A Girl’s First Domestic Domain

by Amy on August 22, 2011 in Cleaning, Creativity, Organizing, Responsibility

sistersMy daughters share a bedroom.  It’s a lovely space with khaki-colored walls and equine-inspired decor.  It is a place that is distinctly “them,” a blending of two unique individuals.

Where many people see a place to sleep, I see a place to practice.  A domain all their own where creativity and orderliness can take flight.

Creativity and Orderliness.

These two must go hand in hand or you will quickly find your daughters amassing enormous quantities of paper bits, posters, trinkets, and knick-knacks. But never fear!  You can teach your daughters how to care for their very first domain beautifully and neatly.

shelf

  • Give them specific guidelines on how to clean their bedrooms.  You can either write out a step-by-step process and post it in their room, or take a picture of the room in a tidy state as an example of what to strive for, or simply show them how to do it, watch them do it a few times, and then let them try on their own followed by an inspection from mom.  No matter the method you choose, make sure they understand what you expect and how to achieve that goal.
  • Explain to them why their room should be tidy.  Growing up, I was told things like no one would want to be my college roommate when I grew up if I didn’t do a better job of keeping a tidy room or what would my friends think if they came over and saw my room in such disarray.  This line of reasoning made little to no impact on me because it made little to no sense.  We don’t keep our homes clean so others will ooh and aah over what we have accomplished or so our friends will like us, we keep our homes clean because we are a direct reflection of the Lord, a God of order, not chaos. (2 Cor 3:18)
  • Teach them how to take their “likes” and refine them into creative and beautiful decor.  Does you daughter love photography?  Put some of her best photographs into a collage frame and hang them in her room.  Does she adore lime green?  Show her how to accent with pillows, ribbons, touches of a favorite color rather than an entire room of one color.  Is she forever bringing into the house pretty rocks and lovely weeds?  Show her how to press the weeds wildflowers and frame them or use the rocks in the bottom of a vase.  As she matures she will begin to naturally create from her own unique viewpoint and those individual tastes will bring beauty to her own home someday.
  • Give her tools to tame the clutter.  Nearly every girl I know has a tendency to see beauty everywhere she looks and for some reason that beauty often manifests itself in a stockpile of treasures.  My girls like to collect pictures and articles from magazines they find particularly beautiful or helpful.  Rather than allow those scraps of paper to overtake their room, I gave each of them two notebooks: 1 for “Things I Like” and 1 for “Homemaking.”  The Things I Like notebook is simply for things they find interesting or fun, the Homemaking notebook is a kind of “save for someday” scrapbook of things they might be able to use when they are wives and mothers.

notebooks

This is a training ground, a time of opportunity.  Let your daughters embrace their first domain and create and clean, try new things and add their own personalities to their space.  Offer gentle guidance and quiet suggestions.  Teach them what it means to be a keeper of their home by being a keeper of their bedroom.

Amy

Amy of RaisingArrows.net is the homeschooling mother of 7 living children and one precious little girl named Emily being held in the Lord’s arms. Her days are filled with giggly girls, rambunctious boys and sticky baby kisses. At night, she writes about it all. It is her deepest desire that out of the overflow of her heart, her mouth should speak…and her fingers type.

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{ 40 comments }

Sandra August 22, 2011

I so needed this article. Thank you!

Jennifer August 22, 2011

I love this post! Great ideas. This is an area I struggle with. Holding on to things, but don’t know what to do with them. I would love it if you would share this post on my blog hop Thrifty Peach Blog Hop tomorrow!

Have a wonderful week!

Wendy Gunn August 22, 2011

Amy,
You are so right. Having raised a daughter who is now grown, but still at home, we experienced these challenges:) Your ideas are excellent. Now that our Kelsey’s older, she keeps a file on the computer with photos of “things she likes” and “ideas.” She calls it “Inspire.”

Methods which worked in her bedroom: Choose 2-3 (of whatever is taking over at the time: e.g. stuffed animals from the bin in the storage room which rotate on your bed). A turning point: Having a file-folder holder in the closet, where she kept the most important papers and letters. Organizing necklaces on a belt-hanger in the closet. Drawers in the closet, and pullouts with compartments for hair thingies and craft items. Bins under the bed.

It’s not a one-time thing, but continually searching for systems that work.
Thanks for the inspiring post:)
Wendy

Amy @ Raising Arrows August 24, 2011

I agree! It isn’t a one time thing because I look at my own life and can easily see that!

Jennifer@A Blog of My Very Own! August 22, 2011

This is a great article. I can see where we can use it with our boys too so that they are prepared when they move into their first apartment/home on their own. We need to teach our boys how to “keep house” rather than just how to cook a few decent meals and do enough laundry to keep them going for another day. I’m excited to incorporate some of these things with my son 🙂

Amy @ Raising Arrows August 24, 2011

Excellent idea, Jennifer! My boys are actually wonderful housekeepers! 🙂

Jessica August 22, 2011

Thanks for addressing this issue. I’ve never been a big fan of closing the door on your child’s room and ignoring the chaos because it is “their space” to do with what they want. I think taking on the belief that it is our daughter’s first domestic responsibility is a great way to look at it. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a good role model for orderliness and have never been one to keep my areas uncluttered and so have trouble enforcing that with my children. Any advice on this issue? I’m a great cook and a pretty good teacher and I love my children desperately, but my home is a cluttered mess.

Amy @ Raising Arrows August 24, 2011

I understand. My mom wanted me to keep my room clean, but I didn’t know how. Some people are naturally good at it and don’t need instruction, but that was not me. I’m hoping to address more of this on my blog over the next few months because it has been an uphill battle and I know I am not alone.

A couple of quick ideas: make a short to-do list (5 things or less) that you want to accomplish during the day cleaning-wise, get a cleaning routine in place (You can find mine on my blog – I’m not able to post a link here for some reason – email me if you have any trouble finding it!)

And then just practice, practice, practice!

Monica August 22, 2011

Great points Amy!
I guess I should be more specific in their “clean your room”. I need to make a list of “to do’s”. Thanks!

Mrs. Mary Joy Pershing @Learning to Live a Surrendered Life August 22, 2011

Beautiful! What a lovely reminder! I love how you share your reasoning as to why they should keep their rooms clean…which is one of the biggest reasons that we should keep our homes clean too! What a blessing for them! I am taking notes! We have boys at home with us…our daughter lives with her mother with different priorities…maybe someday a little girl. If God makes it so. But this is so good and so logical that I can share the reasoning that we serve a God of creativity and ORDER and we are called to be like him with our older daughter who doesn’t live with us. That she can understand and it isn’t a I believe or what her mother believes. Thank you!!!!

Blessings dear friend!!!

Mrs Mary Joy Pershing

Nikki August 22, 2011

LOVE it! I’m struggling at the moment to help my daughter keep her room clean. It’s overflowing with stuff, she’s definitely a packrat. I’m trying to find a creative way for her to keep the pictures she loves to make. I was thinking of a binder of some sort, but there are soooo many. Any suggestions for how to approach getting rid of some?

I’m definitely interested in hearing more that you have to say about this subject and I’d love to see more pics of their room for ideas.

Thanks!

Amy @ Raising Arrows August 24, 2011

Nikki,
The first time we did binders, I sat down with them and helped them weed through things. We talked about whether or not something needed to be kept or if it could be thrown out because it wasn’t necessary. I have one child who will always struggle to get rid of things, so we work a lot of letting go. It’s tough, though.

Nikki August 24, 2011

Thanks! I do have rays of hope with little things that she gets rid of :o) I’m working now on purging and getting stuff in order with a place for everything so she has a clean slate to work with. She has also spontaneously decided to organize certain things, which I love and need to make sure I let her know how MUCH I love it! btw, sorry I posted twice, there was a glitch and I thought the first one didn’t go through.

Nikki August 22, 2011

LOVE it! I especially love the idea of taking pictures of her room because she’s a very visual person. I’m struggling to help my daughter keep her room clean. She has so much stuff! She’s definitely a packrat…can’t image where she gets that from ;o) Actually, it’s more that she very sentimental about everything. I’ve been trying to find a creative way to deal with her pictures that she loves to create. I was thinking of a binder of some sort, but there are just so many. Any suggestions for helping her part with some?

I would definitely love to hear more about this subject and would also love to see pics of your girls’ room.

Adelina Priddis August 22, 2011

I love this! Thank you for the advice. I’ve got 3 little girls and I’ve never really looked at it this way.

Cari August 22, 2011

This is such a great reminder. I haven’t ever really had an issue with my daughter and a clean room. We started training when she was 3-4 yrs old. She is 11 now. She loves to clean and organize things. She has always had a very creative approach to organization. I am much more analytical in my approach, therefore I have allowed her to orgainze the room as she sees fit. We are just now having issues with her not wanting to keep her room clean… like this past few weeks. So, Thank you for the reminder on WHY we keep an orderly house. We shall be cleaning rooms this afternoon!! 🙂

Lindsay August 22, 2011

Love the big scrapbook/hope chest book! I will have to try to consolidate all of my little girls’ “likes” into one of these! Thanks for the great idea and great post! Love it!

Danielle August 22, 2011

Great post! Thanks for taking the time to share this. I was told to clean my room for the same reason… ugh! It is a process of rethinking in order to change my parenting to be more like Christ. I love the idea of being a girls first domain! What a great way to foster their love for beauty and order using the things they enjoy!

Heather August 22, 2011

This is a GREAT post!!! I haven’t ever thought of it this way and now you changed my whole room cleaning vision! Thank you!!!

Marci Kay August 22, 2011

Boy, those are absolutely wonderful ideas! I have a 12 year old daughter that I am struggling with to keep her room tidy and find these ideas very encouraging. I really love the idea of the “homemaking” and “things I like” notebooks, excellent! Thanks so much and enjoy your girls!! God bless!

Restored Grandma Terry August 22, 2011

we keep our homes clean because we are a direct reflection of the Lord, a God of order, not chaos. (2 Cor 3:18) I so agree with that statement! You are doing a great job on how in instill the positive as well as motivating good behavior.
I would only add one more thing to top off these great words of wisdom. When the children are doing well at keeping their room or when it is all in place, say things like, “You girls are showing me how responsible and accountable you are as a person, I love that about you and I’m so proud to be your Mom!” Best told when they are going to bed so they can sleep on those wonderful words and how wonderful they are. I call this “Instilling Positive Beliefs” in your child’s mental library of himself.
So many parents out there don’t focus and verbalize the positive enough! It crushes my heart to see parents like the one on TV the other night,using hot sauce and cold shower to punish her young son. I just wonder how often she praised him? I wish I could rescue all the children that are abused. Tears fall, just thinking about those the innocence children that would love to have a parent like you.
http://www.IRestoreRelationships.com Ebook ~ Become a Parental “Coach” now only $5.00

Kassi January 21, 2012

You have the monopoly on useful inofrtmaoin-aren’t monopolies illegal? 😉

Sarah August 22, 2011

I would have loved to have had something like this growing up. My mom used to holler at me to clean my room (a lot). I never could seem to get it right when I did actually try to clean it, which wasn’t very often I’ll admit, but I never could figure out what exactly she had in mind by clean. Now keeping my home clean is still something I struggle with, and my three wild boys (4 if you count my husband) don’t help.

Megan August 22, 2011

Thank you so much for these lovely ideas! I have a very creative little girl who creates a creative mess, and now I know how to encourage neatness with creativity. She will love all of these wonderful ideas!

Sarah Coller August 22, 2011

This is so good…thank you for offering a perspective I hadn’t considered! 🙂

Blessings,

Sarah

Erika August 22, 2011

Thank you so much for posting this! As a child I struggled with keeping my room picked up- much to the chagrin of my parents. I remember hearing those phrases and it still didn’t inspire me to pick things up. In fact, I *still* struggle with keeping my part of the room picked up- much to the dislike of my husband although he never says so! Thank you for helping me with an approach on how to handle the area with my girls and for the creative outlook!

Sarah August 22, 2011

What is an appropriate age range to start teaching these things?

Amy @ Raising Arrows August 24, 2011

You can start speaking these things into your daughter’s life from the get-go. Help her tidy up her room while explaining why you clean. By age 5, you should be able to send her into her room to do a general tidy up without needing to stand over her. But, always check and praise her efforts. By age 9 or so, she should be able to clean her room very well, knowing exactly where things go (if there is a place for everything, that is) and dusting and vacuuming as well. The binders might need to wait around age 8, but my almost 7 yo has one she gets out any time her big sister gets hers out.

Marla Ivaldo August 22, 2011

Today we just started the homeschool year and I was wondering how to start with home economics with my 4 year old daughter, I was trying to do something very practical so she could help better cleaning her room, she gets distracted with ANYTHING in the way to follow instructions. As soon I got the article in my inbox I printed a 5 step pictured guide so she can bring order to her room at any moment. Thank you, it was SO PRACTICAL AND HELPFUL. Blessings!!

Amy @ Raising Arrows August 24, 2011

Yay!

Gail August 22, 2011

Lovely~and Touching~

Tabitha August 22, 2011

Awesome, thanks for this post. I have two daughters who share a very small room. I love your ideas.

Adelina Priddis August 22, 2011

I hope you don’t mind, but I really loved this post so much I blogged about it. http://homemaidsimple.blogspot.com/2011/08/tuesday-tip-involving-children.html

Amy @ Raising Arrows August 24, 2011

Thank you, Adelina 🙂

Becca VandeWettering August 23, 2011

Amy,
Thank you for such a lovely look at a little girl’s room. I have to admit that most of the time I view my daughter’s room as a chore, whether I am the one cleaning it or I am trying to “make” her clean it. It feels great to think of it as a sweet place for her to practice homemaking in her own style. My Anna is extremely creative, loves organization (not one of my stron suits) and would thrive in a room where she could express herself in a “Mom-guided” way.
Thank you for a sunny new perspective 😀
Becca

MaDonna August 23, 2011

Great ideas. Love the idea about putting the rocks in a vase. She is forever bringing home rocks and shells. I don’t want to damper her love of nature, but they were starting to drive me crazy! And the idea of taking a picture of what I expect a picked up room to look like is going to happen for all my kids, son included. His future wife may love me for that one. *wink*

Amy Hale August 23, 2011

Great post, Amy! Thank you so much for the reminder to be instilling these things into my daughter’s life. I have a great Mom who loves me very much, but never made me keep my room clean or have any chores around the house. At 42 years of age I promise I am just NOW developing a cleaning routine that works for me. Of course I do not want my daughter to be in the same boat!
Have a great day,
Amy

Amy August 24, 2011

My mom gave me the college roommate line as well. A LOT. It only made me rebel and resent her. She had unattainable standards for cleanliness. Thankfully I have forgiven her and I know she was just trying to help me. I don’t hold it against her anymore. She has since said she regret some of the things she said. I’ve tried to learn from her mistakes and take a different approach with my kids.

Mary August 25, 2011

Beautiful! I love this post! So timely, I really needed this right now. Working on these very things with my little sweetheart. (myself, too!). Girls are definitely different from boys!

his.talmidat August 31, 2011

Thank you, I love this! I’m thinking many more thoughts about it but should probably apply it rather then talk about it 😉

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