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Clear Out the Clutter: The Children’s Rooms

While some of you found your kitchens the hardest to clean out, I found my children’s bedroom the hardest to clean out. Not necessarily because it was overloaded with stuff–though it definitely needed some serious purging!–but because it seems naptime or bedtime is my only time to get much cleaning done. So it took me a week to find an opportunity to work on it when they weren’t sleeping.

Now, I have to tell you something: I was really hesitant to share these pictures with you as I’m afraid I’m going to majorly disappoint pretty much all of you.

I am the farthest thing from an interior decorator that the world has ever seen. And these pictures will give complete credence to that. We don’t have a cutesy children’s room. It’s bare, it’s basic, and it’s well-worn. The walls need to be painted, the blinds are broken, and there’s quite a bit of my children’s “artwork” adorning the walls.

I was feeling embarrassed and wondering what everyone was going to think of me if I posted these pictures when I all of a sudden realized: What am I doing? Who cares what people think? Isn’t that my mantra? I don’t need to please people with my wardrobe or my house–or my children’s bare-bones bedroom. The girls are happy with it, Jesse and I are happy with it and that’s all that matters, right.

So, here are the pictures–as real and as authentic and as homely as they may be…



(I love these closet organizers! I put the girls’ clothes away in them by outfit and it saves so much time and effort in picking out clothes in the morning. Plus, they learned the days of the week from them!)

Wall Art — might not win a prize for the Best Drawing, but I love letting the girls display their creativity on the wall–complete with the massive amounts of tape they use to get the picture to stay on the wall. Priceless!

Clear Out the Clutter Assignment #4

::Go through your children’s rooms (including the closet and dressers) and toys and ruthlessly clear out any and all clutter and unnecessary items you find. Consider passing on extra clothing and toys to friends or donate it to someone in need. Or, add it to your garage sale or consignment sale pile!

::Tally up the approximate amount of items you’re getting rid of and input it into the Items Decluttered Tally Form in order to be entered to win some fun prizes!

Are you blogging about your Clear Out the Clutter accomplishments and progress? If so, leave your direct link to your blog post below (with pictures, if possible!) so we can visit your blog, cheer you on and be inspired!

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  • It may make you feel better to know that my kids room isn’t decorated much either. It has more furniture in it, so it looks more full, but that’s about it. We’ve got just a couple of pictures up on the wall, nothing especially cute or matching, no curtains, no matching bedspreads. Just beds, dressers, some toys and books, basic bedding, etc.

    I don’t think that kids rooms need to be all decked out. I like to add a few pretty or fun elements if possible, simply because I like to have that in my own room (which is also quite simple, with only a few decorations). It just isn’t a priority for us to spend a lot of money and/or time decorating bedrooms. Ours are fairly utilitarian and we think that’s just fine. Kids need a safe, warm, clean and comfortable place to be and nothing more, which is exactly what yours have. So no need to be embarrassed, ok? Not that you care, anyways. 🙂

    And, I LOVE that closet organizer! Did you make it, or did you buy it already set up with the days of the week? I think I will convert ours to include the days and use them the way you are using yours. What a great idea!

    I got to most of our family/school/toy room today and that was enough for me. It’s definitely getting decluttered and I got lots in the garage sale/get rid of boxes! I’ll tackle the bedroom next week hopefully. Thanks for the motivation, though!

    • Crystal says:

      @Stephanie @ Keeper of the Home, You’re kind! Glad to know I’m not alone! 🙂

      We got the organizers at Target. I’m pretty sure it’d be fairly simple to create something like that yourself, though, if you have a regular closet organizer and some basic sewing/craft skills–which I don’t have!

  • Kathy D says:

    I love the quilt on Kathrynne’s bed. And the closet organizer is super cute!

    My daughter’s room is much the same. The walls are painted lavendar but we have black sheets over the windows, major stains on the carpet, crayon and marker on the walls and on a chair. Also most everything is pulled out of the drawers, toy box and bookcase until the next time mommy comes in and helps with the big cleanup.

    Speaking of which, as I go through everything, I’ll come back and comment with how many things we are getting rid of.

    Thanks for being real Crystal 🙂

  • megan says:

    Oh, man….we have a lot farther to go at our house!!! Your house already looked clean! I love it though. Keep up the good work!

  • Julie says:

    Thanks for sharing. I wish my childrens room looked as good as your BEFORE picture!

  • Julia says:

    I agree with Kathy… I love that you’re being real! It reminds me that it’s okay to have a house and a life that isn’t magazine-worthy (although I am a bit envious of your all your neat, de-cluttered space!). 🙂 I can tell just through your blog posts how in love you are with your family, and that means a million times more than any cutesy bedroom or house full of stuff!

  • I have very similar organizers for my daughter’s room (without the days of the week on them). They are great so she can pick out what she wants to wear each day. Also, I don’t have to hang up her outfits when they come out of the wash – they go right in there!

    I have to admit, I go for the adorable, matching comforter, wall-border, paint-color type of look. I get a smile on my face each time I enter my girls’ rooms. They are cute and girly. My son’s room is a camping theme which my husband loves – bear quilt, paw prints on the walls, and a lantern for the light. I did each room on a budget, though, so I didn’t pay and arm and a leg to make them cute. But everyone’s different, so no need to explain or apologize to us!

    • Crystal says:

      @Michele @ Saving Money In Real Life, I actually *like* cute children’s rooms (think an uncluttered Pottery Barn look), I just don’t have a bone in my body that knows how to create them!

      I hope maybe one of my girls has that knack so we can spruce up our bare living quarters a bit someday in the not-too-distant future! 🙂

      • Michelle says:

        I think your daughters’ room looks great as is. Cute comforters, priceless art, comfy beds and adorable organizers! Plus, you keep it so clean. Great work! The only reason I’m giving any suggestions (which of course you can feel free to ignore!) is because you mentioned creating a Pottery Barn look. I just did my daughter’s room on a very tight budget, PB style, using furniture almost identical to yours. My daugher has a nearly identical toddler bed to the one you have, also in white. I painted a thrift store dresser that looks a lot like yours white as well, using spray paint to make it easy, and painted the dresser knobs pink (I just unscrewed them, spray painted them pink and then when they dried screwed them back on). I then picked out a Benjamin Moore paint featured in the Pottery Barn Kids catalog and, using a coupon, bought it, crossed my fingers and put it up on the walls. I went with light pink since my daughter’s bedding is pink and it is her favorite color. Next, I put up a bargain curtain rod with a pink & white gingham valance I bought on sale over my existing blinds. Finally, I found letters for her name at a 70% off sale and put them on the wall over her bed. They were on sale because they were different colors, but I found the variety of pastels worked great with the pink room. After that, I was done–without spending too much time or breaking the budget.

        • Crystal says:

          Can you come redecorate our girls’ room, too?? That sounds beautiful!

          I have promised myself that when we buy our house, I’m going to branch out and try doing something with paint–like, maybe paint a wall something other than white?! I’ll let you all know when I work up the courage!

        • @Michelle,

          Crystal – once you buy your house maybe you could trade services with someone who is good at decorating on a budget?
          I bet there are tons of ladies who would love to do that!

      • Beth says:

        @Crystal, Crystal- I’m right there with you- I am ok with words, but when it comes to visual spatial creativity, I have none!

        For my (3 y.o.) son’s room, we got a quilt for a baby present that we are using on his toddler bed and then found some cute wall clings (think stickers, but without the glue). We bought them inexpensively at on clearance and so now his room has a “theme.” It’s still not pottery barn, but the clings were a lot cheaper than artwork, etc. and didn’t require a lot of creativity on my part.

  • Mom24boyz says:

    I think the rooms look awesome. You are such an inspiration. I always considered myself a minimalist until I met you! Now I find myself purging even more 🙂 I hope you never hesitate on being real in the bloggy world…because that is what people want to relate to …others being real! I posted pics that I did last week of my 11 year old’s room. My other two kids room are much like yours. My two little ones that share have only there beds in the room. However, I confess, we have a playroom where we hide their toys. But I will be purging that over the next few weeks before our garage sale.

    Thanks for being you and being real Crystal…we all love ya!

  • Looks wonderful! Love the day of the week organizer. Definitely going to have to get one of those.
    I wish I had it in me to keep it so simple!! Yes, I do like the cutesy room as well, although it’s not a natural talent either. I have to look at Pottery Barn catalogs etc to get inspiration!! Then try to recreate it within a budget!
    I admit though my girls have too much “stuff” and I am working on that. I’m definitely a work in progress as far as getting rid of things go. But your website and ideas show me how much less chaotic life would be with less things to take up space! Thank you for sharing!

  • Debbie in PA says:

    Clutter? What clutter? LOL! I can honestly say that your kids’ before picture is probably the neatest before picture I have ever seen! Love the organizer, BTW. Very cute and kid-friendly

  • Andrea says:

    My house looks like yours! LOL! No, you’re not alone. And I actually advocate that the kids draw and put their drawings up on the walls as their beaming pride and joy. Of course when there’s no wall space (within their height), they decide which one to bring down (teaches them space constrains as well). I do print out letter size pictures to add to the limited wall space as they love to see the latest pictures. So that’s my ‘decoration’. And I do ‘add to the problem’ by asking if they want more pics and which to bring down. I file my pics up anyway for guest to see when they visit and these pics do act as some sort of backup hard copy. So always a win-win situation IMO. 🙂

  • Christal says:

    I think simplicity is the most awesome way to go in kids rooms, which you clearly do. If everyone is happy with it all the way around, then that is what counts.

    Thanks for posting!

  • Bonnie says:

    Funny, I let my four year old adorn my dining room with her artwork. I haven’t done anything with it, so I figured why not, she loves to. Until my sister came over and commented on how well she had mastered hiding the tape under the pictures. She sweetly replied “No, I didn’t tape them. . .I just glued them up there” You can imagine the look on my face. What a precious little artist she is though!

  • I love the way the picture was taped on. That’s great!

    When we moved into our current house, we painted over all the colored stuff (in some places it was a lot of work, because the previous owners had put newspaper articles up as a border in the boy’s room, with some type of shellac; it was so impossible to remove that we had to retexture the walls!)

    With 6 small children, we have switched rooms around in this house several times. Beds usually stay and just the clothes (and the children!) switch rooms. Sometimes the pictures change rooms, too. Other than that, everything is neutral. We don’t even have bed frames like you do; we just have the metal ones under the box (so no headboards and footboards).

    I didn’t work on my children’s rooms today; I worked on my sewing room and sewing closet. There’s no way I can go as fast as you can! I’m not done yet, but it’s getting better, and I’m excited to be able to get some more sewing done as soon as it’s finished!

  • susan loeffler says:

    Add me to one who loves that you keep it real. I wish that I would be less worried about decorating my home as I am never satisfied with what I do anyway. My mom’s house has always been spotless so I kind of feel inferior when she comes here because we LIVE in our house and have stuff out and leave things around. When I can’t take the stuff out anymore, we clean it up. I have been decluttering little by little. I will be having my second garage sale of the year in a few weeks. I just cleaned out a ton of my clothing that I have not worn in years. I went up a few sizes and well, I don’t work anymore so I don’t need a lot of what I have. I don’t anticipate needing it in the near future either. I like to stick to T shirts all year long.

  • Jenn says:

    I just saw an ad today for a Chase credit card that said something about having the baby’s room PAID OFF before baby arrives. WHAT?!? How crazy is that to *finance* a baby’s room?? Wow.
    I’m not as minimalist as you are when it comes to decorating (in the sense of how much…I spend very little on it tho), but seriously? Who cares if your child’s room has the beautiful art work and trendy paint colors? Your child sure doesn’t! We are so quick to lose focus on what matters (and that’s not our decorations in the nursery!). *stepping off my soap box* 🙂

  • Marlana says:

    I LOVE IT. All my friends are always saying, “We need to do this to the babies room and this.” I occasionally hear rude remarks because I don’t want to adopt their lifestyle. I just love the bare room. Its sooo much easier on my mind!

    • Marlana says:

      @Marlana, Well, except that I would never do the Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday deal. A few years ago I that (always wearing the same thing on the same day of each week…because I was working at the time and couldn’t handle making decisions in the morning). But today I’m too focused on other stuff. But I like it though!

  • Angela says:

    We decorated our kids’ rooms ourselves and they are lovely…but you know what? Our master bedroom looks very similar to yours! And we have no lamps or coffee tables in our family room! I’ve learned you have to do things bit by bit as you can afford and as they matter to you. 😉 I think it’s wonderful to be REAL with your readers. They will respect you for telling it like it is. No guilt in that, Crystal! The important thing – your love for your kids is so conveyed on this blog. THAT’s what matters in the final analysis. 😉

    Anyways, I wanted to thank you for this post! The kids and I spent a good 15-20 minutes picking up the toys today and BOY I realized that if you don’t stay on top of it, they really DO accumulate, don’t they? I had a local charity call recently asking if we had items for donation. I’ll make my goal going through the toys prior to that. Especially those annoying little, broken ones!

  • Tracy says:

    I wish I could embrace simplicity like you do. I try to stay organized, but I just can’t seem to do it. My kids actually beg me to get rid of their toys, but I just can’t let go.

  • Roberta says:

    Well this room looks exactly like my 2 little girls room! I’ve had the same thoughts, but have come to the realization that decorating is NOT my natural talent, so I’ve come to just be happy with the white walls, bent blinds, plain colors, etc.!!

    One thing we’ve used to organize their toys is a “cubby system”. I picked out a milk crate that I could cover up with fabric, my husband built a shelf with 9 cubby spots, and we have the top shelves for books, the other six are for specific toys (music toys, dolls, dress-ups, baby toys, blocks and play kitchen toys). If it doesn’t fit in one of the categories, I have a difficult time allowing it!

  • Tara says:

    I don’t have a ton of stuff on my boy’s walls either ~ but now they have a place for everything and that makes a huge difference!

  • Jillbert says:

    You know, I think some people are born decorators and others just aren’t. I fall in the “aren’t” category. I love the way decorated kids rooms look but seem unable to pull it off. I’ve made a few attempts and do paint (and repaint) regularly as well as move furniture around, etc. but never achieve a “look.” And you know, I never even think about their rooms unless, of course I see beautiful rooms on a blog or elsewhere and then I start to feel inadequate. But most days? I’m fine with their rooms (as long as they are somewhat neat and picked up) and so are my kids. Just wanted to say so you know you’re not the only non-decorator out there……

  • amy says:

    Excellent ideas, Crystal! Thank you!

    Could you consider sharing how many clothing items your children have/need? Ex: how many shirts, shorts, socks, etc? That would be so helpful!

    • Cyndy says:

      @amy, She mentions in another reply to a comment that her daughters have 7-12 outfits per season (2-4 church/dressy and 5-7 everyday).

  • Love the picture of the artwork at the end — looks just like one of many of the walls in my house! And yes, tape is the most coveted of art supplies here in my house, not just because my 3 use it to hang their creations, but because my almost 7 y o son uses it to engineer all sorts of projects. He’s a little MacGyver. 😉

    Thumbs up on your redo! And I empathize with feeling a bit vulnerable sharing those pictures — I’ve had moments of that with blogging, too.


  • Kimberly says:

    love the closet organizers! Where did you find them? Im not gifted with decorating either, but your right, it doesnt matter 🙂 Keep focusing on how God is using you and the gifts you DO have, not ones that you really wish you had. You are amazing; look at all the women you are helping each day!!! 😉
    As far as not being a decorator, I bought a cute quilt from target, and literally tried to copy the exact way it was decorated in the picture!! From furniture placement to wallcolor, its is a pretty close replica! Since I can’t ‘create’ it, I figure why reinvent the wheel- so I duplicate instead 🙂 My daughter has a pink room with pink polka dots. Cute and easy. All I had to do was fill in a created stencil.

  • Zena says:

    I cleaned out my 3 boys’ rooms a few weeks ago. I called AmVets for a pickup (easier than lugging it all to Goodwill) and then purged. I knew I’d feel guilty if they drove all the way over here for a few items, so it made it easier. In the end, I had 15 thrity gallon trash bags of clothes and toys, not to mention a Dora Kitchen and Spiderman chairs. This didn’t include the bags of broken toys and stained clothing that I threw out. I felt so good to do it.

  • Jaclyn says:

    I have had issues with decorating in the past. If you are on a budget yet aren’t too crafty here’s my tip. Find a picture of a room that you like and then hold onto it. As you are thrift/garage sale shopping keep an eye out for things that would go in that room. You’d be suprised b/c sometimes you find things that look just like the pic!

    Your pictures made me realize how much I need to declutter. I have a ton more toys that your kids and I’m 27 (no kids)! My parents never got rid of anything. I think if I sneezed on something they kept it for sentimental value. I’ve got a lot of work to do!!!

  • Ann B says:

    My girls love to tape up their artwork on the walls too.

    I definately need to declutter their room. They have a lot of “junk” that they think they need to keep, so I have to be a little sneaky. I thought I would let them pick some things out to get rid of. I am going to require them to each pick out 5 stuffed animals to give away. They can stand to get rid of more, but it’s a start.

  • Elizabeth S. says:

    I’m so glad you are sharing this with us. It is so easy to get caught up in the I have to haves, and it’s not good enough thinking. I find myself struggling with this often! I’m so encouraged by your attitude. Your girl’s room is just fine. It’s so bright and uncluttered.

    I am really enjoying your posts about keeping the toys and such limited. As a mom to four now I wish I had done that from the start!! We are so over burdened with toys and clutter. I just long to take 3/4’s of it and give it away. It isn’t needed and it creates an attitude in them I don’t like. I want them to value what they have. It’s the time spent with them and memories made that matter not things. You are truly an inspiration Crystal. Thanks for sharing so openly!

  • jennifer says:

    Thank you!!! I have a huge pile in my bedroom to donate as I continue to purge! I also am not a decorator, but I think some of my friends I thought were decorators, just made a habit of buying a whole ‘wall’ at a time from the decorations department! What I did in my boys room ( after plenty of time lamenting not finding the perfect (cheap) dinosaur pic, is buy three tubes of acrylic craft paint and paint (copy) a very simple, kidlike drawing of a dino. They are so pround , everyone oohs and ahhs over it, and it cost me 3$!!

  • Barb says:

    I LOVE those closet organizers. If only I had a bar to hang them on! (Have any creative idea for alternative of the same concept?) I find that my kids have way too many clothes in their dressers! And as for the toys — how to get rid of them all! I’m working on it. Thanks for inspiring us.

  • Courtney says:

    So glad to see we’re not the only ones with plain bedrooms! I am definitely missing the decorator gene and have sometimes felt deficient because of that. Truth is, my husband and I prefer it simple. Every room in our house is painted the same shade of off-white, and we don’t even have any curtains or blinds (we live way out in the country so don’t have to worry about neighbors or passersby snooping in our windows!) .

  • Alicia says:

    Love the organizers.

  • Lee says:

    I have 3 little boys (oldest is 6) squeezed into 1 bedroom. So we have 2 beds, 1 crib, 3 dressers, and a rocking chair in there. Since we don’t have over head lighting 1 dresser holds a lamp, a cd player and sound machine (my oldest needs these to sleep because of sensory issues). Decorations in there room come from 2 sources gifts and home made! For example we have some “wallies” stickers that adorn the walls, all were gifts for birthdays. Also on the ceiling is my sons solar system made of foam balls he made himself. Also for our boys on their 3rd birthday my mother in law buys them a twin bed, and either my mom or I buy them a bedding set they get to pick. So nothing matches! All of the things ont he wall were also gifts. We have a large family and all of them want to buy my kids stuff. But my parents and my mother in law are willing to buy non-toy items for my kids for holidays and birthdays. It helps keep down the toys when nothing else does. Although my kids toy room is still full. I do find that they play with 90% of what they own because I don’t allow (and most listen) people to buy my kids junk or non-educational toys. We also donate and pack up unused items (for the baby to grow into!) before christmas or birthdays.

  • Jamie says:

    I think you are fabulous for your simplicity!

  • Kelly A says:

    I’m curious….what do you do with the clothes your children grow out of? That seems to be my biggest problem. We have no room to keep them in the closet but I don’t want to get rid of them (for use with future children).

  • Janae says:

    My goodness! Are you serious? Crystal, the room is fine. Your girls room look like alot of my neighbors kids rooms including my own and I live in an upper middle class neighborhood. I can take a lesson from you… my girls closet is overun with clothes bought by grandparents I love the simplicity of the closet organizer.

  • Having rooms that are clean (both from dirt and from clutter) is the best cover for lack of magazine-quality design. I feel embarrassed when people come to my house and see my hand-me-down, mismatched furniture and bare walls. But nobody has ever said, “Wow. You should watch more HGTV.” All that I ever hear is “Your house is so clean!”

  • Michelle says:

    Love that clothes organizer. Definitely something we are going to try here. I have 2 boys and 1 girl and my boys could really care less about what they wear so if it’s just laid out for them it’s one less thing I have to think about in the morning.
    My son just started wanting his room decorated (age 6) so he has some stuff on the walls (mostly sports posters and stuff he has made at the home depot free kids building days) but my other two just have blank walls too. I don’t understand the need to spend big $$ on something the kids aren’t going to want once they get old enough to voice an opinion.

  • Mary says:

    I think you are very smart for keeping things simple with regard to decorating your home. I love to see pictures of how simple your home is – I bet you don’t have to pick up anything when you vacuum a room!

    I moved into my home 7 years ago now (I can’t believe it’s been seven years!) and I’m in the process of moving, hopefully to another state as soon as I get a job offer.

    I’m currently selling most of what I own and I’m basically going to take with me just what fits in a van. I am the person that everyone gives family stuff to when someone dies. I have my parent’s 1880’s couch from when my dad got remarried and the new wife didn’t like an antique couch. I have my grandma’s jewelry, including the engraved silhouette charm bracelet of all the grand kids that I’m supposed to hang on to, and the broken strand of pearls that aren’t real. I have the ugly Corelle dishes that we grew up with in a box (I eat out of containers or on paper plates because I had a business for the past five years and I was never home to cook or eat a real meal)…the list goes on and on.

    I went to dinner with my aunt, and while I was venting about people giving me stuff and how much junk is in my house, she handed me the bag with all the old jewelry in it! She gave me all the jewelry because her house is too “cluttered” (go figure…) and she didn’t want to toss it, either. My dad couldn’t donate the Corelle because it was mom’s so I ended up with it, etc. On top of that, I have piles of junk in my garage from his pole barn when they moved to a condo. He also brought me a cat and her four kittens – do you know how fast THOSE multiply???

    In my mind, I live in a home that looks like something out of Pottery Barn. In reality, it’s more like the back room of your local Goodwill.

    I’m in the process of separating myself from all of this “STUFF” in order to start a fresh, more simple, life after running myself ragged for five years trying to run a business and work full time at the same time (think 100 hours a week…) I want to keep the clothing I wear, a few kitchen items, and my tent & canoe. LOL If you’ve read this far, that should tell you just how strange my life currently is! I’m seriously considering camping this summer wherever I end up in order to save some money.

    I know they are well-meaning, but I need for people to stop dropping their unwanted stuff off on me. I think my situation is similar to the grandparents-too-many-toys scenario you’ve been discussing.

    I’m reading that Organizing e-book you mentioned yesterday and that seems like it’s going to help me a lot. Thank you for that! I am a Messie and I need to change to what you are, so please – keep up the inspiring photos!

  • k and b's mom says:

    I have found the easiest way to decorate is to get those removable stickers – princesses, nemo, cars, and there are some non character ones. You can get them at Target and could possibly pay nothing if you use one of those $5 promtional giftcards that they sometimes give you. You could even hang up some homeschooling charts of animals, abc’s, letters, a map, etc. I have read that kids need some sort of stimulation and a plain room may not be giving them what they need – think about how decorated a classroom is – there has to be a reason for that.

  • Homestead says:

    This is for Barb.

    Don’t you love it? She did day-of-the-week tubs from the dollar store. Her whole blog is great.

    I would also suggest either a tension rod or one of those u-shaped cheap towel bars mounted under a shelf…. on the bottom so the u-part goes down…. does that make sense? I mounted one under a shelf (towards the front edge) for clothes hangers in the laundry room. (I also put one inside the cabinet door and slid my pot lids in it… the handle catches and holds it there.)

  • Melissa says:

    I agree that children don’t *need* a lot of toys or a decorated room, but I don’t see anything wrong with enjoying “unnessecary” things sometimes. A picture on a wall is a simple thing in life and if it makes someone happy to have it, then why not?! I am more into “moderation” than bare bones simplicity. I enjoy playing with my children and their toys and make decorating their room a project we all work on together. I value relationships and family more than anything, but having a decorated home just makes me feel good. And that is important too. I say go to the arts and crafts store, buy a canvas and paint and let your children have fun painting a nice big picture for their room! It will be fun, make it look better, and make you feel better! Good luck!

    • Crystal says:

      I agree, there’s nothing wrong with moderation! 🙂

      And I hope to figure out a way to decorate my children’s rooms… maybe I need to have you come over and help? As is obvious, that’s an area I’m a total flop in. 🙂

  • Kendra says:

    Did you make those closet organizer? I love them!

  • Now that we have been in our own home (instead of renting) for a year I am getting around to doing their room – it’s given me time to figure out what I want to do in it, purchase items at rock bottom prices and I have developed a style to their room that will last into their teen years – none of this “kiddy theme” thing that will need to change down the road.

    I was so surprised at what an incredible transformation a bucket of paint made! That alone gave it a “wow” factor (from bare, white walls).
    It’s still a transformation taking place 🙂

    I don’t think there is any reason in the world to be embarrassed about the lack of decor in your girls room. It really doesn’t make any sense in a rental house to put a ton of effort into decorating and painting – which makes me curious if your “bare white walls” will continue when you buy a house?

  • Kelly says:

    I appreciate that you posted pictures – the room looks great!

    I don’t have any kids right now, but I can at least draw from my childhood experience. My parents, older brother, and I moved around a lot when I was young. Before I turned 11, we lived in 7 different homes as my mom and dad found different jobs to provide for us. Funny thing is, I don’t remember what color the walls were in our rooms or how they were decorated. I could have cared less. I remembered the front/backyards though (which all seemed so big as I was so small) and all the things we did outdoors. And I think my favorite house during that time was this very old house with an empty wine cellar with cobwebs, a broken down tree house in the yard, and wood floors that would creek. As we only stayed there for a short amount of time, my brother and I shared a room, our mattresses were placed on the floor, and we lived out of boxes. And we loved it!

  • RACHEL says:

    About the wall art with tape- I used to let my kids do that too- until we ruined some dry wall that way!

    They are waxy little strips that are technically in the toy category- but we use those things for everything! Especially hanging stuff up! (On the fridge-wall-wherever!) We have even used them on a camping trip to get the air pump nozzle to stick to our air mattress… if you have swagbucks- I’d get em’ from Amazon for free and marvel at how versatile those little things are! 🙂


  • E says:

    Thanks for being so authentic! It’s fantastic! One decorating that I love for kid’s rooms is to put up a bunch of clipboards (you can find really cute decorated ones or just plain ones) and then let them change out their artwork on it. It lets them add their personality easily (no tape on the wall) and looks great as the clipboard “frames” their work.

    Here are some pics (I just googled to find them and have no affiliation with the sites):

  • Jessica says:

    I think this is a wonderful testament to how you live your life – less stuff and more love! That’s what we strive for in our house.

  • Audrey says:

    I found a super cute thing at IKEA that looks kind of like a curtain rod with a wire instead of a rod that you hang up on the wall and it has clips on it to clip up art work. It was only $15 and I LOVE being able to display my kids art work and not having to tape things to the walls.

  • Kathy Linklater says:

    I have a 17-year-old boy and a 20-year-old boy. Their room is basic white with no headboards and mismatched storage and an antique wood make-up desk (sorry, I can’t think of they name right now) to hold their TV so they can play video games. There are clothes all over the floor and overflowing their hampers. They are in charge of washing their own clothes, so I just try to ignore the mess. I feel so good that others don’t have decorated rooms for their kids. The carpet is disgusting but I’m don’t plan to change it until they move out–which I don’t think will be for a loooong time. The good news is that we’re not in debt even though I got laid off in July 2009 and my husband has been disabled for 16 years.

  • Suzanne says:

    Crystal, I know you have a ton of comments here already. But, I just have to say that I’m so glad you posted those pictures! My kids’ rooms look about the same way. I’ve never thought it necessary to spend tons of money (or time…don’t enjoy decorating at all) making the kids’ rooms matchey and cute with decorations and themes. Not that there’s anything wrong with doing that, it’s just not my style. It just made me feel a little better, knowing I’m not alone in my thinking! Most of my friends are the opposite. It was so refreshing to see this post!

  • Jen says:

    No need for fancy decorations, but one thing I have found to hang on the walls is maps – the are ususally colorful and definately educational. Ask for them as gifts or get them free from AAA. Any map will do – your state, the country, the world – and be a great reference for roadtrips, vacations, talking to relatives in another state, etc.

  • xela says:

    Thanks for sharing! Your simplicity is inspiring 🙂

    I’m not sure if it’s just me, but when I click on the
    Items Decluttered Tally Form” hyperlink in the daily digest emails, I always get the error “page not found”. Hopefully I’ll be able to find the form by doing a search…

  • Hi. Thanks for the inside tips to how to tell family and friends gently on how not to spend so much as we have far too many toys and schtuff. I have a toy rotation that I use to keep things fresh, and can do this 2-3 times over. I try to do it once a month and it works. By then the boys have forgotten what I had taken away and what is old is new again. Our 2 little boys are only 2.5 and 9 months and we already have this much taking up an entire playroom. Thankfully I am a neat freak and OCD on the organization and the kids have followed in my footsteps so everything has a place so rather than clutter it stay somewhat organized and put together.

    My question was with regards to your children’s closets. It doesn’t appear that they have very many hanging clothes? Do you just fold everything in a dresser or do they just not have a ton of clothes. I seem to have more than enough spilling out of our closets and dressers so was wondering if you just don’t have that many or they just were pictured? Tips for pairing back on the clothing would be appreciated too since in addition to toys the grandparents seem to feel the need to spoil in the clothes department too! 🙂


    • Crystal says:

      Our children have around 7-12 outfits for Spring/Summer and 7-12 outfits for Fall/Winter. Usually around 2-4 church/dress-up outfits and 5-7 everyday outfits.

  • cna training says:

    Great information! I’ve been looking for something like this for a while now. Thanks!

  • Chelsea says:

    I love the pictures!

    Our children’s rooms are exactly the same- each child had one bed and one dresser, and that is it! They play in their rooms a lot, so I don’t want to have to be picking up a bunch of stuff when I need to vaccum or tripping over toys left on the ground. I feel so much more relaxed too, walking into their immaculate rooms and not seeing toys everywhere. I liked it so much that I did the same to our master bedroom- we’re down to one bed, one (shared) chest, and a coat hanger for my purses. It boggles my mind how much I enjoy seeing floor space in our bedrooms 🙂

    As for the decorating thing, I do like to decorate. But when we put our house on the market a few months ago I had to take down everything “personal”, and doing that has opened my eyes to how much junk we had. I miss seeing pictures on the wall of my kids, but removing any unnecessary knick knacks was a great choice and our furniture looks awesome!

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