How do you clean the room of an artist and a preteen? One pile at a time!
Step 1: The Demise of the Dollhouse - For my 16th birthday my grandparents gave me one of those beautiful handmade dollhouses you see on the top shelf at Hobby Lobby. They had actually made one for me when I was like 2 or 3, but that was the very first one they made, spent so many hours on it, my grandma just couldn't give it up (this is the grandma I inherited my packrat skills from). Anyway, my beautiful purple dollhouse has survived cousins, nieces, daughters and 7 moves - my daughters loved it to pieces, literally. The poor thing looked like an old abandoned mansion you hear ghost stories about. So one afternoon, I took a deep breath of bravery and went into the girls room with a trash bag and we tore apart the dollhouse and threw it away. I hated it and cried, but it needed to be done. Now we have a large space to add a bookshelf with containers filled with Legos, Barbies and Polly Pockets so that my 7 yr. old has her own space in the room to play with her things instead of shoving them under the bed.
Step 2: The Preteen Desk - my almost 12 yr. old has a desk with stuff piled high on top. Why? Because the drawers are filled with more stuff. (She's kind of a packrat like me.) So I used the 3 box rule and dumped everything out of the desk and we sorted together - keep, donate/sell, trash. I did it with her to help her make wise choices ("Do you really need that?") and to stay on task ("We are going to finish this pile before you paint your nails with that favorite polish you thought you lost!") Ahhh, much better - now she can sit in the chair at the desk and paint her nails on a clear space!
There's alot more to tackle here (like the closet, yikes!) but those 2 steps were huge in creating a clean, peaceful space for my girls to enjoy their room!