How To Organize A Boy for Life
I am the proud mama of a whirling dervish who collects marbles, Legos and dust bunnies. His room is scattered with bits of this and scraps of that, and when I need the hammer, screwdriver or cordless drill — tools that normally remain in my household toolbox — I usually find them in my son’s room. Except I can’t. I have to ask him if he knows where they are. Usually, he can quickly produce my missing whatsit from under a pile of important stuff.
Boys have toys. Boys have tools and parts and pieces that consume their every waking moments. In my experience, albeit limited to nine years, boys can be corralled with something as simple as discarded tire stems (collected at the tire shop while patiently waiting for a repair) to a rock they discovered on the walk from porch to parking lot. Boys will spend hours constructing a tower out of wooden blocks. They thrill to a snap circuit that causes a tiny bulb to glow bright. They create tunnels and highways out of cardboard, and they snuggle into their self-made fortresses to write secret codes and extravagant adventures. When they emerge from their hidey-holes it’s always with new adventures in mind.
Boys are doers and doers need … tools, apparently. You can fight the inevitable and make life miserable for both of you, or you can give in and let your son be the keeper of the household tools. He needs to learn to be handy anyway, and a good handyman knows his way around a level, wrench and survival knife. Allow him to keep a BB gun and hatchet in his room? That’s up to you.
I don’t know how to get a boy to pick up his dirty socks and scattered articles of clothing [without nagging or going ballistic every. single. day!], but the secret to his other stuff is simple. You need:
- Peg board
- Peg board hangers
- Workbench (an old desk will do!)
- Wood 1″ x 2″ strips, cut to size
- Screws and anchors
- Screws and washers
A 4′ x 4′ sheet of peg board can be had at your local hardware for under $10. And while you’re there, get a peg board hanger kit, too. They come in all sizes and price points. This Wire Basket Set and 43-piece Pegboard Organizer Kit are ideal for various items. If you don’t have space for such a big work space, ask the folks at the hardware store to cut the peg board in two. Problem solved!
To attach the peg board to a wall, you first need to construct a frame of the same size using the wood strips.
- Attach the wood strips to the wall using the screws and anchors, if necessary. You will need four strips of wood, cut to length to make a frame the same width and length of your peg board.
- Mount the peg board to the wood frame using screws and washers. The washer keep the screws from pushing through the peg board material. Use as many screws as you feel necessary, spaced around the perimeter.
- Add hooks and hangers for storage — or better yet, let your son do it!
Then add a workbench of some sort — an old desk, table, heck — two sawhorses and a sheet of plywood would probably have him tickled pink (though perhaps not so much for home decorators!).
Boys are going places, see. Sitting still is against their very natures, though I’ve witnessed the zombie-like effects of TV time. (Let’s not go there!) Boys want and need to do simply amazing and fascinating tasks like pounding nails into boards or drilling holes into pieces of firewood or removing door knobs (just to see how it’s done, of course).
I’m hopeful the fostering of a love for tools and parts and pieces will some day bless my future daughter-in-law, if there is one. If not, I suppose he can live with me all the days of my life … as long as he fixes things and works hard and makes himself useful around my house. This mama’s boy isn’t getting a free ride to anywhere if she can help it. He will, however, have an appreciation for tools and their safe-keeping. Hmm. If only it worked the same way for socks and gloves and filthy jeans and barn boots and … yeah. I’m dreamin’ now.
I am a writer, blogger, wife and homeschooling mother of three. I love wide open spaces, cooking, gardening, decorating, travel, vintage treasures, sunshine on my shoulders, and bare feet.