Kids RoomsOne thing my wife can never accept is the idea that when a room gets too messy, it's probably an indication that there is too much stuff in it.
Here is a shot of my daughter's room from 2003:
You can see that the shelves are filled up, and there is basically no room for her to play.
My first concern is that it is impossible to vacuum the room. I do most of the vacuuming, dusting, etc.
My second concern here is that I wanted my daughter to be able to learn how to put away her toys, and that was impossible, because there was no "away." I thought it was an important thing to teach. My wife did not agree, and she felt when I brought up the messiness that I was attacking her, and that usually brought on a long discussion about how I don't help with anything around the house, etc.
My counter-argument is that school teachers have lots of toys, and they have 25-30 kids each, and at the end of the day all the toys are put away because they have a place to go. So the teachers make sure to make it simple to put things away. This brings up something I don't understand, and that is I'm not permitted to purchase shelves or any other storage solutions for the items.
Anyway, in 2003, I was still working to accommodate my wife's concerns, so I proposed compromise, where I would box up some of the toys, move them to our shed, and "rotate" the toys she had in the room. This would not violate my wife's rule, mainly that toys have to be kept in perpetuity (my daughter is 16, and we still have many of the toys).
I spent 2 or 3 hours on this, and here is what the room looked like at the end:
I took a few bins of toys out of the room:
She gets really mad when I do this, and says I am having a "psychotic break" and that I need to move out, and get an apartment, because I am so neurotic.
Ten years later, we are still having this fight over the garage, bedroom, etc.
I've started getting more aggressive about getting old newspapers, magazines, and cardboard boxes out of the house. I used to hide these things in plastic bags in the car, but my wife started searching the vehicle, so now I shove the magazines and old clothes down my pants before I leave the house, then I recycle them at work or donate them at good will.
My daughter has had the same problem when she tries to get rid of things. She began giving me things to smuggle out of the house.
My wife says I am neurotic, but I don't think that the level of mess in the first picture is appropriate. When you can't move around the room, it is time to clean up. I don't buy the line about my being neurotic, because when my wife has friends over, she will clean up the rooms to the state in the "after" picture shown above. This is a huge undertaking - she will often have to take one or two days off, and we will hire a housekeeper to work with her.
A few days after the visit, she usually starts filling the dining table, counters, and other rooms back up with the old junk mail, newspapers, etc. They become unusable, and if anyone moves the items, they are in for 15 or 20 minutes of verbal abuse.
I don't understand why our family doesn't get to enjoy our home in the condition that her friends see it in.