Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Cleaning with the help of your digital camera...

I know many of you are participating in Momstheword's Summer Cleaning Frenzy and, while I'm not joining the frenzy, I still wanted to come to the party, so I thought I'd share one of my favorite tips with you.

How many times have you had this conversation with your children?

You say, "Honey, go clean your room please."

Child says, "I did it already."

You say, "Okay, you know I'm going to check it, right? You're sure you cleaned it up, right?"

Child says, "Yes, Mommy, it is cleaned up."

You check and it is not cleaned up. They insist they didn't see all of those things that are glaringly obvious to you. You get frustrated, they get frustrated and it never seems to change.

Did you know you can use your digital camera to help end the constant battles about "cleaning your room"? Seriously. Think about it, photos show everything! They show that you didn't vacuum when you got that awesome picture of cat doing some weird thing, or the group of kids being goofy; they show that you hadn't cleaned your counters off before carving pumpkins...basically, everything you skim over shows up in pictures. So, why not use that? That is exactly what I decided to do.

After battling for the umpteenth time with my children regarding what constitutes a clean room, it occurred to me that they just didn't see their rooms with a critical eye, so when they would tell me they'd cleaned it up, they truly meant it. They didn't see the stuff they left out, because their rooms are filled with things they love, have un-finished activities, piles of stuff waiting for them to come play with. How could I get them to see the things I was seeing, without coming in and nitpicking and bullying to get the job done? (Here is where the inspiration comes in!) Thinking of how often I'd seen "clutter" ruin otherwise good pictures, the next time they insisted their rooms were clean, I had them take pictures of each of their rooms and we put them up on the monitor. Shazam! It worked like a picture on the monitor, they could see their rooms the way parents do, the way their friends do, and realized that what they saw and what we all saw was completely different. All the little stuff they would leave on the floor when I asked them clean up was clearly evident in the photos. They didn't need me to say anything. They could see it for themselves. They were actually eager to clean their rooms to match their internal visions and were very eager to do before and afters. When they were done, we took more pictures and they got to compare the before and after and really "got" it.

I am not certain you can clearly see in the before and after of Valiant's room, but the floor is clean in the after, the bed is made deliberately, and the clutter has been disposed of.

So, use your camera to help you get things cleaned up. You can also use my favorite trick for decorating. Take a picture to see if you like the decor or furniture arrangement in the picture. What you might describe as homey could, in real life, turn out to be just plan messy. Conversely, what you might think is not enough might turn out to be just right! And furniture arrangement that has you stymied might become clear in a photo. (The third picture? That was after I decided the room would flow better if I switched the dresser and the desk. I was feels much bigger now. Oh, and it has his new duvet cover!)

The greatest thing about this trick? You don't have to print the pictures...when you're done...hit "delete"!


♥RocĂ­o♥ said...

♥♥♥ Have a ☺HAPPY☺ WEDday!!♥♥♥

Alicia, The Snowflake said...

OH what a great idea! You're so creative my friend!

Lynn said...

This is a super idea. And how wonderful that it really worked!!

Melissa Henning said...

what a great idea! this will help me to help my hubby to clean. He moves stuff around, and I can just bust out a before photo and say "honey, make it look like this" lolol. Awesome!

Lorrie said...

This is a great idea. Oh wow....I'm going to take photos today...This is genius! Would it be dishonoring if I did it for my dear hubby too?

Tootsie said...

I took before photos and emailed them to my kids...along with ...clean it up...or pack!

momstheword said...

What a great idea! I love this! I think even we grownups could benefit from doing this. It's much more fun than walking around and writing everything down!

CaliGirl said...

You know...about 5 years ago (or so...who the heck knows!), you came to my house and helped me (re)arrange my living room (remember?). I couldn't figure out how to do it, but I had this awesome picture of an Ethan Allen living room I just loved. I had the TV at an angle in the corner and the loveseat on one wall and the sofa on the other wall. Couldn't even see the TV from the sofa. When you said, "Let's try the sofa over here," and put it hanging out by itself not up against a wall, I thought, "This will never work." Then, we got the small table from the game room and put it next to the sofa so it was the first thing you saw when you walked in, but wasn't overpowering the sofa. Then, we put the TV where the sofa had been. The set up was amazing, cuz the first thing you really notice now is the fireplace and vaulted ceilings. I have NEVER changed the arrangement. And I used to rearrange furniture all the time! You're still working your magic with Valiant's looks great!
PS - so whenever you're ready for a return trip to So Cal, you know who to call!