Dear American Girl,
I love playing with my little sister in my room, but most of the time, she gets into my stuff and makes a huge mess! I try to keep things clean, but she just messes everything up again. Is there a way to little-sister-proof my room and keep things organized?
-Big sis, big mess
Here's your advice:
Label plastic bins to help keep your room organized. Then, when your sister comes in to play, you both can quickly toss toys or other items into the bins.
-An American Girl fan, age 10, Colorado
Your sister might not understand how much the messiness bothers you. Find a few minutes to tell her that you would appreciate it if she helped clean up after you're done playing.
-Virginia, age 12, Ohio
Put breakable or hands-off items up high, such as on top of a bookshelf or on a shelf in your closet. That way, your sis won't be able to reach them.
-Lily, age 10, Kentucky
I have this same problem when my little cousins come over. The next time you and your sister are hanging out, make sure she picks up the toy or game she already has out before she plays with something new. This has worked for me.
-Lexy, age 11, West Virginia
Bring a few favorite games and toys to a different room in your house. That way, you can still enjoy playing with your little sister, and she can't mess up your room.
-Kathryn, age 12, Kentucky
Before your sister comes into your room to play, pull out toys and other items that you don't mind her using. Then, when she comes in, explain that she can play only with those things.
-Margo, age 10, Tennessee
After you're done playing in your room, set a timer to see how fast you and your sister can clean up the mess. She will probably love this "game," and you'll have a helper, too.
-Lindy Rose, age 13, New York
This sounds like a great opportunity to teach your sister something new and important. Show her how you clean up your things and then ask her to do the same.
-Carly, age 11, Alabama
Every time there's a huge mess in your room, turn on some fun music and dance around with your sis while you clean up. It's a great way to continue to play while you straighten up.
-Shannon, age 10, Illinois
Think of some ground rules to set with your sister. For example, if your sister helps clean up the mess, you'll watch her favorite TV show with her.
-Hannah, age 11, North Carolina
Tell your little sister that if she can play in your room only if she promises to clean up the messes she makes. Be kind but firm.
-Katarina, age 10, Michigan
You could make a special corner in your room for just you and your sister to play in. Place stuffed animals, toys she likes to play with, and games that aren't messy in this spot. I'm sure your sister will love it.
-Caitlynn, age 9, Massachusetts
Occasionally, ask your sister if you two can play in her room. It'll give you a break from having a messy bedroom. After you're done playing, help her clean up so that she'll have a good example to follow.
-Emily, age 10, Florida
Make a box of things that you and your little sister can play with in your room. She can easily put things back into the box without making a mess of your other things.
-Katherine, age 13, New Jersey
The truth is, sometimes little ones can't control themselves very well when it comes to toys and valuables. Before your sister comes to your room, hide the things that you don't want her to play with. Put important or breakable items in drawers or hidden bins and leave out only "sister-safe" toys.
-Katie, age 10, New Jersey
Your little sister is just trying to have fun and might not understand what she's doing wrong. Talk to your sis and tell her how you feel. Whenever she comes into your room, kindly tell her which items are off-limits. If nothing works, bring up the problem with your parents. Remember, no matter what your sister does, she loves you.
-An American Girl fan, age 13, Colorado