometimes I think a little disorganization fosters creativity. It seems to me at least that creative adults are often fairly disorganized. Or perhaps they’re just not organized conventionally? At any rate, I don’t want to be the mom that nags them to death, so I’ve tried to let it be.

    Mary _is_ very proud of her clean room. And surely enough, we had Ethan’s room sparkling within half an hour today. We’re still working on their closets though, and then on the library / craft room. And then we’ll tackle my closet. Wish us luck!


  3. Janelle

    I am terrible at throwing things out — especially things that my kids give me (often along the lines of confetti fluff out of poppers, lol). My girls are often the same way. The answer we’ve found is photography. I take pictures of these “special” things and throw them away. Then I can scrapbook a page with pictures and the stories (which are the most important anyway) and call it good. (It would be really handy if I actually got the scrapbooking done, lol). Our rule is that if it doesn’t have a home it has to go to the garbage. Some things just “disappear” (The really unimportant things I just might chuck when they’re gone or asleep) and other things they get to photograph and say goodbye to. 🙂


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