Every year, my husband goes off to college for a Summer Masters program. He leaves on Monday and returns Thursday night. While he is away, the kids stay with Grandma and come home every Thursday to stay with us through the weekend. The arrangement has worked out well. Grandma loves to see the kids, I don’t have to worry about babysitters and the kids get spoiled rotten.
The best part about this situation is the free time I have with no children tearing apart the house! I spend the entire 6 weeks cleaning, decluttering and organizing. That may not sound like much fun to you and believe me, sometimes I’d rather be laying around by the pool! But the sense of satisfaction I get when I look around at a clean, orderly house is so great that I spend my summer doing this every year.
Now, I may never be done with the decluttering, but I can certainly make a big dent in it. Since the kids are away, I take that opportunity to go through their rooms. I start with the closets and get rid of anything and everything that
- doesn’t fit
- is irrepairable
- has not been played with or has been outgrown in the last year
This includes clothes, toys, stuffed animals, games and books. I am ruthless! It’s only a question of whether or not I want to keep a toy and hope the missing piece eventually turns up or just throw it away and save myself the trouble of dealing with it over and over again for the next year. And when I ask myself that, it’s easy! I helps to have the kids away, too so I don’t have to argue with them about every little toy.
When the kids come home and their rooms are decluttered and clean, I can show them where everything belongs so they can help keep it clean. We use a lot of baskets and bins. Both of my younger children have a hanging chain for their stuffed animals and an over the door pocket organizer for Barbie dolls, Beanie Babies, small toys, etc. The ones with the clear pockets help them see where things are and where things go.
As for my teenagers room, I announce a date months in advance. He has until then to clean his room. Of course, he usually waits until the last minute. On that day, I go in with a hamper, trash bags and cardboard boxes. The rule is, “Anything that is left on the floor is trash” with the exception of laundry. Basically, it means anything and everything he has on his floor gets tossed. Toys, cards, and gadgets go to Goodwill. Laundry gets washed (he has to fold and put away), but everything else goes. That’s about all I can handle of his room. I never step foot in there otherwise.