What a mess! The large wicker basket atop her bookcase was overflowing with papers, partially completed art projects, empty toilet paper rolls, and tiny trinkets. It’s the spot where she’s allowed to keep things that are “special” to her. Somehow, the number of special items is always larger than the space dedicated for saving them.
Calling my daughter into the room, I placed the basket on the floor and began our typical solution to the problem. “Choose ten things to go into the trash.” I told her I’d be back momentarily to help.
When I re-entered the room, I took a seat beside her on the floor. It had come to me that an explanation might be in order. You see, having her keep her basket tidy is more than just a chore that keeps the playroom looking neater. It’s training.
Someday I see her with a home of her own, a place to manage all by herself. Part of my job as her mother is to prepare her for that day, to teach her how to have things neat and orderly. Rather than allowing her counters to be stacked with junk mail or the drawers to overflow with unnecessary paraphernalia, she can possess the skills to organize and store the things that are needed and get rid of the rest. Understanding how to maintain a neat and orderly environment can be a blessing in her future.
I discussed this with my daughter as we sorted through her things and created a nice pile to discard. Does this make a lot of sense to her at seven? Maybe not. I know that while it’s in my nature to be orderly, it’s not in hers and this will be a process, not a onetime correction. Yet in the meantime, we can continue this oft-repeated process with our long term goal in mind – and a big hug by the trashcan for good measure.
A great post and this is something we need to do in the girls bedroom soon. I have three collectors who hold on to all manner of random strings, paper scraps and "stuff".
Awesome post! Thanks for sharing!
I love how you take so many situations and make them teachable moments!! I would say you have a gift for that! I admit that I may have just overlooked this teachable moment and either took care of the box of stuff myself or just asked my child to do it. I love how you took this opportunity to train her looking into the benefits of not only the present but her future. Such wisdom!! Thanks for sharing!
Raise Them Up says
Can you come help me sort out my own baskets?? Lol! I have such a hard time with this same thing. Thinning out the clutter is an ever present item on my to do list.
Thank you for your kind words! I'm thankful for the teachable moments I do catch, but am afraid I still let many slip by. I'm thankful for those times the Lord catches my attention and causes me to slow down and take the time to communicate with my girls.
Jen @ Happy LIttle Homemaker says
Catching up on comments from UBP; thanks for stopping by! I'm trying to be more mindful of sharing WHY I teach what I do, though with a 2 year old it can be tough :). Bless you!
ha! had to laugh! my 7 yr old son has a box he is allowed to keep his 'special things ' in. i am always amazed at what he considers 'special' 🙂 i like the idea of getting rid of 10 things, and having him choose them, instead of me going through it and him getting worked up over what i choose! i appreciate your sharing this. thanks!
The Queen Mommy says
You are SO RIGHT about this! OUr girls have shared a room for the past year – and while one is more fastidious about appearance, the other isn't. Their room has been a mixture of beautifully made beds and piles of clothes on the floor. They'll be separating to their own bedrooms soon, and I will be able to work on this training with each of them in a better way. Thanks for the great tips & encouragement!
My 7yo daughter also has a place to keep her special things, and hers also gets out of control quite often. Having a discussion about WHY it's important for her to learn the habit of orderliness is a wonderful idea! Thank you for sharing how you did this with your daughter.