No more chips on the floor

Navigating the jungle

I used to borrow my teenage son’s Wii for my workout each morning. My ten-minute warm up consisted of clearing an area of the floor big enough for the balance board to fit, and I was constantly doing push ups while staring at potato chip crumbs. Sound familiar?

Identify what starts the clutter and fix it

Teen room with gamesIn an article about clutter, I showed how I figured out that the cabinet in my son’s room was the culprit in spurring the clutter disaster in his room.

Since I solved this problem, his room has remained immaculate…almost to the point of obsession. It took a while for me to identify him as the same child who used to live in a room where you couldn’t see the floor.

His console games are in alphabetical order! I’m beaming with pride.

Once the initial clutter problem was under control, the room stayed clean. Everything has its place now, and he takes great pride in his new, organized room. It has lasted for over four months, so I believe this is permanent.

What is this pile?

The other week I was surprised to find a small pile of miscellaneous stuff sitting outside his door. I curiously asked, “Is this trash?” He replied that he was cleaning through his room again, and the pile was stuff he thought I might want.

I combed through the pile with interest. There were old baseball team pennants, notebooks, some pencils, and…what is this? A crumpled up school hall pass! I faked wild excitement at the fact that he saved the hall pass for me. “I’ve been searching all over the house for this important document! Thanks for keeping it for me!” After my jumping up and down and running around the hall waving the pass in the air in triumphant joy, he just looked at me with a cute grin and rolled his eyes. Sorry, you are stuck with me as your mom. 🙂

There is hope

If you have a child that is battling clutter, read my article on Clutter and the Avalanche Effect and take the time to find the the spot that starts the clutter in the room. You will be pleasantly surprised at the results.

It is such an advantage to help kids learn to be organized, at least to some point, while they are young. This skill will be an important asset as they become young adults, on their own for the first time, trying to balance studies, work, and fun.

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  1. I don’t have children to clean up after… but my poor partner got lumbered with a 25 year old child with me. I confess… I leave things lying around (although not food…. thankfully lol)!

    However… despite the fact I leave coats and clothes lying all over the place, I am unbelieveably weird about having a clean and clear work area, both at home and at my place of work. I hate things lying around on a desk….

    ….so I shove them in a drawer in a somewhat chaotic manner.

    I’m probably your worst nightmare lol!
    Stacey Cavanagh recently posted..Your Name is NOT ViagraMy Profile

    • LOL I’m sure the fact that you are hysterically funny makes up for it. Thanks for stopping by! By the way everyone check out Stacey’s blog because she is a riot! 🙂

  2. I like how you focused on the cabinet earlier. One of the things that really caused clutter in my house growing up is that I needed books but my parents wanted to spend nothing for bookshelves, even though it wouldn’t be much money long-term. So of course very nice, expensive books I was reading regularly had to go on the floor (in piles, of course): there was simply no other option.

    In other words: if you’re going to fight clutter, make the resources you need available. Living with less doesn’t solve any problems if “less” is inadequate.
    ashok recently posted..Emily Dickinson- “It is an honorable Thought” 946My Profile

    • Oh no. Yes books stacked all over the place can be a mess. My daughter had me remove her bookshelf so she could fit her drum set in her room (a whole other space nightmare), which left me packing up books (that eventually my 4 year old will read..many years from now) in boxes in a closet. You can never have too many bookshelves in a house of avid readers.

  3. I have teen twins so I can relate to your story. You are lucky your son lets you exercise with his Wii. Mine are very careful to make sure neither I nor their dad touch any of their gadgets. LOL! Glad to be connected with you!
    ElizOF recently posted..Macaron Parlour- Pâtisserie Par ExcellenceMy Profile

  4. Very nice article, thanks! I’ve subscribed to your RSS feed. Please keep up posting.

  5. That had to make you feel great, congrats to the both of you!

    Hmm, I’m going to have to check out that article. I recently helped my seven year old daughter clean her room, and in a few days it looked like a cyclone hit it, heh.
    Moondancer recently posted..Buddy makes a lifestyle change health and fitnessMy Profile

  6. Melinda, you crack me up. I love how your son kept the hall pass thinking you might want it (why, oh why?), but your reaction is classic. You can tell that you have a good sense of humor and I bet it rubs off on the rest of the family. 🙂
    Gilda recently posted..Living Entirely on CashMy Profile