Monday, March 1, 2010

A Wonderful Reminder of the Lessons Kids Learn in Cleaning Thier Rooms

About a week ago, I was having my children pick up each of their bedrooms- a pretty normal task at our house at the end of the day. However, this time was different... insightful really. However, before I can tell you why this particular clean up day was so insightful for me both as a mom and a professional organizer I need to give you a little background on my family.

I know that I have shared with readers in the past that I have three wonderful kids and a great (unorganized) husband... (If you have not heard the story of my husband and me, you can catch up by reading this old post). What I have not told you are some of the details of my family.

My oldest son is incredibly bright and his viewpoint on the world is very different from most. He looks not only through the eyes of a seven year old- his view is tinted through the lenses of being; gifted, ADD, Dyslexic, and Autistic. Andrew is one of my heroes in this world because of the courage it takes him to rise above the numerous challenges that have been thrown his way.

My middle son is a character. Bryson is very intelligent--almost too much for his own good. When speaking to him about his day, the world, or really any topic, I often forget he is a Kindergartener and not a twenty five year old philosophy student... some of the things that he sees and shares just amaze me.

My youngest daughter... is for lack of a better word -my diva. She is ALL girl and makes sure that everyone knows it. Her personality and zest for life remind me of her favorite book character Fancy Nancy. There is nothing that my daughter does that is not fancy and girly. She is also my biggest cuddlebug and I enjoy these days where she never passes up a moment to share a hug or a kiss.

This is my crew... and now that you know a little more about each of them- it is my hope that you will understand and appreciate the great insight that I experienced during our typical clean up time the other day:

As my children were cleaning up their rooms, I was busy cleaning the kitchen and putting away the laundry while my husband was in the garage organizing his screws and nails (gasp!).

As I walked into my middle son's room to put laundry away he looked at me and in typical budding philosopher fashion said, "I am trying out a new organizing style today mom. I think it fits me better than the one I tried last week." I just looked at his sweet little face and asked him to show me his new system. He gave me the guided tour of his newly reorganized bedroom that mostly consisted of draping things over chair backs, bedposts, hooks and hangers. I had to try not to laugh when I noticed he had also hung up his favorite teddy bear by its St. Louis Cardinal Jersey.

While it may not have fit my professional description of organized... it worked for him. He knew where everything was and it more than met my rule of having the floor and desktops clean. He also reminded me of a very valuable lesson in his simple act of "reorganization."

I decided a long time ago when the kids were small to divide the house up into zones. I was responsible for keeping the kitchen, office, living room, bathrooms, my closet, and laundry areas organized and presentable. My kid's were responsible for their own rooms, and my husband's "job" is the garage and his closet... by doing this I not only have released myself from the need to clean up after EVERYONE in my house... but I have given them each the freedom to develop his or her own style of cleaning up and organizing.

My oldest son is very meticulous and everything has a container and a location, a true perfectionist. My middle son is a big fan of hooks and clear plastic drawers and bins to organize and display each of his things and is more carefree in his approach to his space than his brother. While I am sure it is no surprise that my daughter is all about baskets, bags, purses, and pretty containers. My husband... well... we are still working on him.

While I have helped each of the kids (and my husband) establish various systems that I think will help fit their personalities, style, and tendencies... I have also given them a great deal of say and input as well. I was reminded last week that the lessons they are learning now about keeping that one small room clean on the floors and countertops will be a springboard that they will take into a college dorm room, an office, or classroom, and wherever the go in life. By not dictating to them exactly where things go and how to do it... I am giving them "try out" different styles and find the one that fits them best.

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