As I’ve established on more than one occasion, my two youngest children deal with Autism. With that said, they also deal with extreme issues concerning attention, concentration/comprehension, effective planning of any kind and severe organization issues. A lot of us have a hard time coming up with ideal solutions for managing different levels of clutter, but for my two, it’s a daily struggle.
I’ve been told all sorts of (amusing) advice to help turn my clutterbugs into perfectly organized angels. *insert maniacal laughter*. Charts! Once you use charts, your kids will keep on top of everything. NOPE. Lists! Once you use lists, they will check everything off and it will all get done. NOPE. Supervise! Sure, I want to stand there for three hours while they cry about not wanting to give up the stuffed animal they had when they were two that they can’t fall asleep without. NOPE.
My daughter, who is 11 (adding in the pre-teen level of not caring one bit about what their room looks like), has turned having a messy room into an art. Clothes everywhere, toys strewn all over, papers in every corner, books, video games, loom bands (Satan created those things in my opinion) galore; it’s like a tornado in there. So, today, I woke up and decided that while she is at her grandparent’s house that I am going to clean her room. Thankfully, my son was home and he helped fill up the basket I chose and brought everything to me. I created the normal piles: One for donation, one for keeping, one for recycling and one for trash.
After about an hour of sorting, the room was pretty much empty and I had a pretty solid collection for each pile. I make sure to not donate things that are important to her and I don’t throw out things that aren’t otherwise hopelessly broken, has a sharp edge or is just no longer a viable thing. The donation bag can go in the trunk and I can whisk it away.
I’ve had people tell me that I’m coddling her, doing the work for her and making her lazy etc, but this time, just a few weeks from Christmas, I do have a method to my madness. If I don’t deal with it now, the things she receives on Christmas will add to an already overgrown disaster. I also haven’t been really diligent about demanding that she do daily routines to ensure that it doesn’t get that messy. So I really look upon this opportunity to start with a clean slate for both of us. Obviously, what I’ve suggested in the past (the charts, lists and other systems that I put into place that quickly fizzled out) hasn’t worked, but I’m not perfect and neither is she. It may seem that she is getting off the hook, but part of the reason I do it is to really admit to myself that I need to find a better method.
I used to tell my mother that when I grew up, I was going to let my kids have the messiest rooms and just not care. (Not to mention I was going to let them stay up all night, listen to whatever music they liked and loudly at that and not hover over them). NOPE.