A room makeover we all can love
My 8-year-old daughter saves everything. Every note, trinket, schoolbook, school paper, art project, stuffed animal, Barbie shoe, etc. and so on. Wouldn't you know, each one is her favorite. Cleaning out her room is no party because she fights to keep every last plastic piece of nothing.
But this week my husband and I came up with a plan: Offer her a room makeover, with the caveat that we would do the work while she was at school, so that she had no say in what stays and what goes. This might be a great holiday gift idea for your teen or tween — and you.
First we asked what she wanted. No. 1 on her list? Convert her second bed to a daybed with lots of pillows so she can use it for a cozy reading spot. No. 2: Don't take away any books or stuffed animals — terms we could live with.
We set out to make her room more grown up without changing the bedding, the paint or the curtains. That helped keep the cost down, a key factor for us. Here's what we did:
- Went through every last shelf, drawer, box and cubby, sorting through the stuff we know she loves and the stuff that she never plays with. We had two bags working: the trash bag and the "she'll scream if she realizes this is gone, but if she doesn't notice it's good to go" bag. The latter we set aside for safe keeping.
- Poured through her hundreds of books, taking the toddler ones and putting them on her 3-year-old sister's bookcase, and sorting through others to give them order. Nancy Drews, Harry Potter, American Girl, etc., go all together. She reads and rereads them all, so it was easy to keep them.
- Took some stuff from her room and stored it elsewhere. Example, she had a couple of pictures in frames that we added to our family memory table. That opened up space on her dresser.
- Gave her a pencil holder for her desk and a catch-all basket for her dresser, hoping the added organization would help.
- Made her second bed into a daybed with lots of colorful pillows, including a huge pink body pillow.
- Cleaned, cleaned, cleaned.
- Lastly, and here was the big thing: we rearranged her furniture. There are only so many configurations available, but to make a dramatic impact, we rotated the beds, the desk and the dresser into a more open layout.
It added up to a wonderful scene. When Alara came home, she bounced into the room and then off the walls. She could not believe how beautiful everything was. And she vowed to keep it that way.
By not painting or changing the linens, our dream makeover was only about $35, the cost of the bountiful pillows on her new daybed. (All purchased at Linens 'n Things' liquidation sale, one of many stores offering deep discounts right now.)
With a ton of hard work and very little money, we made our growing girl happy — and us, too.
-- Amy Hollyfield