Cleaning H’s Room – Round Two

Ding, Ding…

And we’re at it again… or maybe more like … still!!

Four days ago I started a little project that was necessary so that I could move ahead with creating a much-needed office space for myself. I mentioned a couple of times that this process was like the domino effect… and that there were certain things that were contingent upon others, and once they were done,  I could move on with other areas – and so on – and so on – and so on…

I kind of got sidetracked though… and I have been working the entire time in H’s room. What started as a little project, became rather more involved.

This is day four.

My intention is to make an office in my daughter’s old room. Nika is now 20, and is about to begin her third year of university. She no longer lives here, and we have a guest room downstairs for the odd time she stays over night.

So her bed needed to be moved, and since it is better than H’s bed, which is falling apart, we decided to give it to him. First, however, I had to empty the drawers of H’s captain’s bed – which led to more cleaning and more organizing. H helped too… but he doesn’t quite have the stamina that I do, so his assistance was sprinkled with a generous serving of ‘breaks’ – whilst minion-like, I slogged on.

labeledbins.jpgWe sorted and organized his toys and we labeled the bins with a sharpie. In the past I made visual labels and laminated them and velcroed them to the sides of bins – but I am not sure it ever really helped all that much. H tends to drop things on the floor or pile them up on top of any surface…

I think he may get that from me.

We cleaned and organized and dusted his shelves – with his wonderous collections of Star Trek, and Star Wars, and robots, and retro pop culture stuff.

dustingrobots.jpgWe vacuumed robots and rounded up stray Lego and sorted Meccano from K’nex, from Galidor, from more Lego… and the list goes on.

We created a Movie Making/Inventions/Special Effects bin for the multitudes of interesting items, sharp bits, salvaged electronics, and things that show promise for other uses, that have, until now, belied a category – and thus – likely have never had a bin to call home.

Sigh… I am nothing if not hopeful…

H is also sentimental, and has a hard time getting rid of things.

I think he gets that from me too.

He attaches personalities and feelings to items and it almost feels like a betrayal to toss them away. I get that…

I told him we would make a keepsake box and he could save the stuff that was really important to him, and as soon as he understood that, his anxiety was notably reduced. I also explained that we do not need to have every item of importance around us and visible at all times – and also that it is okay to move on and let things go as you mature.

We decided to give the items that H was ready to let go to a women’s shelter. H readily agreed that all children need books and toys, and this positively framed the letting go – as he focused on how much these things would be appreciated.

I love this kid’s big heart!

Funny how it makes it easier to let go of things when we are helping someone else. This is true about material things – but it is interesting that it resonates on a more metaphorical level as well… Hmmmm

We culled his books and sorted them into three piles: 1) books he wanted to keep  2) books he wanted on his shelves and 3) books he was ready to give away.  (To be honest – some of these were my books – so there was actually a fourth pile; as a teacher the delineation of  the books I have purchased for use with my students and the ones for my own kids has been pretty fluid over the years.)

Makingthebed.jpgHis bed was removed to the backyard and H had a great time taking it apart. It was a 1980s mostly particle board captain’s bed. Craig had fixed it so many times – and he thought it was unsafe to pass it on to another family. H now has a bit of maple and some laminated boards to build with and create in the garage.

At this point – I started to think that it was silly that H still had a dresser that was originally a change table – so I decided that it needed to be emptied as well. It is actually going into the garage to be a new work and inventions centre for H.

For me this was a bit of a letting go as well… I realized H needed a more teenagerish room… and that perhaps I was the one clinging to sentimental things. I don’t want to hold my kid back so I really tried to let him take the lead.

deskshot.jpgAnd then – I was on a mission. I washed the walls with TSP and touched up the paint. We set up an old desk that is a couple of little dressers topped an old door, all painted black. The funny thing is that this desk was one my dad made over 50 years ago. H was thrilled to have a desk in his room, especially one that had once been his Papa’s. We just need to get some legs for it tomorrow… and we’ll be done!

He feels he has a real teenager room now… Cool!

Peace.jpgAnd Finnegan the Labradoodle was clearly equally impressed!


So now H’s roopuppetangle.jpgm looks spectacular and I am very tired – but not much closer to having an office. I still have a room with a huge mess, which has now also become the receptacle for all of the stuff H has purged.

Sigh… it isn’t dominoes after all – it’s a Rubik’s Cube!

I need an algorithm!

Frickety frack – there is always tomorrow!

Related post: Cleaning the Aspie Room: Aaack! Will we ever move on from this?


30 Days of Autism is a project designed to fight stigma, promote civil rights, and increase understanding and acceptance for those who process and experience the world differently.

©Leah Kelley, Thirty Days of Autism (2013)   

About Leah Kelley, Ed.D.

Leah Kelley, M.Ed, Ed.D., Writer, Consultant, Activist, Speaker, and Educator, working with Teacher Candidates at UBC. Authors blog: 30 Days of Autism. Projects support social understanding, Neurodiversity paradigm, Disability Justice, and connecting Disability Studies in Education(DSE)to Educational Practice. Twitter: @leah_kelley Facebook: 30 Days of Autism: Leah Kelley
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12 Responses to Cleaning H’s Room – Round Two

  1. Please, please come to our house next!! 😉


  2. suvarna says:

    looks nice and spacious and grown up now, way to go H and Mom!


  3. I relate to so much of this. The can’t throw it away bit, the attempts to be organized and fail bit, etc. But it sounds like you’re doing pretty well with it.


  4. Life&Ink says:

    Oh my gosh, this could have been my son’s room! Legos, Knex, pieces of electronics strewn over the floor! When Ted was younger I didn’t worry about a middle of the night intruder ever getting to him because they would not be able to make it across the minefield that was his bedroom floor. 🙂


    • Leah Kelley says:

      Hee hee! Ted and H sound like two peas in a pod! Yes… navigating H’s floor space was becoming rather like some new sport, requiring steel-toed boots and other safety equipment. An unpracticed intruder would never make it! Yikes!


  5. Thank you for inspiring me, Leah.

    Bev in Toronto


  6. Oh how I heart this!!! You did a great job and the pose of H on his bed….spectacular!!! 😀


  7. Still haven’t tackled The Boy’s room since the move because we are waiting for The Man to build a Captain’s Bed for him! We have recently been going through the “attachment to stuff” stuff. It is a very hard thing. Good work – Looks great!


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