I opened the Life section of the paper the other day to this headline: “Cute, Creative; Decorators give advice for personalizing kids’ rooms.” Really? Like they are going to need any help making it their own? Now, I will have to admit that the article was really aimed more at younger kids more than teenagers, but it has been my experience that kids put their own distinctive marks on their rooms without any help from the adults, thank you very much.
We moms and grandmothers envision this well-designed, immaculately clean, brightly painted, organized, neat and tidy Better Homes and Gardens fantasy, and what we get is an Escape From New York war zone. Well, that is, if the room in question is the abode of a 17 year-old boy. I realize there are some apprentice OCD children out there whose rooms are award-winning clean. Not at my house. And I’ll admit it, not in my room when I was a teenager, either. But I do remember having cleaning attacks hit me, usually around 11:45 pm on a school night, and I would organize with a vengeance and then not want to rise and shine the next morning.
But I digress.
The 17 year-old in question has taken up residence in his mother’s old room, and I really don’t remember how well she kept house when she lived in it, probably about like he does, and like his Uncle AJ did when he was that age, but it tends to be in a state of disruption more often than not. But when it is clean, like in the top picture, it is all his doing, not mine. And that’s a good thing.
Anyway, back to the article. It talks about storage containers as “overlooked methods of combining function and style.” A nice wicker basket for dirty clothes stays stuffed to overflowing. Book shelves are apparently better for holding shoes than books and things. And conventional storage like a chest of drawers and closets? Those are places to store clothes not worn and things not used; clothes that are worn and things that are used stay out where they are conveniently at hand at all times. Towel racks are merely to decorate the wall, not for holding towels, for heaven’s sake. Bedside tables aren’t for silly things like clocks and lamps, but serve as repositories for numerous dishes, glasses, Dr Pepper cans, and Honey Bun wrappers, which do eventually make their way to the kitchen and wastebasket.
But you know what? That 17 year-old is also responsible for the washing, drying, and ironing, if necessary, of those same clothes that lay in heaps and piles and draped over the chair and bed, and so far he has not gone off to school in dirty clothes, rumpled clothes, or no clothes, so while his organizational skills may need a little work, his attention to clothing and his sense of style are developing nicely, I must say.
He’s a good kid. I am confident that one day it will all come together for him, and then he will fuss at his own 17 year-old over the same messes, a stage of life commonly known as paying for your raising…
Price, Irie. “Cute, Creative,” Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, section B, page 1, September 25, 2011.