This week I gave my sweet 5-year-old daughter a gift of love. I told her "You can watch a movie and I am going to clean your room for you."
Of course she was delighted. So I put Sarah down for her nap and Elizabeth and Silas on the couch with a movie.
Then I gutted her room.
I left her bed, dresser, and nightstand. I left the clothes and shoes that she absolutely has to have, four baby dolls, her nicest dress-up clothes, and half a dozen items in her toy box. I stashed her favorite things on the top shelf of her closet--her tea set, dollhouse furniture, and a few other things. I also discovered that I have a weakness for baby dolls; I couldn't bring myself to get rid of those! So they joined the other items on the top shelf. Then I hauled out a desk, a book case full of books (for relocation), and four big trash bags of toys, clothes, and trash, and a box of books.
She was so excited. And just as I thought, she didn't miss anything I took out (since I kept the few items that she actually plays with most).
This is my child who is high-strung, easily overstimulated and overwhelmed. Every day we were on her case about her messy room, and last week she spent the entire day cleaning it up. When I went in the next day and it looked just like it had before the cleanup, I knew I had to take drastic measures. It just did not seem fair to her that she had so much in her room that she was constantly stressed and overwhelmed trying to keep it clean.
She's so proud of her neat, new, uncluttered space. She could hardly wait to show her Daddy that night. We were able to move Sarah's crib into her room (now that it is not so full of little choke-able toys and general baby hazards) and this morning she was busy tidying up and making both beds.
I was a little concerned that is was heartless to take virtually everything out of her room, but I'm so glad I did, and so is she. In fact, when Silas saw her room he wanted his room cleaned out too. Last night Billy made a big haul, and now we have a much happier boy.
We sacrificed some material items in exchange for a whole lot of peace. It was a good lesson to me. I think I see more decluttering in my future!