I got up the nerve to clean Maura’s room and now I hate everything

3 Jun

Maura, bless her heart, is the world’s messiest kid. You may think you have the messiest kid, but you don’t. It’s Maura. Maura wins the title.

Granted, I’m pretty sure Maura also has hoarding issues. I don’t even joke about that. She loves stuff. Loves getting new stuff. Loves her old stuff.

So basically, cleaning her room is a covert operation that involves shoveling and muttering curse words while saying “Why is this in here? Why am I even asking why this is in here?”

Maura’s lucky that I’m not a Type A person. I don’t need everything in its place. I am not a minimalist. I can live with some clutter. But I also believe in not living with fire hazards and having a path to the door in case of said fire. I also do not want to wade through some room.

Last week, I got a bug up my butt to sort out the master closet. This snowballed, and it went from sorting the master closet (which had become the catch-all for random things) to cleaning out the laundry room and catching up on laundry that had been piled up in there, which turned into sorting out the linen closet because we’d just been shoving stuff in there, which led to piles of clean laundry in the back room – a room that is supposed to be a calm place for adults and where I write. It’s now a giant pile of clean and mostly folded laundry.

Most of that laundry is Maura’s.

And I realized I couldn’t put Maura’s laundry away until I cleaned her room. Because her room was piles of dolls and ponies and laundry and books.

After days of procrastinating and having no where quiet and calm to sit, I went in there today.

After an hour of working in her room, I now hate everything and it doesn’t really look any neater.

And now I have more laundry to do. Because even though I know she didn’t actually wear those sweaters that were thrown on the floor and walked over, I have to wash them again, and find a better place to store her winter clothes. The shelf in the closet isn’t a good place. She can reach it.

Josh suggested I just get rid of some stuff. While I agree with the theory, it’s not something I can do today. Because Maura is here. When I was cleaning out the master closet, she stood next to me, breathing heavy, fingers twitching, wanting to grab the stuff and run with it. Even though it wasn’t her stuff. Because girlfriend has a problem when it comes to stuff. She loves it. She lurrrrrrves it. She must have it all.

The thing is – I won’t ever be able to get rid of enough stuff to make Maura’s room…well…roomy. Because I am aware that Maura is aware of all her stuff. I know which dolls are her friends, her favorites. We have a herd of Build-a-Bear My Little Ponies – and she loves them all. She likes to have sets of dolls. We have a flock of penguins that have lived with us since preschool, flew on the plane to Ireland and back. It’s the dolls that take up the most room, the most space, but they are also the most loved and most played with.

Maura also has a love affair with backpacks. She has, oh, seven? Ten? I don’t really know because she’ll claim other people’s old backpacks as her own. And a couple of my purses. And the camera backpack I bought myself. And some lunchboxes, which are almost never used because she buys lunch. But if we need them, we have them.

She also, being a teenager, loves clothes. Loves. She’s a regular 14 year old clothes horse. A good day for her is going to Target, getting a Starbuck’s, and a new dress. Or new shoes. Or both. She has zero problems stealing clothes from other family members (she has a penchant for Dad’s soccer jerseys.) The staff at school have figured this out so deliberately brought in clothes for Maura – after okaying it with me. She comes home in a new outfit every so often, much to the bus driver’s amusement. And considering Maura can go through three to five outfit changes a day, well, maybe it’s helpful to have so many clothes. Right?

Maura has also started a book collection. She’s discovered graphic novels and we have a comic book store in the mall by our house, so that’s a match made in heaven for Maura. She can get Powerpuff and My Little Pony graphic novels and it’s a good time.

So really, my job is to do the impossible and make as much of her dolls and ponies and backpacks and clothes fit into her room. So she can then get all the dolls and clothes back out again. So I can clean them all up again. So she can get them all out again. And so on, and so forth, world without end, amen.

Okay, so maybe I don’t really hate everything. I just hate having to clean it all up.



Just a smattering of all the ponies



5 Responses to “I got up the nerve to clean Maura’s room and now I hate everything”

  1. saracvt June 3, 2017 at 5:59 pm #

    I’m majorly impressed that you got up the nerve to do that. Both my daughters’ rooms scare me, and I KNOW they need to be cleaned up, BADLY, but I haven’t managed to steal myself to it yet. And I know what you mean about wanting to keep it all–a few years ago, when we replaced her mattress (because, y’know, with the “accidents”, despite the mattress protector, it was stained and smelt horrific), she pleaded with us not to throw it out because of “all the memories”. A filthy, pee-stained mattress. She’s like that with everything. Some things do need to be trashed–I’ve just learned to do it when she’s not home.

  2. Jody June 3, 2017 at 6:34 pm #

    I feel this pain! The closet in my twin’s room was the final frontier of yet to be unpacked spaces after our move. It has been 18 months, and it was past due. It took us 2 days to get the job done. One to clean the room, and 1 to drag out all if the closet stuff and clean that. Now all that is left is the toy purge. They are 10 now, and they moved literal baby toys tbat they weren’t ready to let go of. I need a few days to steel myself!

  3. Lisa Stark June 3, 2017 at 7:59 pm #

    Guilt her into getting rid of stuff. As in, “One of my readers is a special education teacher at a school right down the street from a family homeless shelter.” Often our students don’t bring their homework because they don’t have a backpack, or a snack because they don’t have a lunchbox. As for the small, stuffed toys, ours is a trauma sensitive school, and we use small stuffed animals with our students to help them cope with the anxiety of learning when they have overwhelming problems at home. You’d be surprised how having a little friend sitting on their desks helps these kids to keep working. Graphic novels? I have a room full of kids who can’t read well, and graphic novels are just the kind of “high interest material” I write into IEPs (Individual Education Plans) but which our school does not have the budget to provide. Guilt. It’s what cleans closets.

    • Phoebe June 9, 2017 at 12:15 pm #

      Yeah, she doesn’t get the concept of guilt. She doesn’t understand those who don’t have less than her. Her world view, in a way, is quite narrow.

      The only time she feels guilt, that I am aware of, is when she knows she does something wrong and feels badly for it. Using guilt to manipulate her just isn’t a thing we can do if we wanted to.

  4. Heather June 4, 2017 at 9:43 pm #

    It was therapeutic to read this post. I have a 14 year old’s room waiting for me right now. It’s been waiting since school ended last year. I keep thinking I’m going to find a system or solution that works. Ha.
    Thank you again!

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