Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Messy rooms

My friend Sandy recently posted about the messes her kids make. I have to admit here I am anal about my house but that is part of the reason the boys now occupy the entire upstairs of our Cape Cod style home. We have a half story up there, and they chose to share the bedroom and have the remaining space as their playroom. The arrangement works very well until I have to go upstairs for reading and/or tuck-ins.

They have been shown hundreds of times HOW to pick up. "First, do the Rescue Heroes. Then do the train tracks, etc.". They have been instructed to take out one item or set at a time and put it back before they take something else out. They have had toys taken away (ie, put in "toy jail") for months at a stretch. They have had to take toys to the Goodwill for children who don't have any toys.

Nothing works.

I know Sandy thought I was kidding the other day when I said I didn't think the messes at her house were that bad. I figured I'd better let her be the judge.

These were taken 10 minutes ago. The boys had been up there "cleaning" a total of an hour and a half by then. It doesn't look substantially different from the "before" view (which I did not record for posterity).

Here it is, in all its ugliness and honesty. Please don't judge me by this. It is my now not-so-secret shame.

Update: It's all picked up. The boys were NOT happy about missing the Charlie Brown Christmas special, but it motivated them to get in gear. It's not perfect, but it is a sight better than it was, and Spencer just vacuumed the bedroom, Evan did the playroom, and Garrett is about to start vacuuming the stairs. (I HATE to vacuum stairs. And he just said he loves it, so I am recording it here for later proof.) I feel much better. Until next week. Sigh.


  1. You are very smart to leave this part of house-cleaning to the boys.
    I'm such a control-freak--- I ALWAYS end- up picking up after the kids.
    Result: House is always "picked-up" but my kids will grow up - never learning how to do the job themselves.
    I know this. But I still can't let THEM do it 'cause it will be wrong. (ie...different from how I would do it.)

  2. Susan9:46 PM

    You could be mean and tell them you won't go up there any more. Stories can be read in the family room and if they get to missing tucks, then they will know it's time to clean up.

    But I can tell you that my kids are the same wrt this issue. Need to sneakily remove some toys before we overfill again with upcoming holidays.

  3. let the boys have their space and don't go near it.

  4. I'm sorry, Jennifer, but your pictures of messy rooms make me think "Oh, please! I would be HAPPY if my kids' rooms looked that good. I would be happy if my LIVING ROOM looked that good." I know we're abnormally messy around my house, but I just don't think those pictures are that bad. I think you're doing a great job, with your house and with your kids.

    And, by the way, I've known kids from families whose moms did everything for them. One grew up to be an organized person who could pick up after herself, one grew up to be completely incompetent. You can always figure you're teaching by example. I think Audrey has future clean-freak written all over her (I mean that in a good way).

  5. Anonymous10:51 PM

    Hmmmmmm. Looks like my house! At least they clean it up, right?

    I hate those little toys that seem to multiply... blocks, legos, etc.

  6. It really isn't that bad--you are always going to think it is worse than they rest of us do because you have to live in it.