Saturday, January 21, 2012

Mission Accomplished -- Mostly, Anyway

Lars's bedroom after 4+ hours of blood, sweat and tears
This transformation took me and Bernie over four miserable hours yesterday, working together while Lars freaked out alongside us.  My Lars is a little pack rat who wants to save absolutely everything, and he's very emotionally attached to all of his stuff so that it feels like he's personally under assault when we go in there and start going through everything.  However, it had gotten so bad that it was overwhelming to him and bringing order out of that chaos was way beyond his abilities, so it was time for some tough love.  I confiscated and disposed of a hoarde of hundreds of candy wrappers, amazed and grateful that they had not yet brought an infestation of pests to my home, while Lars wailed that they were a "valuable collection worth a lot of money."  We filled trash can after trash can with things like junk mail, empty boxes and toy packaging, scratch paper from last year's homework assignments, business card "souvenirs" from doctor's offices and dry cleaners, and even sticks (but it's a special stick!), and Lars desperately tried to pull things out of the trash cans as fast as we could put them in.  He screamed for us to get out of his room, stop touching his things, that we were ruining everything, we're idiots, he hates us, etc.  I knew I was in for this when we started, which is why I let his bedroom get so bad in the first place. 

I just kept repeating that "the way it was" wasn't working, and we needed to change his room a little if he wanted to keep his toys in there.  We ended up moving his bed about 6" to the left, just enough so I could fit the dark brown shelving unit between the bed and the desk.  The shelving unit was a temporary fix introduced over the summer and had been shoved in a corner where it didn't fit well, and it was formerly piled with junk on every shelf.  The two fabric covered storage boxes on the bottom have padded seat lids and used to be in the toy room, but they fit perfectly on the bottom shelf and they are filled with Transformers.  This shelving unit is the first thing I see from the doorway to Lars's room, so I wanted it to be neat and orderly.  The dogs can also reach the bottom two shelves, so I didn't put anything there that they could get into.

The oversize books on the next shelf were formerly housed in a wall-mounted book rack with the covers facing out that didn't take up a lot of physical space in the room, but that created a lot of visual clutter.  We got that book rack from Pottery Barn Kids when Lars was in preschool and it was great for all of the picture books we were reading at that time, but it was time for that piece to come out of the room.  I finally convinced Lars to put his Hogwarts Castle Lego set on the next shelf up (instead of on his bathroom floor, where he preferred to keep it), which was a major victory.  Loose Lego bricks and K'Nex pieces were separated from other toys and mixed together in a 15-gallon red plastic storage bin with rope handles (Lars enjoys combining Legos with K'Nex when he builds his own structures), and that bin was placed inside Lars's closet, away from curious puppy rabbits.  All of his various trading cards were collected in one of the storage baskets in one of his bed cubbies, every surface was dusted and vacuumed, and the bookshelves were reorganized so that they contain books only and not books plus everything else. 

Jubilation!  Lars loves me again!
The craziest thing about all of this is that, when it was time for bed time stories last night, Lars told me, "It's like I have a whole new room!  It's so much bigger!  I LIKE my new room!!"  I'm not completely finished with Lars's room yet.  I didn't go through the storage cupboards on either side of his bed, and he still has a motley mixture of trash and treasures piled on shelves in his closet that need attention.  I have some additional oil paintings and framed artwork that I need to arrange on the wall above the furniture, and I need to come up with that Lego tarp ASAP so that all my hard work isn't destroyed the first time he sits down to play.  Then there's Anders' bedroom to contend with, which isn't nearly as bad as Lars's was (and won't be as draining emotionally to deal with, because Anders won't be screaming at me the whole time).  But we started with the hardest part first, so all the work that lies ahead will be a cake walk by comparison.

The Lego Store, Concord, NC
Lastly, lest you admire me too heartily, let me tell you where I'm taking my children this afternoon.  We're going to the Lego store at the Concord Mills Mall, so that Lars can spend the Lego gift certificate he got from my parents and they can both spend some allowance money.  They each also have several little gift-with-purchase boxes from my holiday shopping that they get to fill with loose Lego bricks of their choosing, free of charge.  I know; I must be stark, raving mad to bring MORE Legos into my home after what we went through yesterday -- but earning allowance money is only an incentive if they are allowed to spend it sometimes, and this once-a-month shopping excursion to spend allowance money has been on the calendar for weeks.  Someday soon they will be teenagers, and this Lego Era will just be a memory, like Thomas the Train, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and super hero dress-up costumes.  Legos are just thorns on the rose of childhood, and I wouldn't trade this time away for the world.


Janice the Manice said...

Ahh, and I like seeing all of his framed artwork on the walls. We need a post showing off those.

Ivory Spring said...

Love that room! And I love the quilt on his bed.

AMKS said...

I can so relate to your mission - and congratuations on a great looking room! We're constantly battling Legos...and I still have baby things stashed in my son's closet. You inspired me to get it organized!

Michelle Glauser said...

Holy bajoly, that is awesome! I would have loved to be there right beside you, since I am constantly trying to get rid of MORE stuff, no matter how sentimental. It's a coping mechanism, I think. Less stuff=less to worry about.

pve design said...

My twins are now in college and I miss those days of legos scattered hither. I have a metal dust pan and they used to tidy up with that.
Great job, I think you should submit it to a magazine.