Last weeks weekly project was organizing the kids' rooms. Not a really tough project for Little Reader and Little Man. First of all I don't let the kids keep toys in their rooms. Toys belong in the playroom and for the most part they do stay there. They really just have books, clothes and snuggle buddies and a few other special things in their rooms. Little Man was the easiest. In about 5 minutes I went through his room and got rid of some nursery items he no longer needs, and he let me throw out a couple of old or broken crafts.
Little Reader is extremely organized, she enjoys trips to the Container Store as much as I do. I told her early in the week that their rooms were the weekly project, she glanced around and decided that her nightstand (overflowing with books) and a small pile of books on her bookshelf were her problem areas. She easily tackled those on her own.
Little Hugger, however, is another story. She is my hoarder. As I've mentioned before she has numerous collections and saves anything sparkly that she finds. She loves drawing and creating things and keeps her creations for a long time. She also keeps half completed projects with the intention of finishing them someday (she's probably about 50/50 on whether she finishes them so it's not a complete waste. However when I told her that I needed her to go through her stuff too, her big brown eyes started to well up. I told her she didn't necessarily have to throw things out, just find appropriate places for them. The only thing I want on the floor is furniture, not piles of papers, collections, etc. Her dresser was covered with kid jewelry despite the fact that she has 3 jewelry boxes - yes she's my girlie girl. Since she has recently gotten some nicer necklaces I recommend that she weed out the old stuff and make room for the new. Often that doesn't end well as she'll find something that she forgot she had and fall in love with it all over again. She surprised me by getting rid of a fair amount of stuff and now everything fits in the boxes she has. While her room still borders on cluttered she did what I asked. Nothing but furniture on the floor. I gave her binders to save her favorite drawings that she still wants to keep, for the things that she didn't consider special enough to keep but still wanted to remember we took pictures of them and put them in a photo album, and I gave her an expandable file for some of those incomplete projects. At least now I can get around to clean while she's at school without having to worry about vacuuming up some treasure.
Now don't get me wrong, I am not a total minimalist I keep some of their things myself, and Little Hugger thought it was hysterical the other day when she found my bin of special kid items and saw that I had all their first pairs of sneakers in there. She asked why, and I said it was required of parents to keep their kids first real shoes. I also have favorite drawings that they made, locks of hair from the first haircut (and the certificates from the salon), letters to Santa, and a few other odds and ends that would probably only make sense to me. So I understand her sentimental side and don't want to squash it - I"m just trying to teach her the difference between saving something because it's useful or special and saving it just to save it.