Gene and I spent a good portion of Friday afternoon discussing giving the kids allowance and whether they should be required to do chores/ have good behavior to earn it or whether it should just be a learning experience on saving vs. spending. It's actually a tough question in our house, because the "learning experience" would just be a weekly stuffing of Logan's wallet. He would refuse to spend a penny. Kaylin, on the other hand, would spend every penny. Also, Logan keeps his room neat and puts his dirty clothes in the laundry basket and his books back on the shelf. Kaylin is a disaster. To me, both the chores and "learning experience" majorly favor Logan (even if hoarding isn't really learning...) so I was for the behavior based system that would benefit both kids. Gene was for the chore system because he can't stand Kaylin's disorganization and wants everything to be based on the cleanliness of her room. Yeah, I know from personal experience that a few bucks a week will not help her problem. Gene and Logan are naturally more organized. They were born that way. It's certainly a good quality, but it's only something Kaylin can improve, not completely change.
We didn't come to a conclusion, but I did convince Gene that as long as Kaylin has 12 bazillion toys, books, art supplies, etc. in her room there is No. Way. she is going to keep them organized. Especially with the neighbor kids coming in and dumping stuff everywhere or getting out toys Kaylin rarely plays with. I decided to clean Kaylin's room. Not just throw things around and make floor space, but actually go through and sort everything and get rid of tons of stuff. It was the most overwhelming task I've taken on in a long time!
Her three biggest toy collections are My Little Pony, Littlest Pet Shop and Playmobil. I got three empty Rubbermaid containers and started sorting. I also had three plastic shoebox-sized containers, one each for crayons, markers and pencils. I slowly worked my way around the room, sorting and pitching and screaming at myself for taking on this horrible project. It felt like every time I finished one small area another hidden area of junk would pop up. Gene came and helped. In the end, we filled 4 1/2 large trash bags and a box for Goodwill. I just recently went through all her clothes for her school garage sale so the vast majority of the garbage was junk toys and tons and tons of art supplies and paper. Oh, I even recycled quite a bit of paper, but we still had that much trash! I ran out of time for actual cleaning, but somehow got through all her stuff except her stuffed animal collection, which is at least contained to a pet net above her bed. It was a horrible project that an 8-yr-old could NEVER EVER have done by herself!
And yes, Kaylin was barely involved in the room cleaning. I threw out soooooo many of her art projects, it would never have worked to have her involved! I can't even pretend to have any kind of attachment to the mobile made from a plastic hanger and several Dora the Explorer characters that appear to have been cut from a cereal box. Trash! Along with about 1000 other similar projects...
Next weekend I'm doing Logan's room. It will probably take an hour including deep cleaning time and I may fill the bottom of his tiny trash can. Phew!