Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Sensitive Viewers May Want to Cover Their Eyes

I have for you today the "before" pictures of Will's room. They may not be appropriate for everyone. Viewer discretion is advised.

This view (above) is the corner of Will's room known as the "Abandon All Hope Ye Who Enter Here" corridor. Please begin shrieking now. (Also: note the closet doors. They are supposed to be white, but we ran out of steam when painting Will's room two years ago. My solution? I think we should take off the doors and forget about painting. Will never closes the doors, anyway, so why bother with them?)

This is Will's bed. Note the various bits and pieces of his wardrobe scattered across it. Mostly these are items I've picked out for him for school the next day that he's rejected in favor of his lacrosse shorts and one of his endless University of North Carolina tee shirts. Also note Will's wall decor. I rue the day we bought him a subscription to Sports Illustrated for Kids. Two minutes after it hits the mailbox, Will has cut out his favorite pictures and pasted them to the wall.

He also, by the way, has glued Lego to the wall. I have to say, it actually looks really cool.

Will's desk. Will's archeological dig of a desk. The fun part is when you get down to the layer of half-eaten candy stuck to the table top. I love that part.

So this weekend, we--meaning I--made big changes. I don't have pictures yet, because there's still a little bit of cleaning to do. But in the meantime, I thought I'd offer a tutorial for how one goes about preparing a room such as this for rearranging.

The first thing you do is go back to bed, pull the blankets over your head, and weep for the life you might be living in Paris as a wine-swilling, clove cigarette-smoking bohemian poet, had you played your cards right.

Next, you drag yourself into your child's room, pick up the clothes on the floor, clean and dirty, and throw them all into the hamper. Then you refold all the unworn school clothes and put them back into their drawer, where they will sit unmolested for the rest of the school year. Next you make the bed and you pile on top of it all the shoe boxes and binders filled with baseball cards. That clears a lot of floor space.

Then you get out the broom and start sweeping.

Yep, that's the only way to clean Will's room. You sweep all the Lego and art supplies and wiffle balls and superbouncy rubber balls and marbles and party favors into two or three piles. Then you pour yourself a good, stiff drink (or at least seriously wish you were the sort of person who could drink a good, stiff drink without falling asleep within ten minutes of imbibing) and start picking stuff out of the piles. You make new piles, one for crayons and markers and pencils, one for Lego, one for random baseball cards, and one for little plastic things you don't know what to do with, and a pile for trash.

This process takes approximately two to three years.

Then you put the art supplies in the art supply bucket, the Lego in the Lego bucket, and seriously consider burning the baseball cards before putting them in a designated shoebox. Finally, you spend five minutes rationalizing about how much you do for the environment by recycling and hanging the laundry on the line before throwing all those little plastic things into the trash.

And then you go back to bed and weep a little more.

I'll post the pictures of the makeover in the next day or so. I need to get back in there and do the last little bits. But I have to say, it's really fabulous, and Will loves his table and his new arrangement. He's hanging out in it all the time, like it's his apartment. Really, if we'd just put a mini-fridge, a computer and a TV up there, he wouldn't need us at all.

And that's why we don't.


Sandy H said...

LOL, although with a wry tone. My daughter's bedroom is, believe it or not, worse. And she's 17. I feel for whatever college roommate she has next year.

In our old house, I did take down the closet doors and we put up shower curtains on tension bars instead. (I found cute shower curtains really cheaply, which is why I used those instead of regular curtains.) They didn't quite reach the floor, but they were a lot better than the doors--which were those sliding kind that cover half the closet at a time. I hated those doors. Really had fun ripping them off their tracks and hauling them down to the side of the road for the garbage pick-up!

wayside wanderer said...

I thought you were exaggerating for the sake of humor but your pictures prove me wrong! :D

Can't wait to see what you have done.

Gumbo Lily said...

I think what you've done here, Frances, is to give us all comfort, that we are not alone, and hope that we might see a better future room for our kids.

I was just thinking about that IKEA table and wondered how the reconstruction of the room was going.

I look forward to seeing the happy results.


Amanda said...

We go through this with my 8-yr old's room. The clothes, the piles, the picking through...it's so good to see someone with the courage to post this experience, with pictures no less! The pokemon cards, the McDonald's toys, marbles, rubber bands.........I hope your new arrangement lasts a LONG TIME!

magsmcc said...

I have to stop reading your blog- last week I took the 1930s Wife test and failed. FAILED. And tonight I got down to the bit about two to three years and split my sides! This blog could seriously endanger your health, mental and otherwise...

Danielle said...

I laughed, rent my hair, and ground my teeth for you and the piles. We have similar methods. Your reveal of the mysterious and off-limits upstairs means you can come up anytime and have a look at mine. I guarantee you will feel superior since you are almost on the other side whilst I am in the midst of an uprising.

Over the years, I have learned that bedrooms like Will's and my other 3 is what heaven looks like for visual people who aren't interested in aesthetics or expending any effort to put something away. A kind way is to say visual people need to be comforted by the sight of their STUFF. I call it being a lazy slob. But any other way, don't you get it Mom, and I can't see anything. And if I can't see it... It's Dead To Me. Of course, everything is in layers and can't be found, but that somehow is a "system" know as The Piles.

I can't wait to see what it looks like after you have finished. I will look at the photos for motivation.

Pom Pom said...

I'd like you to do a little interview with Will so he could tell us the stories behind the "arrangements" because well, I'm curious.

Susan said...

I'm sending you a "Mission Accomplished" banner. (It was last seen on an aircraft carrier somewhere in the Persian Gulf. There was a smirking Texan mumbling something about "strategery" under it.)

the crew said...

OH! I cannot WAIT for the 'after' shots! Sweet, beautiful organization. I have goosebumps just thinking of it.

Tracy said...

I can't wait to see the 'after' shots. I might find some inspiration, because Mr Busy's room is on my to-do list for these school holidays. I searched back to find the post I did about his room ~ about two years ago. Not much has changed.


Show Will. It'll make him feel better to know he does not have dibs on the only mother who insists on a clean room about once or twice a year! And introduce him to his Mess-Twin.

GretchenJoanna said...

I could not laugh over this post, funny as it was, because, with the way you so aptly evoked the parent's feelings, I nearly cried remembering what it was like trying to clean some of my children's bedrooms that were way, way worse at times, five and ten and twenty years ago. Once, when my own daughter was about 17, I wanted so badly to take every last bit of the mess and put it in the middle of the street. If it hadn't required so much work, I'd have done it.
Bravo, Frances, Bravo! You are a good mom.

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