One of my deep shames is a room that should be an extra guest room but has instead become a junk room. Yes. I have a junk room. It’s easy when you have more bedrooms than people to occupy them and that’s what happened when the kids grew up and moved out. It was just too easy to put things in a bedroom with the intention of storing it properly or getting rid of it later. In my mind it now resembles an episode of “Hoarders.” Now it’s necessary to turn that room back into a functional bedroom. I have a solid reason for clearing out the junk room and a time frame that won’t allow me to up and quit.
Our out-of-state grandkids spend a week with us each summer and I really need to separate my 7 year old granddaughter from my 2 1/2 year old grandson. They discovered during their last visit that giggling and goofing around is more fun than sleeping. I’m hoping that keeping them in separate rooms will prevent tired babies in the morning, not to mention a very tired Bam.
I looked in the room that will be my grandson’s room. There’s a bed in there, sans frame. I’ve also stored his Pack ‘n Play, high chair, his big sister’s old car seat, camping gear, a box of pictures I’ve been meaning to get into photo albums since the ‘90’s, and two large boxes of toys. We’ve stashed camping gear and old electronics in that room. Generally, everything I didn’t quickly decide on a storage space for or thought I might use soon has been put in that room. I’m pretty sure there’s a floor but I can’t really be sure at this point. So I’m determined to get this room cleared out and ready for the big visit.
Perhaps my battle plan will help you with yours.
- Gather the “equipment” I’ll need to get the room back in shape. This means:
- Boxes for items that will be stored and a few extra boxes for my yard sale items and things to donate.
- I’ll need a few garbage bags or one industrial size one (the kind that’s so big you could use it to dump a body). Once an item is in the garbage bag it doesn’t come back out.
- Packing tape will be used to reinforce and close boxes of things that will be stored in a proper storage area.
- Permanent marker(s) will ensure I know what’s in the various storage boxes.
- Notepaper and pen need to be right there to note anything that needs to be fixed. In the case of this room, where many of the grand kids’ toys are kept, that means noting if batteries need to be replaced.
- Small box for stray crayons, toy pieces, and any other tiny objects I find while clearing out the room. They’ll be put away with like items after the general cleaning is done.
- My most important “equipment” is my youngest son. I need him for the heavy lifting. Did I mention there’s a TV in that room that’s the size of a Volkswagen Bug?
- Move the large electronics (several TV’s, a couple of old computer monitors, and a VCR) to the living room. This will give us more room to work in the bedroom.
- Move the items that can be stored in the basement to their proper places down there. This means they’re stored properly and gives us even more floor and closet space. This includes holiday items, camping gear, and anything else that is only used seasonally.
- The baby’s crib and high chair will also be moved to the living room. They were cleaned thoroughly after the last visit but they’ll both get another cleaning before the grand kids arrive.
- Things belonging to my adult children will be separated by owner and they will have a very limited time in which to decide if they want it or if it will be tossed. If you don’t have adult kids this also applies to those living at home.
- All toys will be sorted and those they’ve outgrown will go in the yard sale box.
Once the room is emptied of things that don’t belong I can put the bed on the frame (currently in the basement because one of our kids didn’t like the bed being “so high.”) and wash the walls. I’ll give the room a quick dusting and vacuuming. The day the kids are arriving I’ll vacuum and dust again and make the bed.
While we’re clearing out the room:
- I’m going to play upbeat music to keep us moving.
- I’ll set a timer so I don’t wear myself out. First I’ll set it for 15 minutes and, if I can keep going without a break, I’ll give myself another 15 minutes on the timer. I’ll take short breaks when I need to rest.
- While we’re clearing out, with each item, I’ll ask myself if I absolutely cannot do without it. If it’s been lost in that room for a very long time I probably don’t need it. To make it easier I’ll ask myself if I’d be willing to spend money to replace it if it were gone. The answer to that is usually that if I’d really needed it I would have already replaced it or found it.
Give myself and my son a sincere compliment on the work we’ve done and admire how great that once junk-filled room looks. Then I’ll insist on being taken out to dinner.