One of my goals in being a more frugal person is to cut down the stuff in my house to only the things we use and love. I started with the master bedroom, and managed to clear out a lot of space. Since it’s spring break, I decided to tackle Liz’s room Monday.

I grabbed my trusty copy of It’s All Too Much! (which I highly recommend if you struggle with clutter), and headed into Liz’s room. For those of you who are newer to my blog, Liz is my 10 year old daughter. She’s a great girl, but organization is no one of her strengths. She must take after her mother. :)

I was skeptical as to whether the It’s All Too Much strategy would work with Liz. She’s very sentimental and tends to hang on to stuff. We’ve been through the deep de-clutter of her room several times, and it never seems to last, but I was willing to listen to Peter Walsh. These are the steps we went through.

Write Down the Purposes of the Room

I sat down with Liz on the bed, and together we made a list of everything she does in her room This is what we came up with:

  • Play with toys
  • Use the computer (only with the door open)
  • Read
  • Sleep
  • Get Dressed
  • Listen to Music
  • Do crafts
  • Do homework

Create Zones for Each Purpose

Part of our problem before was that we didn’t have any specific zones laid out for each of the activities Liz did in her room. Craft supplies were kept in the living room, so she’d march back and forth between the rooms. By the time she was done, I was missing the tape from my desk, and there were scraps of paper all over her floor.

So we moved the bookshelf between the desk and the bed, since that’s where she reads. We took an extra plastic cart and set it up next to her desk to hold craft supplies. We put her toy shelf next to the biggest open space in her room for playing. And we moved everything that wasn’t clothing or shoes out of the closet.

Limit the Amount of Stuff to the Space You Have

This was also a huge problem for Liz. She just had too much stuff. My children are the only grandchildren on both sides of the family, so they get a little spoiled on holidays and their birthdays. Liz had too many toys for the space she had.

I set up her shelves and told her the only toys she could keep were the toys that fit on the shelf. And I held my breath. I put a huge box in the hall, and she started throwing her toys into the give-away box. It was truly amazing. My daughter, who hates to get rid of anything, was suddenly motivated to rid her room of stuff when I gave her a limit as to how much she could own!

I think I had a bigger problem with the stuff she was giving away than she had. I was the one who had special memories of the toys, and I hated to see them go. But I bit my tongue and let her make the decisions. And in the end, her toys fit on the shelf with room to spare. And she knows that when she gets new toys, if they don’t fit on the shelf, she needs to get rid of something.

I have to say I’m very proud of my daughter. She was a trooper and didn’t complain much at all. I think she liked making the decisions about her room, and she learned an important lesson about living within your means…whether within your means refers to within your budget or within your space.

How do you keep your children’s rooms clean?  Or are you more of a shut the door and pretend the mess isn’t there type of person?  (I’ve been there too!)