My kids' bedroom is approximately the size of a prison cell. Hell, our entire house is roughly the size of two prison cells, hence my constant battle with--and whining about--clutter. It's not that I can't keep it clean, I mean, it's no secret that I pretty much scrub it to the bone everyday. But the clutter, sigh... Quinn and Reilly share a cell, er, room, which is dominated by bunk beds, two full sized dressers, a 7-ft. bookshelf, various Rubbermaid stackable drawers, and scads of other so-called space-saving units stuffed to the brim with every knick-knack-paddy whack one could ever conceive of, and more. Reilly has what seems to be an incurable case of shop-a-holicism (don't know where she gets that, shhh), and is quite adept at stuffing it all away in crevices, drawers, underneath things, and among the menagerie that resides on her bed. Quinn is far less driven by the need to save every toothpick. (Which Rei would name "toothpicky" in an effort to humanize it and therefore be allowed to save it.) But he does have expensive Lego sets and Halo action figures that require safe, high-up living quarters, of which there were none. Until yesterday.
With christmas fast-approaching, I couldn't live another day with their room packed to the gills, so when the kids woke up, I announced that instead of daily chores, we were going to CLEAN OUR ROOM! Needless to say, they were popping champagne and turning cartwheels. Now, I was too ashamed to take a "before" picture, which I know cheapens the "after" picture, but I couldn't bear for Gail to see how bad it had gotten. My main priority was to throw away as much as I could, which meant that I held a trash bag close to me and tossed everything I could without them (Reilly) seeing. Bye bye toothpicky, rubberbandy, empty Ziploc baggy, you get it. I discovered that my girl saves every shopping bag, tag, errant v-shaped (ruined) bobby pin, and all their useless cousin trash. They've saved every birthday card they've ever gotten, so I picked out the few precious ones and slipped the rest into my burgeoning bag. Meanwhile, I set Reilly to culling through her stuffties and getting rid of some (by some I mean five--tiny ones). Quinn dutifully put away his laundry, rounded up wayward Legos and put them in the aforementioned leaning tower of stackable drawers, and was generally quite amenable to throwing things away. But my darling daughter fought hard to save every centimeter-sized piece of paper money she made ten years ago so her stuffties could have their own currency. Christ, I thought she was going to hire a lawyer. But Mama's sneaky, and won the battle. My goal was organize all their books so the two remaining shelves up top could showcase Quinn's precious figures. Mission accomplished, though naturally Mom set them up all wrong. Throughout gutting this catastrophe, I was wiping down every surface with Clorox wipes, and felt so good when the joint began to sparkle. Despite the fact that the kids have been over Dr. Seuss for like five years, I don't have the heart to get rid of all his books, so I crammed those in to their own special space.
The hardest part was when Reilly pulled 7,005 stuffties from underneath her bunk and spent two hours "sorting" them, by which I mean getting rid of none, but repacking them into assorted vehicles and weird things, just so, and mashing them back under the bed. Oh well. We ditched several large useless baskets and one giant mesh cylindrical nightmare receptical which housed a fleet of unused stuffties. Yea! I wasn't able to wrestle away the life-sized horse with duct tape on its legs, but you know, I was secure in my over all feat.
Finally, my moment came, and I charged in with the vacuum cleaner and squealed in delight every time an enemy particle was sucked away forever. Alas, the room is clean, and I no longer have worms of worry and dread crawling through my head about it. I'm really proud of my kids. So proud that I decided to assign chores after all, since we were on a roll. I'm so relishing the clean, shiny surfaces, and will enjoy them for 13 days until evil christmas invades and laughs in my face as the kids haul in all the things I'm so excitedly buying now, lol. But at least there are vacancies underneath the beds and dressers, so I can turn a blind eye for six more months until I can no longer longer tolerate the din of the paperclippy family, nestled somewhere in the bed rail.