February 23, 2012

The Mechanics of a Kid's Bedroom

So I have two children. A girl who is 11 1/2 and a boy who is 6. I love Camryn and AJ very much.

But they are kids and they suck at keeping their rooms clean.

This is no big shock. Only exceptional children like I was are capable of, or give a damn about, having a clean bedroom.

But I am inherently a hopeful person. Especially as my kids get older, I have the hope that this indifference to cleanliness will magically morph into, at the very least, a healthy respect for their own things and their own space.

And of course I MAKE them clean their rooms when I can't stand it anymore. In fact, that's part of what has led to this post.

Cami decided she wanted to rearrange her room. She no longer wanted her bed all the way up against a wall. a sure sign of some maturity, I thought. AJ had actually said something about wanting his bed elsewhere at some point before, but I dismissed him, saying the space his bed was in was exactly where it was supposed to be and it wouldn't fit right anywhere else.

I take my kids seriously only when they won't let go of an idea. If they keep asking, keep talking about it, then I know I should pay attention.

When we moved into our house, we painted two walls in each of their rooms and got them all set up, like so:
AJ's room

Camryn's room - we did get her some curtains too

Both beds are up against walls. Most kids like this arrangement because the wall offers a sense of security. At least they won't fall out that side! Also, it maximizes floor space for playing.

But for Cami, under and behind her bed have always been great places to hide crap, to shove things when we ask her to clean her room. It's so aggravating! For AJ, who loves to toss things around, many things have fallen down the side of his bed.

Back to the rearrangement. We had the kids clean their rooms and made an agreement that if they kept them clean all week, we'd rearrange on Sunday, when Mark had the day off. Much to our surprise, they held up their end of the bargain. When my dad called and offered to take them to see a movie, Mark and I decided to surprise them and move their furniture while they were gone.

I don't know why I was so shocked by what we discovered when we moved their beds, but I was. SO MUCH SHIT!

Not literally feces. My kids aren't that gross. But a massive amount of odd little things. Some not so little, actually. Like under Camryn's bed, she had pajamas and towels shoved under there.

I was remiss in not stopping to take pictures of all the crap, but I just wanted it GONE.

Legos, pens, pencils, coins, hair things, pajamas, stuffed animals, pillows, blankets, little army men and TRASH. Why oh WHY can't my children put trash in the can??

Ignorance is bliss, I tell you!

So this is what their rooms look like now:

AJ's - not right up against the wall because of the heater vent under the window
(sorry about the lack of picture quality)
Bed no longer in the corner


Nice big gap between bed and wall
I took more pictures of Cami's room and wanted to specifically point out the gap between the bed and wall because now she cannot shove shit and hide it. I am now completely convinced that parents should NOT put beds in corners up against walls. It's like inviting the child to hide stuff in order to create the illusion of a clean bedroom.

AJ knew he had dropped his Nintendo DS stylus down beside Cami's bed, but he didn't want to go searching for it because it was too scary down there!

Man, I wish I had gotten a picture of the heap of crap she had shoved there! Have I talked about it enough to make an appropriately disturbing image in your head?

Please, I implore you, learn from my mistakes:
  • DON'T arrange beds up against walls.
  • DO clean under and around beds more often.
  • DON'T take a child's word that they didn't shove crap somewhere.
  • DO accept that they do not care and probably never will, but it's your job to MAKE THEM!
Now, if I could only get them to hang up their wet towels without me screaming at them about it...



40 comments:

  1. I think this is hilarious. I can't say that my kids do this, but I have never been so thankful for it before! I did find a bowl of water uner Raven's bed one time. Apparently it was there for the cat. LOL.

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  2. One other possibility for the future: a pedestal bed. Like ours. Solid wood foundation, with drawers, but no possibility of shoving anything under it! I really like Cami's room... but you didn't mention how the kids liked their rooms.

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    1. Well that's what AJ has, so yeah, he didn't have such a huge mess. They really like their rooms. But that doesn't seem to mean they like keeping them clean!

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  3. Renee Hibbert GreenleafFebruary 23, 2012 at 10:03 AM

    You remember Sara and Jason's rooms, and how 'uber successful' I was getting them to clean up? Yeah, so I'm no expert, but I have given this a lot of thought over time. Give each kid a basket and say, "If you don't have time to put something away, put it in the basket." Pick out the wet towels & clothes on wash day, and pick a time for the kids to put the toys in their place. One hamper for everything, right in their room...maybe I'm nuts, but I think it saves MOM & DAD a little sanity. And keeps things from under the bed.

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    1. That's not a bad idea. They do each have a hamper in their rooms. Well, Cami doesn't anymore, but she has the bottom of her closet for dirty clothes. The only thing is, I think a basket would be in the way. But I for sure keep the idea in mind!

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  4. Ha! Clever kids. You know Donut's only 1 but I'm already finding stuff under the sofa and chairs.

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  5. Also, not having the bed up against the wall makes it way easier for the kid to make his own darned bed! It's hard to make a bed nicely when you can't get around to one side of it. Darling rooms and great post!

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  6. I always had my bed against the wall but I never stored anything there. I threw everything in my closet. When I was little my mom would give me my Flintstone vitamins and I would promptly throw them in my closet. I was in a bit of trouble the day my mom cleaned out my closet.

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    1. Camryn has done that too! Only it was gummy vitamins that she hates. We discovered her stash when we moved.

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  7. Oh, and I meant to say this post made me LOL. Especially when you said not literally feces.

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  8. Ohhh the beds against the wall mistake. Learned that lesson long ago. The time when we couldn't find our middle child and she was shoved under her sisters bed with about years worth of candy wrappers, 12, 687 mis matched socks and homework assignments that weren't given 100% when completed.

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    1. I'm happy to know my daughter isn't the only one!

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  9. So-ho-ho glad to hear it was "not literally" feces! (-:

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    1. I thought it important to point that out.

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  10. Thanks for the warning. G'ma recently came over and overhauled (organized) Miss M's room. It is so nice to have a place to PUT the crap! We are working on getting her to put stuff away after she uses it. Not having a ton of success so far, but it's a marathon, not a sprint I guess. Anyway, this post was an excellent heads up of what I am sure is to come! Thanks!

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  11. Their rooms look great! I'll share something that will hopefully give you hope: I was an uber clean well organized kid and I am now a slob as an adult. I burned out too young ;-) So they'll probably turn out to be perfectly acceptable grown-ups :)

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  12. I make my kids clean up their rooms at least once a week. I'm pretty sure we live in the dustiest town on this planet, it just gets gross.
    It's amazing how much crap accumulates in a week! Even more amazing how they keep everything they drag home from outside, especially when it's NOT a toy...
    I may have infected them with my anal cleanliness... last week they cleaned voluntarily...

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    1. Yeah, my son has rocks in his room. Claims he's collecting them.

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  13. Good advice, I gotta remember this! Right now, Monkey's bed is against the wall, but only because he's 2.

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    1. Totally makes sense when they're little like that. But when they get bigger...

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  14. We hear you on the towels and the shoving crap everywhere. Kids are gross. we find the best motto is "Turst, but verify." Applies to everything, especially cleaning. Ellen wrote a similar post about her daughter's room and had the word Apocolypse in the title. We feel you on the mess. Erin

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  15. Haha! Can't wait to hear if this new arrangement works. My kids beds are against the walls too, but the girls share and the boys share rooms, so we don't have much choice.
    The rooms look great, by the way...so were they surprised when they got home?

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    1. Totally understand doing it out of necessity. That's why I say at the end, to just think about cleaning under those beds from time to time.

      Yes, they were surprised. And surprisingly willing to help clean up the mess!

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  16. The optomitrist told my 13 yr old son this story at his last visit: She said she let her kids room "go" until she couldn't anymore bowls or cups or spoons (Yuck right?!?) At that point she would tell her kids to clean up the room and give them a deadline to get the job done. If/When the didn't comply she entered their room, put EVERYthing on the bedspread and hauled it ALL out to the front yard. In order to reclaim their possessions her kids must retrieve an item ONE by ONE. 1 sock. 1 jeans. 1 paper at a time. She said the neighbors loved it! They'd all sit out and watch!
    My son told me later: "Mom thank you for never being that mean!" ha! Little did he know a very small part of me entertained the idea!

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    1. Wow! That's not mean, that creative parenting, and I appreciate it!

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  17. We opted for beds with storage under them, so you can't shove stuff away under the bed.

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    1. That's a good option, BUT, crap can still fall beside them. That was the problem in AJ's room. He has a storage bed.

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  18. if you could bottle the magic formula to get kids to tidy up, you'd be a zillionaire ;-)

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  19. My girls share a room, so it's like doubly messy. And they hide all kinds of crap under their beds - and in their beds actually. It's gross. We'll go change the sheets and find all kinds of stuff hiding actually in their beds. Isn't that a little crazy?

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    1. What is wrong with our kids? Why do they want to live in filth?

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  20. I was a room cleaner as a child too. And now my 5 year old loves to organize with me... he tells me all the time how good we are at it! A trick my Mom told me was to make sure I didn't have covers or bedding that reached to the floor. Make sure the under the bed part was visible so that you could see what was there. It reminded me that wasn't as safe as say the closet when I was looking for a place to store my crap!

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    1. Hmm, does this mean I shouldn't put a dust ruffle on Cami's bed?

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