A Teen’s Perspective: Cleaning my room

cleaning my room

Cleaning my room

cleaning my room

The first mission I knew that I needed to accomplish upon returning from college between semesters was cleaning my room. For years, my room has been a disaster. I just have too much stuff.

It took about a week, but I went through everything. I found papers from kindergarten through high school that I will never need again—I suppose I kept them in case I needed them for future academic endeavors or for reminiscing. I found art projects from when I was 5 years old that I can’t even tell what they are, and are partially disintegrated. I found my favorite shirts from middle school that will never fit me again, but I just did not have the heart to get rid of before. I found funny baby pictures, old school projects, poems I wrote as a child and things I forgot I had stored. I kept those important keepsakes, and now have easier access to because of all the cleaning that I did. Some projects were just entertaining to see again, but ultimately ended up in the recycle.

As I packed bags upon bags—split up as garbage, recycle and donations—of stuff to get rid of, my mom questioned me about everything I was giving away. She didn’t want me to get rid of so much due to sentimental value.

Messy Room
super messy room

I am all for saving anything with sentimental value. I saved all of my firsts, any old projects that were major accomplishments or just plain entertaining, important papers that I might need for the future. But everything else just takes up space. It is ultimately up to you and your child what is important. Don’t let your child get rid of something he or she might regret giving up. But don’t hold onto something “just because.” Get rid of things you definitely won’t use, too. If you don’t use it now and didn’t even know you had it, chances are that it wasn’t important enough and that you won’t use it in the future. Just make sure you keep track of what you get rid of so that you don’t buy something similar in the future. Keep your spending to a minimum

My main issue is that I let this build up for so long. My advice to you is to get rid of stuff with your children as time progresses. Don’t let it build up so that going through your child’s room is a hassle. The only benefit of going through things all at once is that, at 20, I have a pretty solid idea of what I’ve used, what I haven’t and what has sentimental value. When I went through middle school papers at the end of every year, I saved so much because I thought those papers would be important to keep for academic help in high school. Then, it was important to save those papers. But in college, I see those papers are not of much use any longer—and were of no use in high school, either, ironically. Only keep the most important papers—review sheets, major tests, etc. This way, you can go through them more easily when it is time to get rid of them. You can also study and find those sheets for reference more easily if you keep fewer papers.

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