Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Room To Grow

When we moved to our wonderful house two years ago, we gained some space in terms of more rooms, but actually downsized quite a bit on the size of bedrooms and closet space. I spent the first year doing my best to make space, getting rid of so much, and trying, trying, trying to get the right fit in those rooms. The hardest room was Joe-Henry's. He'd gone from a gigantic bedroom with TWO closets and a large open floor plan, to a sweet little room, with a sweet little closet, and some extra little nooks and crannies. Notice the copious use of the word "little" in that last sentence.

Last year when he was gone, I painted his room. It was the first room that I'd painted here - the interior was all one creamy color, and I loved it, but I wanted to make his room a bit more personal. So I went with yellow, his favorite color. But even though we had added some fun updates through the year (his battery operated light up solar system and moon, glow in the dark stars, etc.), the room didn't work. And it had gotten really bad lately, with stuff dumped on the floor and no path to the closet. But what motivated me to rearrange it was this: I want him to clean his room. I want it to be EASY for him to clean his room. I want him to not be scared to try to find something in his room. Because all his toys were in his closet, there were so many that he didn't play with. And because we hadn't gone through those toys in over a year, there were lots that were broken, or that he just didn't have any interest in any more. And you never noticed the cool little touches that were made in there last year. I love these planes made out of soda cans that Grandma got him. But you were always so busy trying not to break your ankle navigating the mess that you never even saw them.

So the last two days have been spent in full on cleaning and decorating mode. Yesterday, I felt so overwhelmed, at one point I realized that I had been standing in the center of the room not moving for probably five minutes. There was CRAP everywhere. So I pulled out some big trash bags and went to work.

Then I moved his bed to another wall, got rid of his dresser all together,

and moved his clothes into baskets on the shelves in there.

pulled all his toys out of the closet, and into the room where he can get at them (and put them away easily).

Now I feel like it's workable. Also, with the dresser gone, there's actually room to PLAY! He can access everything, AND put everything away easily. Did I already mention that part? About him putting his toys away easily? Just in case I didn't - I tackled this project to help him be more independent and self-reliant and put his stuff away when he's done. Not that he will, but at least I know it's humanly possible.


Amber said...

His room looks sooo organized!!Can you come over and do our house next?

English Garden said...

Ooohhh! lovely, just lovely, 'a change is as good as a rest', love that saying and completly believe it.

Franklin5 said...

Annie. Oh, Annie.

If you could somehow be convinced to come here and wave your magic wand over the PILES OF CRAP that balance precariously on every level surface the eye can see in this house, I would gleefully supply you with more two-bite brownies than any girl could ever possibly want.

Failing that: tremendously awesome job on J-H's room. Can't wait to hear his enthusiastic review...

Anonymous said...

Oh, that room is just adorable. I love it. I have the organizational skills, but none of your style.

Kari said...

So he comes home to find a brand new room for himself? I love that. What a gift!

Lisa L said...

Its gorgeous! He'll love it. I love the baskets you have in the closet. Great idea!

Keetha said...

Looks great! I love that painting in the first photo - how cool!

Mrs. G. said...

I love this bright and sweet room. Though I was a bit distracted by the purple penis flower below.

anniemcq said...

you are all so kind and lovely. Joe-Henry loves the new room, and he CAN find his stuff and put it away himself. WOOT!

Kimberly said...

What a great room! How could any little boy not be thrilled with it?

Lady Di said...

I'm envious of you being able to push yourself into doing this! - and of the lovely results!

We got a grown up bed for the Juj in April, so we stashed the king size bed that was in the guest room against the wall in J's original room with his convertible crib/youth bed, and put the new bed in the old guest room. Now he has TWO rooms you can't do anything in (except sleep in one and pull clothes out of the dresser in the other), so is it any wonder there are toys all over the living room, and his clothes go in a circle from the dirty hamper to the clean laundry basket and never in the drawer?

I don't even have Amy's excuse of more than one child, but maybe you can start a support group to counsel us?

anniemcq said...

I had to laugh at Lady Di's comment. I am the LAST person you want to get you organized. But if I were to give any "advice" it would be this:

1. Send your kid(s) away for a week. You'll actually get to finish not just your project but your coffee, your shower and your thoughts.
2. Take lots of B vitamins to stimulate your brain
3. Break for chocolate and coffee frequently.
3a. Listen to old Neil Diamond songs on repeat.
4. Don't treat everything as precious. Throw away or recycle more than you save.
5. Make "organizing" easy and logical. If it's hard to put something away, you won't do it.
6. Drink two beers when you're finished.