I have an 11-year-old daughter. Which means for the last four to five years, I have had a little adorable hoarder living under my roof. Little girls love to collect, I have found. My girl has collected/currently collects rocks, boxes, bracelets, notes, drawings, Valentines, hair accessories, paper flowers, dolls of all sizes, those plastic egg-like things that hold quarter-machine treasures, and the list goes on. This is all in addition to her mounting pile of skirts, scarves, nail polish, sweaters, swimsuits, ballet outfits, lost socks, and more.

In a word her room is a MESS! Every month or so, I go into her room like a tornado who has had it “up to here” and toting a large garbage bag. Two hours and a lecture on cleanliness later, I reemerge from the once-cluttered and now-somewhat-managed girl room completely exhausted and slightly frazzled.

No more, I say. I declare myself to the office of President in our household and pledge to banish ridiculous clutter and promise order to every room and individual who inhabits it. (Non-ridiculous clutter will be considered on a case-by-case basis.)

First up, the collector 11-year-old girl of the house. This is my plan:

Under the Bed

No longer will the underside of my daughter’s bed be referred to as “the vortex.” It is the first place we look when something is missing and has been the holder of many long-forgotten toys and painted rocks. We are reclaiming this space for our use. Some options I am considering:

  • This rolling underbed cart is a great option because she can’t collect dirt tiny objects in it AND it has rollers!
  • I am trying not to be confused that this storage option is made of cloth but by Rubbermaid. Hmmm. For out-of-season clothes, this is a great idea.
  • Heavy-gauge canvas sounds about right for a growing girl. I also love the labels and handles.
  • How cool are these old soda crates turned into under-the-bed storage?
Photo via hgtv.com
Photo via hgtv.com

All of her stuffed animals that she just can’t “bear” to get rid of yet can go in one of these under-the-bed bins. Another one for papers and school items that she loves, and another for out-of-season clothes. That’s the plan for now, at least.

Collections

The wanna-be artist in me doesn’t want to throw out all of her collections. I understand the need to collect and consider beautiful pieces. We just need to keep them organized and out of sight until the time when they need to be accessed:

Growing Up

As my daughter grows, I notice that she still wants to hold onto pieces of her younger years while still feeling a bit more grown up. Some things we can use to help her in this transitional time can include:

  • A storage ottoman. There are so many options, but I particularly like this one.
  • This dorm trunk can hold a lot of treasures and go with her to college. (College? Not too soon, please!)
  • This entire desk area with the shelves and magnet boards would be great for a tween and teen girl.

Store it THEN Decide

My rule of thumb for deciding what to throw out and what to save when cleaning out with the kids is “store it before you throw it”. If I am not certain about something, we put it in a box and store it in the garage. About a year later, we revisit the box in the garage and see if anything seems particularly save-worthy. Sometimes we chuck the whole box and other times we find a few sentimental pieces that we would have been sorry to not treasure for years to come. You can’t always trust your state of mind when you are purging a messy room. I’ve been there. I know.

What are your tips for cleaning out a little girl’s room? Does your daughter like to collect things? What items have been helpful for you?