Then, Ben and Genevieve and I sorted through the contents of the boxes, keeping the good stuff, throwing junk away, and sending other things to the thrift store. It was not fun. There were sharp words, tears, and worse (tantrums!).
It was not fun.
It required all my adult skill to focus on the end goal: a reasonably clean room that we were not embarrassed to have children or visiting aunties see, and a reasonably tidy room that allowed Genevieve and Ben to work on projects, find their supplies, see their books, and sleep happily.
I will say it again: it was not fun.
But now! Now it's a pleasure to walk into their room and it's not hard for me to say, hey, the clutter is building up, take a few minutes to put things back where they belong.
When my husband roared into that room in December, I protested feebly that I try to teach the kids how to clean instead of doing it for them; he retorted that you don't teach drowning kids how to swim, you save the kids and then later teach them how to swim. Yes. So wise! So he saved them, and now we're working again on teaching them how to clean.
One of the little problems I solved was a place for the in-bed reading books. Usually, we cuddle on the living room sofas to read a book aloud at bedtime (currently, The King of the Wind by Marguerite Henry, one of my childhood favorites).
But then Genevieve and Ben like to read in a bed a little, too. They had nowhere to put their books or their book lights. I whipped up two little pouches. Ben's is made from an old sturdy workshirt of my husband's; it tucks under his mattress. Genevieve's is made from some fabric left from her baby nursery curtains, a Waverly print whose colors I adore. I added ribbon ties to the back so it could be tied on the top rail of her bunk; I sewed some extra lines along the top to lend it sturdiness.
Any comments or wisdom on children and messy bedrooms? I'm always eager to hear how other people manage this.