Sunday, October 14, 2007

A clean sweep

We had a number of neighbors over this afternoon to celebrate the 80th birthday of the man who lives across the street from us. An occasion of this kind necessitates some preparations, including a thorough cleaning of any part of the house that might be seen by guests.

Since the girls' bedrooms had reached the point that it was dangerous to walk across the floors without paying close attention, I told them we would be doing some cleaning today.

Here's the way The Deal works in Jenworld: If I clean the girls' rooms by myself and with no help from them, then there's a good chance many items will end up in the trash or in a box to be donated. A real good chance. If the girls assist in the cleaning, then they will likely save their possessions.

I told the girls this morning that their rooms needed to be cleaned. Graceful, remembering The Deal, headed upstairs almost immediately and got busy. Not long after, Elegant saw the wisdom in her sister's actions and followed suit. Later still, I went upstairs, with the idea of getting started on Elegant's room first, since it was the worst and I knew she was probably overwhelmed by the mess.

I walked into El's room and it was actually quite clean. Granted, she had piled a lot of stuff on her desk and book shelves, but the floor was nearly spotless.

I complimented the girl and praised her for her hard work. Lots of positive reinforcement. Told her how pleased I was and so forth.

Elegant stood there, looking uncomfortable and not at all pleased with herself.

She finally said, "Well, my room isn't really that clean."

I told her that I thought it looked much better than it had.

She responded, "Yeah, but that's because everything's under my bed."


Lacey Bean said...

Hey at least she's honest! My dad used to envoke the "throw out rule" as we called it.

Jill said...

My husband goes POSTAL when he sees all the toys my girls throw around. My 4 year old still has her crib in her room so we can throw in all the costumes, dress up shoes and crowns before Daddy comes in and tosses them all!

The clutter is overwhelming.

Linda and her Surroundings said...

Well, that is quite good really. Honesty and ingenuity happening there.

Suzanne said...

Elegant is like a little Mini-me in oh-so-many highly amusing ways.

I used to pay my sister a nickel to clean my room for me. When my parents ruined the good thing I had going by telling my sister she didn't have to do everything I asked, my usual solution was to stuff everything under the bed and into the closet. I was always able to quickly lay my hands on whatever I was looking for, so I never considered it a mess.

My mother hated cleaning even more than I did, so there was never any danger of her coming in and throwing my stuff out. My father probably would have, though.

My sister and I dread the day my mother moves out of the house she's lived in for the past 35 years. Her husband has thrown out a lot, but the amount of clutter and junk is still terrifying and overwhelming.

I keep trying to get her to hire a cleaning person or at least a professional organizer to help her go through some of the mountains of crappe, but she just refuses to. Blarg.

countrymouse said...

I think I don't get it. What's wrong with everything being under the bed? That's how *I* clean my room . . . and mysteriously my bed levitates 6 feet off the floor on a mountain of crapola. But that's what dust ruffles are for . . .

Happy Working Mom said...

You've raised an honest girl!

And actually, who doesn't throw things in the closet or hide them under the bed when they're in a hurry???


Flutterby said...

ROFL!!! We've had that same rule here forever... If I clean it, anything I want is MINE and they know they run the risk of me tossing things out or putting them in the donate box. I kept two huge 35 gallon sized trash bags of Mermaids Barbies and accessories in my closet for almost two months one time. And that was just to have a safe path to her bed. I left the rest of the room in a mess. She finally cleaned it up and got her Barbies back.

Lisa@Take90West said...

That is my kind of girl!
I've used that same cleaning method many times.