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Shared Bedroom and Personal Space

Our three older children are only a little over a year apart, so they wanted to share a bedroom (even when space allowed them not to). Then we got to the age where it was clear our son needed his own room. The need coincidentally coincided with a time when we did not have a room. That's when we bought our townhouse. The girls still shared a room. A few years in, when we asked what each child would like to make the house more enjoyable for them, our oldest daughter said her own room. We were unable to accommodate this request. However, when I asked why, she said she wanted a place to have some time for herself. That was a request I could make work.

We started with cleaning the girl's room. Clothes were first. We did this Marie Kondo style by pulling everything out and putting the items on our kitchen table so the girls could understand the volume of what they had. Until now, the girls shared clothes as they were the same size and interested in the same style. My oldest daughter had just turned 10. She was starting to develop a style that differed from her sister's, so we also separated clothing between the two girls. The choice to do this now was the right choice. She wanted her space separate from her sister for the first time, so carrying that across all aspects was helpful, even if I could not physically give her space.

The girls touched each article of clothing. Our oldest was growing out of her old fashion choices, so she went first, then passed any unwanted items to our youngest, who kept or thanked them for their time and discarded them. To my surprise, there were only a few items that both girls wanted to keep, so they opted for the middle of the closet to be the shared clothes.

The next step was to physically pull everything out of the room. These girls tend not to put things back when they clean up; they just put things somewhere. For this reason, I've always found the best method to clear out every item and make piles outside their bedroom door. Luckily, this house has a shared landing space at the top of the steps, and in our North Carolina house, it all just came out into the living room. The benefit of this method is, once again, seeing the volume. We had to take a moment after the room was empty to look around and see what we were about to deal with. It's never about guilting the kids about owning too much, but this is their emotion. I just reminded them it's ok to keep the things we love, no matter how much it is. If you use it, or it makes you happy, you should not feel guilty for owning it. We want to let go of the things we don't notice anymore, don't use anymore, or don't even like anymore. Someone else may love this item, and it's great when we can pass our unloved things onto a better home. We may be allowing someone to have items they may not otherwise be able to own. That conversation made them feel good about the project, and we went to work.

We went around the room in categories, touching each item and deciding its fate. Once we finished a category, we found a new home in the bedroom. Stuffed animals were always the most straightforward starting point. They are easy to locate, and the kids could easily decide which ones they had to keep (almost all) and which needed to go (two). We had one stuffed animal net for each girl in the room's corners. We got these on Amazon (click here). 3-4 special ones were allowed to sleep in their bed simultaneously. They could request to rotate those with one in the net, but without a limit, they would all be in bed, and the girls would sleep cramped neck in a pile of stuffed unicorns and dogs. LOL Dolls, craft kits, Chubby Puppies, Hatchimals, Polly Pockets, Boxy Girls, My generation dolls, Mojo? Claw machine squishes. We spent a lot of time sorting into piles that made sense. The girls have a dresser we have always used for toys, so each drawer is a category. Smaller sets can go into shoe box size totes, larger (Hatchimals) into bins, and even larger (LOL Dolls) into under-the-bed storage that the girls can pull out. (Click here). Everything gets labeled. Sometimes I will label with a paint marker or make labels with my Phomemo Printer.

I added some color to the room with these motivation prints I got on Amazon (Click here) and framed them. The girls use file crates zip-tied together as bedside tables, but because of the bunkbeds, these are not bedside, just personal spots for their unique things.

I worked on my daughter's request once our regular room clean out and clean up was complete. She sleeps on the bottom bunk, the logical spot for her mini hideaway. Bunk bed curtains (click here) and fairy lights (click here) made a pretty and cozy space. Before this, we did not let the kids watch tv/play games in their beds. We got her a good pair of headphones and let her know when she did need time to herself; she could use these with her tablet and close herself in for her little oasis. I was glad that this idea did do what she needed. She loved having a space that was her own and was happy with it until she finally got her own room.


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