At home, the year of the edit is going to mean a lot of decluttering. And because we might as well tackle the scariest room in the house first, we’re cleaning out teen HQ.
You may recall nearly two years ago when I was preparing to welcome young J into our home. He was only 14 at the time, and none of us really knew what to expect. I guiltily lamented the loss of my office and walk-in closet, but finally settled down and accepted my new open closet, and got rid of a lot of unnecessary stuff in the process. In the video below you can check out how the house looked for about 10 minutes after he moved in 🙂
Now, 24 months later, young J has made his mark on the room. He is not so much a user of drawers, he prefers to fashion a sort of floor covering from strewn items of clothing. An Easter basket peppered with rock-hard jelly beans, a relic from our first year together, sits atop his bookcase. The bookcase once held my shoes (see above) and now holds his sneakers. The bookcase is now filled with sneakers he no longer wears. Most of them no longer fit.
Thirty-six open and empty single-use contact lens containers cover the vanity area where I used to do my makeup. An empty bag of Sour Cream and Onion Lays languishes on the metal desk I once sat at to write.
My own room (shared with my husband) remains a challenge to keep in order with its over-stuffed Ikea drawers and beautiful but seemingly shrinking clothing rack. My room edit is coming soon, but for now we’re focusing on the teen.
I’ve heard a saying that goes something like, “humans will expand to fill the space they’re given.” Maybe it’s just my husband who says this, or maybe it’s some version of Parkinson’s Law. But I’ve found it to be true for every residence I’ve lived in. It is also true for young J.
What’s the motivation to get rid of stuff when there’s plenty of space to spread out? His dresser drawers are also filled with clothing he doesn’t wear, and likely doesn’t fit, but who cares? The expansive floor of the closet provides easy access to these items. The hill of clothing piled at the back of his closet? It’s one of those things the brain doesn’t register anymore or it would make a person crazy. (I will not be sharing photos of any of this, you’re welcome.)
Even though I’m deeply disturbed when I consider what might be under the piles, I chalk it up to teendom. I try not to wonder, for example, what if there’s old food?! Like that one time we had the most persistent case of fruit flies I’ve ever experienced, and we traced it to a shoe box in young J’s room which when opened revealed a months-old PB&J sandwich swarmed by approximately 1 million fruit flies.
I pick my battles with this one, because he has proven time and time again what a good kid he is. Against all odds, he has accurate judgement of right and wrong, and I know in my heart that every time he calls Frida poo-poo face that he really means “I love you,” a la Princess Bride.
AND I am pleased to report that I’ve found an opening to improve conditions in the room. Young J has asked for a new desk and a convertible couch to accommodate sleepover friends. 1. I’m happy to gift him something he really wants and 2. these additions make a reorg necessary. We will tackle it this weekend. Wish me luck.