Saturday, March 22, 2014

Spring cleaning

With it being spring, and with our move coming up in a couple months, it is time for a serious purge in this household.  Over the past few weeks we've been tackling different areas of the house and rounding up items we no longer need or want: some to donate, some to throw away, some to sell.  Master closet: done (AGAIN.  We clean and organize the master closet at least twice a year and I can't believe how much stuff is in there every time.)  Junk cupboard, which is our version of a junk drawer: done.  My side of the bathroom vanity: done.  Attic storage: toy portion done.  Playroom: done.  Laundry room shelves: done.  We've posted several things on Craigslist and have already sold a few.  The water table was the first thing to go, followed soon after by the Little Tikes play house.  The Step 2 art table will be leaving us today.  It's great to be de-cluttering, and letting go of the things that don't serve a purpose here anymore.  If there's something that's not being used, or if we have way too many of something, or if things have too many parts that are being scattered to the four corners of this house -- time to pare it all down.  It is so refreshing.  It's nice to have a little extra cash too, for things.
Annie in the play house in 2010
But it's not so simple this time around to be selling kids' things, because we can't hide it from them.  People come to pick things up in the daylight hours, and they always want to know who's coming and why.  Tim says we shouldn't even try to hide what we're doing.  They have to know that we can not keep everything we acquire forever.  If we kept everything we would be in wall to wall stuff.  There is always another birthday or a Christmas and we have to make room for the new.  I try to not let my guilt show and just explain to them matter-of-factly that yes, we are getting rid of the ____ because it is not being used/played with/whatever else.  I like having some organization and being able to see the floor.  It would also be nice to get to the new place and not have to unwrap a million little things from boxes and say, 'Why do we even have that?' like last time. But it kills me.

Delaney acts as if we're selling off a part of her every time we sell something.  She just cried when she found out that the art desk with the little red stools was going away, and I really felt like poop.  I have tried to explain to her the importance of donating or selling the things you don't need or use anymore because it frees up space in your house, some other kid will play with it because you don't anymore, and we won't end up buried alive in our own stuff, blah, blah.  But I know I'm wasting my time.  She can't possibly understand that yet.  Nor can she understand how hard this is for me too.

Take the little art desk and red stools.  The desk was used only once or twice for its intended purpose -- probably in Quantico when we had it in our living spaces.  But once we moved here, we put it in the playroom where it has served as a giant paperweight ever since.  As a result it is in almost new condition even though it's five years old.  The kids do their art projects at the kitchen table.  I wouldn't dream of letting them take crayons and glue up to the playroom.  But those little red stools on the other hand..  They have been all over this house, and boosted three little people up to countertops, and supported  them as they reached for things in closets and on high shelves.  At first we thought we'd try to sell the desk without the stools because it's tough to part with something that has borne the feet of our children on a daily basis the past few years.  But we quickly figured out that nobody would want to buy the desk without the little red stools.  It makes no sense to hang onto them.  They don't even make the best step stools anyway.  They're too light and the surface isn't that wide, and they don't grip the floor the way a regular old Rubbermaid stool will.  But they're perfect for little feet.  I'm sure it sounded very callous to Delaney when I said, "Those are some pretty expensive stepstools we've been sitting on all this time."  I want her to know that I do care, that it pains me to see the stools go.
I see people buying and selling things all the time.  I know women who have bought/sold/traded all manner of baby and kid gear items.  One thing works for awhile and then it doesn't, so you sell one thing and buy another.  It's so practical.  But I wonder if it ever hurts to do it.  Right before Timmy was born I sold the little bassinet that I had used for Delaney and Annie as newborns, so I could buy a co-sleeper.  When I unfolded the bassinet and set it up to take a picture, it still smelled like Pampers.  Oh, my heart!  There are memories attached to every last thing I own, and there's always a reason to keep every single thing.  What a first world problem this is.  We have an overabundance of nice things, and it has always made me so happy to be able to give them something I think they'd enjoy, or to see them receive something from a loved one or a friend.  We have always been so blessed.  But I try not to become overly attached to things, because that's what they are, just things.  The kids don't seem to be overly attached to things either.  They abandon their best toys in favor of dirt and rocks.  But I know how Delaney feels to see something go away.  It's so final and you can't help but be sad.

A few hours have gone by since I started this post.  A man came for the little art desk and stools.  Delaney seems to be in good spirits again, and she's never one to hold a grudge.  But I hated to see her tears earlier.  I hope that she doesn't wind up on an episode of Hoarders 25 years from now as a result of her ruthlessly de-cluttering parents.

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