when kids grow up – organizing and updating


Liz Jenkins


When kids get older – the cute pink & white scheme with the flowers can seem too “baby-ish” for them and most will want a change. This is an awesome time to give them the opportunity to not only get a more “grown up” room but to organize! This little girls room just went from cute to stylish, while we purged 3 garbage bags full of junk (you know – the plastic party favors, the single socks, the puzzles with missing pieces, the broken art projects), donated 3 boxes of books to her elementary school library, re-homed the pink rug on freecycle.org, and gave away 2 boxes of toys, puzzles and games that she’d outgrown.

The best way to do this is to bite the bullet and just remove everything from the room. All we left was the furniture to be painted which we moved to the middle of the room set on plastic, so the walls and trim could be prepped and painted while we painted the furniture.

This kid’s original request was to paint the room BLACK, of all colors. Now, I guess I could understand this if she was 14 and into goth. But, she’s 7 and we weren’t going to go there quite yet. So we compromised on painting the furniture black, and she picked Cosmos blue from Sherwin Williams for the walls. I went with the Duration Home for the coverage and the low VOC. We used Sherwin Williams All Surface Enamel (Acrylic Latex) in Low Sheen Satin Black. This stuff goes on great although you have to work fast. The furniture looks like it was sprayed professionally but we did it with a brush.

While the painting was going on, we sorted through all of her possessions. It’s amazing how much one child can collect in such a short period of time. We proceeded in an orderly fashion, going through the books (thumbs up or thumbs down), the games & toys (same thing), and then, when she wasn’t around (sneaky, I know) ditched the JUNK. It can be hard, sometimes, to get kids to let go of things, but the request for the room makeover came from her so it was a great incentive. We focused on how the room was going to look and be used when it was finished as a way to make decisions. The thumbs up/thumbs down works really well with kids of this age – don’t actually let them put their hands on things or it will never leave your house. Hold up each item and let them make the decision verbally. This works well for grown ups, too, that have a hard time letting go (just an fyi).

After sorting and purging, this grown up girl assisted with the painting, the placement of where she wanted her stuff and how she wanted to use the closet and drawers. Putting everything back in the room was a breeze, since we only had the things we wanted left to deal with. With guidance from me, she now has a room she loves that is also functional, organized, squeaky clean and really cute.

Desk close up:

Note the wall mounted bins (1 for markers, 1 for pens/pencils, 1 for glue sticks & scissors) plus the large bin for workbooks. The white bin to the left holds drawing paper and an art set. The pictures at the left are on a magnet strip, and there are two small corner shelves holding some of her precious things. Below left is a garbage can and air purifier, and to the right are Polly Pockets and her vintage chair from when she was little. The drawers hold additional art supplies, her cd’s, and school supplies. This desk works really well for her – it’s a vintage piece that with the fresh black paint, looks brand new. The chair is from the unfinished furniture store. The bins are from Target – they used to be pink – now they are black and really stand out on the blue wall. The mirror to the right used to be white. It’s amazing what paint can do!