Without going into too many specifics about my daughter, who is 9, I want to talk about the trash she couldn't deal with in her room. We cleaned out 5 kitchen-size bags of trash from her room. This included cheap broken toys (knick-knacks given in goodie bags at school holiday parties); wrappers upon wrappers; lollipop sticks; bits of paper; old school papers; old school folders and notebooks; plastic accessories for Littlest Pet Shop (we considered these trash); broken hair clips and headbands; a couple books with bindings broken so they fell apart; broken cheap tea set pieces, broken pencils and bits of crayons; broken costume jewelry; used up sticker books, coloring books, and drawing pads; tissues and napkins... That is all I can think of and really, isn't that enough? It seemed she couldn't get past all this trash. It was too overwhelming. Will thought maybe she had too many toys. I kept arguing that she only has three categories of toys in her room: Barbie, American Girl and Littlest Pet Shop; and they were organized in 4 clear plastic bins. No matter how specific we were with telling her to clean, she just couldn't do it on her own.
After 4 days of her "cleaning" her room, she really hadn't gotten anywhere, so Will and I went in there and dumped out all her desk drawers and toy bins to help her reorganize everything. That's when we realized there was trash in everything. We went through the little plastic crap that comes with every toy she receives and threw out some of it. I mean, it was just spread throughout the room, in every drawer, under her bed. There was no way she needed all of it. So, in that respect, Will got what he wanted in lessening the toys. We kept a few small accessories for Barbie and all her clothes and shoes for Barbie and the same for her American Girl doll.
How did the trash build up, though? Is she a hoarder? I don't think so, but I do think she has a difficult time separating what is trash and what is not. Part of this is the junk that kids are always accumulating. I'm talking about the crap made in China or India or Indonesia that serves no real purpose other than 5 minutes of entertainment before it becomes clutter. It's the stuff made from our water bottles. Did you know that all our water bottles are sold to China and then become the plastic toys our kids want? And we buy it! The culture of crap and clutter is hurting our kids' ability to place appropriate value on objects. Either kids are way too attached to all of it, or they don't realize what has real value (a $100 doll) and what doesn't ($5 small plastic toy).
At this point, our daughter's room is clean. It's been vacuumed and all the toys she really does play with are put in their correct bins. I blame myself mostly for the state of her room prior to cleaning it. In some ways I've been a lazy parent. I haven't taught her how to clear clutter from her backpack regularly and that clutter just spread throughout her room. Hence, I haven't taught her how to clear clutter regularly from her room. I told her I wouldn't be a lazy parent any longer and she would have to expect me to be on top of her about her room. Truthfully, she was relieved to hear that. As her father said, she'd created a prison of stuff and she needed to be freed.