My Little Girl’s Room Is Organized . . . Am I on a Roll Here?

My Daughter's Room is Organized! at

I shared on Friday that after being so proud of myself for organizing the garage, I ended up in a funk when the very next day, a desperate search for tap shoes made me unable to deny that my daughter’s room had . . . once again . . . ended up in a state of chaos.

Bigtime chaos.

Such bigtime chaos and such a bigtime funk that I didn’t even take a legit before-picture.  Honestly, I felt  hopeless about it.  

But after the Mommy Declaration that “We’re going to clean up this room once and for all!” (like once-and-for-all-cleaning is even possible), I had to do it.

We designated a Get Rid Of basket, and a Keep basket.

Thankfully, the Get Rid Of basket filled to overflowing first.  I have hope that my daughter hasn’t inherited my slob-brain, because she was very willing to give things up.  I think that’s a good sign.

I trudged through the first day, and quit when it looked like the picture at the top of the post.

Yeah . . . that’s AFTER day one.

As I worked . . . I thought.  A lot.

I considered similar spaces.  Spaces that I am most adept at ignoring.  Spaces where I don’t necessarily have to spend long periods of time, so I can “let” them get this way.

I thought about the playroom and the laundry room.  Both spaces I’ve decluttered/organized in the not-too-distant-past.  And they’ve stayed in pretty good condition, with NO maintenance.

Seriously.  NONE.

Here are some at-this-moment pictures.  I was tempted, but did not let myself straighten anything before I took the pictures.

The playroom:

The Laundry Room:

Other than the I-have-no-idea-why-it-is-there basketball, I’m rather impressed with these spaces.

So, what made these organizing projects successful?

  • I stripped the rooms down to only what’s actually needed/used in that room.
  • I let go of storage ideas that never worked for me/us.

I decided that in my daughter’s room, we would only keep things she plays with.  Basically, that’s Barbies, Polly Pockets, and babies.  That decision freed me quite a bit.  We also kept her favorite stuffed animals, books, and two learning toys.

Junk was gone.  And the place where the most junk was found?

Down in the depths of the toy box.  It’s a black hole where itty-bitty things go to die, and it can’t possibly ever be organized, at least not in this house.

So I hauled it out.  

At that point, I really got depressed.  Honestly, my very favorite comments on the garage-clean-out post were about how I didn’t use any fancy systems or expensive pretty containers.  I just used what I had, and didn’t spend a dime.

For my daughter’s room, though, I ached for pretty containers.  I wanted a cutesy little system.  But too many times, we’ve wasted stuff like that.  I couldn’t justify buying anything.  I decided to try the wooden (hideously ugly) shelf that I had emptied in the garage.  I thought that if it worked as an “out in plain sight” storage system, we would one day paint it.  I hauled the (crazy-heavy) thing all the way to her room by myself, only to decide that it was so crazy-heavy . . . that it wasn’t safe.  While I pushed it on a towel across the wood floors, it tipped a few times, and it was too heavy for even me to be able to catch it easily.

NOT worth the risk.  

I didn’t know what I was going to do, and then on Saturday morning, I decided to move the hutch out of my office into her room.  I love the hutch, but it doesn’t really match any space in this house.  It would be perfect for her room.

It’s very steady and nowhere near as heavy, and I put it in a place where if it did fall,  it would fall onto her dresser.

I headed out to the garage to find the storage containers I had uncovered last week.  They weren’t pretty, but they worked great for Barbie and her clothes.  I have no idea where they came from, except that they appeared at the same time Chuck arrived in one just like them.  (And he left in one too.)

I put her stroller and baby crib over where the toy box had been. Within minutes, the peaceful and uncluttered space was being enjoyed:

And here’s the final result:

It may not be obvious in the picture, but this feels like an almost empty room compared to before.

And we love it. 
I’m no longer feeling hopeless about this room.
I’m a little late to the party, but I’m going to link this up over at where her Project: Simplify is all about purging kids’ clothes and toys.  
I’m also linking up at Org Junkie’s 52 Weeks of Organizing.
I’m also linking this up over at The Motherload for her Clutter Challenge.

How I Organized My Daughter's Room pin at



  1. 1
    TaderDoodles (Lisa B) says:

    Now I'm off to read about the garage. Because my house is going to eat me. or drown me. or smother me…or something like that.

  2. 2
    Anonymous says:

    It's so true. My girls clean their room and the whole family gathers in there to hang out! My son's room is always horrible. He has TOO MUCH stuff, and it is very hard for me to purge it. A) Everything has tiny pieces, and I'm always sure there are few that still need to be found. B) He has super cool looking boy toys that I'm sure he'd play with if it were all just a bit better organized. Never mind that all he ever likes to play with are magnets. Sigh. Ok, we'll work on it tomorrow (really, not a Scarlett O'Hara tomorrow)

  3. 3
    See Jamie blog says:

    Woohoo! I am planning to be on a serious cleaning/organizing roll here soon when I have a week off homeschooling and absolutely nothing to do & nowhere to be. Unless it runs away, it's gonna get cleaned &/or organized. Bwahaha!!

  4. 4
    Handy Man, Crafty Woman says:

    It looks really, really great!! I need to go through some of our son's clothes & things…need to see what is going to fit him (or not) for spring/summer.

  5. 5
    scorpiostungyou says:

    Your blog is so inspirational to me, everything you write I am thinkning oh crap she thinks just like me, that pile of shredded paper and other misscelaneous stuff can just stay there till later, its not in the way. lol Thank you for doing this.

  6. 6

    Wow, it really looks great! I'm totally stealing the clothesline idea for my girls' doll clothes; it's adorable!

    Also, I am so glad to see someone else gets the futility of big, admittedly cool-looking toyboxes like that one. I got rid of my kids' big toyboxes years ago, after realizing that while, yes, it is quick to throw everything in one box at bedtime, having a big everything-goes-in box means that EVERYTHING gets pulled out into a huge, discouraging pile in order to find either one specific toy or all of a "type" of toy like all the blocks or all the Barbies and it's nearly impossible to tell which toys are actually getting played with and which are just being pulled out along with the really-wanted toys.

  7. 7

    I love this! I'll bet she's so proud of that hutch. I love it. Her room is really pretty and adorable. You've inspired me to really get into my girl's room and purge. I cleaned it before, but never really got rid of enough stuff. You've inspired me!

  8. 8

    I just did this exact cleanout this week. Five bags of trash in the girls' room! My older daughter spent an HOUR playing in there *by herself!* With one of the three toys I left….

  9. 9
    Frogi Girl says:

    That's AWESOME! I love the way that feels — the clean, the angelic choir singing: AHHHHHH! So great that you just used that you had. I'm going to have to continue to challenge myself to do that!!! 🙂

  10. 10
    Mara @ Kosher on a Budget says:

    Awesome job, Nony! Way to go. I'm working on my boys' room. It's slower going, but I'm getting there. All the little parts…

  11. 11
    Elizabeth@ReadySetSimplify says:

    It looks great!! I was working on toys this week, too. My kids play so much better when it's not crazy and overwhelming. I wish I could have seen the before the before picture. My before pics are pretty bad.

  12. 12

    Fantastic posts – both garage and your daughter's room. I do the same thing with my daughter every six months or so. I find that the less she has to play with, the more she entertains herself – don't know how that works – but it does!

    Keep up the good work!

  13. 13
    Shannon L says:

    Seriously, you and your choir need to come help me "fix" my daughters room. It still has not been touched. Of course my brother promised her a stage he hasn't built and my mom promised handmade curtains that haven't been made. So its not completely my fault, except for that whole cleaning thing. Dd7 will be out of the Rock Star phase by the time her room is finished!

    Great job on the room and using what you have. I would've put it somewhere "just for right now". That's where it would stay unless I bought another piece of furniture. Thanks for the heads up on the large toy container. I've actually wanted one but now am reconsidering. Any thoughts on those shelf units with the open containers?

  14. 14

    Wow!! great work!! your daughters room looks great!! 🙂 I love the hutch thats exactly the kinda thing I'm looking for, for my house 🙂
    I found ur blog last week and I've been doing as u've suggested and reading ur blog backwards. U've come a long way and I hope that I too can get out of my slob ways lol. Keep up the good work 🙂
    Here's my blog if ur interested in taking a peek, it's very new 🙂

  15. 15
    Anonymous says:



    1-awesome, wtg great work purging here and in gets easier as it might realize you'll have to do spaces a few least thats my discovery..

    2-im giving a talk today on aspergers and came to a revelation that applies here too…..let go of what you thought your kids would be/play with..doesnt matter how cool, expensive, begged for the toy was , if they don't have interest in it, LET IT GO….same with the clothes…if the kid loves to play with mainly one thing…well that's what it is…

    my son adores legos….the bain of my…but he PLAYS for hours and hours, creating worlds, creations, making games etc….

    3-my tip/discovery..thought my livring room looked acceptable…welll i took a pic of the baby on the floor..OH MY…in the digital pic…its a MESS…my slob brain couldnt SEE it…so one day (if you are brave enough) walk around taking digital pics of areas of your home and see what you can SEE..

    4-that would be a great carnival /linky we slobs have discovered that AMAZES us…(and likely is well known by our organized counterparts…

    celina from canada
    celina dot jamie at cogeco dot ca

    thanks for always sharing and being honest

  16. 16
    Nony the Slob says:

    THanks for all of the encouragement! So far so good. She's getting a lot of joy out of putting things back in her hutch!

    Shannon, I'm always attracted to those shelf units, but we've never had one of the ones where you could totally see the drawers. We have an ikea one where the drawers slide in . . . and we really never use it. The only times things got sorted was when I did a major overhaul. Most of that is because of me not having them do it nightly.

    Celina, great thoughts! Yes, I totally know the "oh my word I didn't see that until I looked at the picture" feeling.

  17. 17
    Anonymous says:

    i had one of those bin things for toys when i had my daycare…yeah slob..daycare…sigh..anyhow…works great if your kid is into sorting…(or your husband is when he picks up after the kids…) i'm a pile it in kinda girl and it was messy….so like everything great in theory..i could not make it work for me…the weird thing is..the bins that are platic with drawers that are clear…has worked well…maybe because of 9 different categories..there are only 3…????

    celina in canada

  18. 18

    I did this to my youngest sons room this past fall. I thought seriously about what he plays with. It's his Legos & stuffed animals. Period. Rarely does he ever play with anything else. So, I was ruthless, I boxed up everything. I did keep out 'nice' books, I got rid of 'crap' books, ALL other toys. He had a stroke! But the deal was, that if he came to me & specifically asked for a certain item, within a certain amount of time, he could have it back. He's only asked for 3 things. And I had at least 8 boxes of stuff that went out to the shed for the garage sale this summer.

    Good job, Nony! I bet your daughter is relieved too….now that her room can be just kept up just as the other de-slob-ified rooms are!

  19. 21
    BusyMommy says:

    Beautiful. Now for the hard part (for my kids anyway), maintaining…

  20. 22
    Anonymous says:

    Not to play safety squad or anything, but they have those furniture wall straps for items that may topple. Really easy to use!

  21. 23
    Shannon L says:

    Yeah, Nony, I was afraid of that. I'm not the organized, everything has to be put back in its home type cleaner anyway. Most of the time, I'm lucky if anything gets picked up at all. Well, I'm glad I haven't invested in it. Most of the stuff that has little parts gets tossed into a zip top bag. Eventually when we get tired of stepping on little parts, they get tossed. Except legos. They've stuck around for some reason.

  22. 24
    allysgrandma says:

    I think you are doing a great job seriously. When I read your posts I see myself at your age or stage in life. I once had to send my YD to play soccer with pink shorts on instead of the matching ones to the rest of the team! I have pictures of that sad time. Hang in there…really…you are making great progress.

  23. 25
    Anonymous says:

    When I read the first part of your post where you were feeling hopeless, over the chaos in your daughter's room, my heart just ached for you. I am so glad you found a way past those feelings and found solutions that work for you. You are doing wonderful things, to bless your home.

  24. 26

    Haha!!! My daughter has that exact same stroller from my childhood!!!!

  25. 27
    Orangies Attic says:

    That hutch was a PERFECT idea! I am much the same (slobby) and thankfully my 11 year old daughter seems to not have my disease… we recently re-did her room and it has stayed PRISTINE for months… all her own doing! YEA!

  26. 28
    Tracey Lynne says:

    Very Nice! Love this Sunday Bestie!

  27. 29
    Tara @ Feels Like Home says:

    Yeah! I'm so motivated by your post, Nony. My daughter's room is a huge mess, and let's not get into my room. I think the purging is the key.

    Or it would be if I ever got around to doing it. Gah.

  28. 30
    Miranda says:

    Wow, what a transformation! It must be such a relief. We have one room that continues to get worse and worse. Ever saturday I say that I'll clean it then next week but so far it hasn't happened :::blush:::.

  29. 31

    I have been going backwards for a couple weeks now (when I have spare time) reading your blog for inspiration. When I saw this post and read you got rid of the toy box – I was a bit horrified.

    Perhaps it was because I have *gasp* the same toy box in blue (my mind goes “what a nice Step 2 toy box” LOL). However a decision over the last week or so to move around bedrooms (long story) forced me to finally deal with the toy box. I realized it was taking up precious space in one of our largest closets – and it was also like BRAND NEW because for 10 year or so it was stuffed with unused toys and covered in outgrown clothes. It was really horrible.

    So now that I have unearthed it – I am selling it on Craigslist (hopefully tonight!). What did you end up doing with yours? And thanks again for the inspiration – if not for you I might have just slammed the door and left it in there thinking some things could never change 🙂

  30. 33

    Your blog and how you approach cleaning really inspires me! Thank you and the girl’s room is where I’ll be starting my cleaning/decluttering party next week.

  31. 34

    Despite your insistence that you have a slob brain, I think you’re actually really good at thinking things through and coming up with working solutions. I’m impressed with your ability to analyze a problem and figure out what works for you. Kudos to you on this project.

    • 35

      Thanks! I’ve actually realized that the organizing isn’t the problem as much as the keeping it organized.

      • 36

        Hi Dana,
        I enjoy your blog, your projects and your humor. I think that since a lot of people read your, it would be best if you would encourage people to attach furniture to a wall instead of just recommending they put it somewhere it doesn’t tip over.

  32. 37

    its important to be intentional about what you buy. there are are some classic universal toys and there is junk toys that are nearly impossible to organize. rewarding kids with toys or money to buy toys will spoil organization. its would be cool to think before you get something you would know where to put it–but does anyone do it. limiting the number of toys work. i am not a mom yet but i have seen the amount of emotional energy toys can take up and i know that i have to be intentional. i have a rule of no getting anything the day i see it

  33. 38

    If you have furniture in your house that you think could tip or even if you aren’t thinking it can tip still get and use furniture anti-tip hardware …

  34. 39

    I love your blog and your ideas! One suggestion, though- furniture anchors. They can save lives, seriously, and they’re very inexpensive and fairly easy to install.
    Keep on inspiring us!

  35. 41

    What do I do for my daughter who has a fit when I throw out garbage. Literally. She cried this morning about me throwing away lint. Stuffed animals are big but it gets worse every day. She comes home with more stuff everyday. I can’t win.

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