My first born is ELEVEN! I’m not really sure where the time has gone, but with summer upon us, I finally took the time to update his room, with him and teach him some organizational strategies. These might be helpful to you too if you are not getting the results you want when you ask them to “clean your room.”
WALL COLOR: We picked this bold yellow years ago. It’s a little golden and fills the room with warm light when the sun is out. It’s the best room for day naps too! I choose NOT to paint to the ceiling to add some visual interest and keep it a little modern, without going over board. I’m not a big fan of “kid rooms”. They get dated quickly and aren’t consistent with the style of your home. But do what you want 🙂 My mom let me have giant murals on my wall when I was a pre-teenager. I loved them, but quickly out grew them as well. I will also add, that one of the four walls is all white (not shown). I had art on that wall and didn’t want the paint to distract from the art.
BED: Originally he had a duvet cover from IKEA that was white, with orange and yellow polka dots (matched wall color). Eventually that wore out, and I had the IKEA duvet with numbers on it (seen here), unused, so that had to do the trick until we found something new.
This duvet is from Target. I found it on clearance but in a queen size. To resize for a Twin bed, I simply traced the twin insert on the new cover. Cut. And sewed the three new sides (keeping the closure as it arrived.) Easy enough, and the yellow was a perfect match. Plus the grey and black felt more grown up.
Under the bed I gave him ONE basket to keep all his random nick-nacks that “CAN NOT BE THROWN AWAY BECAUSE I NEED THEM”. This may sound harsh, but when we pulled his bed out and cleaned under there, not only was it packed, he had no idea most of it existed. One basket was fair and the items in it have the potential of seeing him this way.
Each of my kids has a keepsake box under their bed too. When it’s full, we go through it together, walk down memory lane, and eliminate the items that seem silly to keep at this point. It’s a fun exercise, and helps them learn that they can’t save everything, nor do they need to.
DRESSER: Garage sale find. The drawers a bit small as he has grown so during our clean-up we reorganized them and moved all his pants to the closet (see below). I love simple white furniture. It’s safe, sure, but it’s also easy to decorate around as my tastes change.
TOP OF DRESSER ORGANIZING: So my kid is a saver. He loves gifts (check out this post) and his dresser was COVERED in them. Seriously, not a white inch to be seen. Rocks he picked up on trips, every trophy he has been given, nick-nacks (my least favorite), every book he is reading… you get the point.
So to help him keep it neat and useful we followed these tips:
- Start with a clean slate. Clear off surface.
- Make the hard choices. Toss, Keep, Store. ((By the end of the day we had two trash bags full. It was awesome!)) The items he “needed” daily remained on the dresser. The items he wanted to keep out, moved to a better place, and sentimental items moved to his single, under the bed, storage keepsake box.
- Make a place for everything. I gave him three choices of dresser top storage. A galvanized small box, a silver tray, and this ticket bowl seen above. He choose the bowl. The only things to be kept in here are his “daily items” which are currently Deodorant (crazy right!), a watch, chapstick, and his wallet. Since his dresser is also his night stand, the clock, and a magazine box, in which he keeps his current reads, also got to stay. A few decorative items made it back on the dresser, but those might not make it very long.
It’s so important to make a place for everything when you are planing a child’s space, bedroom or playroom. They need the structure (we do too). It also sets them up to succeed when you ask them to “clean your room”. They know just where the misplaced items should go, and also where to find them.
CLOSET: The closet was next. I really should have taken a before picture. But maybe you have a before closet too… take a look.
Since there isn’t a lot of room for a dresser in this room, we have always hung most of his clothes. I also love hanging clothes because it’s easier to see what you have. As we “updated” the room we moved his pants to hangers because they were no longer small enough to fit nicely in the drawers (sniff-sniff).
This closet is really deep and didn’t have doors when we moved in. I made the curtains and they are on a tension wire (which needs tightening). We also installed simple wood shelves in the back for storage since the room is quite small.
TOYS: Rolling floor bins from Target.
PJs, Sweatshirts, and other “occasional clothing”: Baskets from Dollar Store on lowest shelf (for easy reach)
Too Big Clothes: Next season clothing is on the next shelf up from floor (also for easy reach and viewing).
Non-fiction Books and Games/Toys: Are easily accessable on the next shelf (from floor), but hidden behind the hanging clothing.
Fiction Books: Made the next shelf because they are re-read less frequently, but still needed to be accessed. A few less frequently accessed toys are also on this shelf.
Keepsakes: Top shelf got the keep items that one of us wanted to hold onto (and couldn’t fit in the under the bed box). I.e. His 5th grade scrap book, favorite stuffed animals, etc.
DESK: Keep the top neat (like the dresser) with just what you need to work at the desk handy. Everything else when inside the drawers or up on the wall shelves (not yet pictured).
BULLETIN BOARD: I love giving my kids a bulletin board. It keeps the walls from getting cluttered and having holes. (My mother was so patient! I apparently don’t have this yet.) His board is hung behind his door, so that the clutter is hidden. I don’t really care what happens there, as long as I don’t have to see it when I walk by.
WALLS: I plan to add some framed art over his bed on both sides. I’ll update this post as soon as it’s done.
In conclusion, he is SOOOOOO happy with the clean and updated room (and so am I). It feels like a big kid space. He is comfortable. And he can rest easy in his own space. We had A LOT of time to talk during the process and I learned some new things about him; how he treasures experiences and people. It was really sweet. I also got to explain and teach him how to organize and why it’s important to take care of our things and our space. He was really receptive and understood the effects of clutter and disorganization. I saw him making choices based on the why’s and not just “because mom said to clean my room.”
And a final tip- don’t expect your child to deep clean their room alone. It’s overwhelming for anyone, but it’s also unhealthy to live with a layer of dust bunnies under the bed, and old tissues lost under the desk. My current un-cluttering philosophy is “would it go if we moved?” If the answer is no, it’s out of here. (We are not moving.)
Share your tips for keeping your kid’s rooms neat and/or how you transitioned your big kids from their little kid room.
Spend some extra time with your family this week, Resa