Dear American Girl,
I'm about to share a bedroom with my little sister—and I don't want to! I love my sister, but she's just so messy, and I like everything to be organized. Does anyone have ideas for keeping things tidy in our room? How can I learn to share a room with my disorganized sis?
-Clean to messy
Here's your advice:
I share a room with three sisters, so I understand where you are coming from. We came up with a solution—a daily chore list. Every day, we take turns doing the jobs. It works!
-Brenna, age 11, Illinois
My sister and I have always shared a room, and we came up with a game called "Record Time." Each of us starts cleaning her half of the room at the same time, and we see who can finish the fastest. Maybe if you make organization fun, your sister will go along with cleaning.
-Adamary, age 13, New York
Sometimes little sisters can be a bit sensitive. Tell your sister about your feelings, but also find a way to make her feel good about having an organized room. Just try keeping a positive attitude about this.
-An American Girl fan, age 11, California
Nicely ask your sister if she will pick up her things when she's finished with them. If she doesn't, talk to your parents about keeping the room clean. If one of your parents talks to her, she might try harder to keep her space clean.
-Grace, age 9, Missouri
Set ground rules early on. If your sister knows your expectations, she might be more likely to keep her side clean. It may take her a little while to become organized, but be patient and enjoy fun times with your sis.
-Shannon, age 12, Rhode Island
My twin sister and I share a bedroom. Even though I'm messy and my sister's not, we've learned to get along. Make sure that there are separate spaces in your room. Divide the closet in half, split the desk into two sections, and even have a bin for each person. Once you know what area's yours and what's not, it'll be easier to share a room.
-Chloe, age 11, Alabama
When my two older sisters and I first started sharing a room, we first decided where our furniture would go (beds, dressers, and so on). Next we picked our boundaries. (I have my own reading corner, and my sisters each have spots for their own jewelry.) Then we got to decorate our areas however we wanted. It helps us stay organized and keep our personalities in our room, too.
-Dana, age 10, California
I share a room with my younger sister, and things can get very cluttered. So I make sure that at least I keep my part of the room clean. That way, it doesn't look as messy.
-Abigail, age 11, North Carolina
If I had to share a room with a messy sister, I would explain to her that keeping our bedroom clean could be a lot of fun. I would say, "When you clean your half of our room, you'll have more space to play games and we can do more activities together."
-Katie, age 9, New York
Instead of angrily telling your sister that you don't want to share a room with her, try to look at it as an awesome experience. Talk about where your things will go and who will do what to keep it clean. Sharing a room with your sis doesn't have to be the end of the world. It could be a way for you two to get closer.
-Mikayla, age 13, California
You and your sister could work out a schedule for keeping your room neat. For example, on Mondays you could organize things on your shelves, on Tuesdays you could clean the closets, and so on. Just make sure that you both clean together. And remember, this is your sister's room, too, so you both need to compromise.
-Lauren, age 12, Bermuda
Your sister might not be aware of how messy she is. Tell her that you'll share some organizing tips with her, and in the meantime, try your best to be patient. She won't keep things perfectly clean right away.
-An American Girl fan, age 9, North Carolina
Get baskets or bins for your sister's things. You could put labels on them, such as "Stuffed Animals" or "Games" (draw pictures if your sister is too young to read). Be sure to praise her when she puts her things away where they should go.
-Jessica, age 13, Canada
Think of sharing a room as a great opportunity. Maybe you will teach your sister how to be more organized.
-Isabel, age 12, Oregon
You could try thinking up new systems for organizing in your room. It might take a while for your sister to change, but if you keep trying, she might get there.
-Camryn, age 11, New York
Have a conversation with your sister about how you want the room to stay clean. Tell her that you're excited about sharing a room with her, but since it's your room, too, you want it to stay clean. Tell her that if she puts her things away, the bedroom will look nice and neat. This way, you can improve your chances to stay friends.
-M.K., age 12, Rhode Island