Sometimes I look around my house and wonder if we will soon star in our own episode of “Hoarders.” Perhaps I should just ambush my friends with kids to see if their houses look the same when they are not expecting company and have not taken the entire day to tidy and prepare the house for dinner guests.
I have read so much about the role of simplifying in improving our quality of life, and believe me, I am totally onboard with the concept, but I just can’t seem to convince my children that putting their stuff away will make life better.
“But, Mummy, we are still PLAYING with that. We have it all set up the way we want it and you can’t put it away or we have to start all over tomorrow!”
It is really hard to argue with that logic. Plus I don’t want my children to remember me as a mom who cleaned up their toys while they were still playing with them. But really, is this not an environment that it would be tough to play in? There’s barely room to sit.
Anyhow, this is why I am joining in Simple Mom’s de-cluttering mission this month. The challenge is to tackle a different area of the house every week and blast the clutter with a ray gun. Oh, wait, that is not QUITE true. Actually it is to declutter, clean and organize…does that not sound supremely house-wifey?? I can deal with that. It is also a terrific project to involve the whole family in. (Insert doubtful snort here.)
I don’t know if every family has this problem but it seems like the children and their endless array of stuff is taking over our house in increments. They have a playroom, and they each have a bedroom. Yet their bath toys are all over our master bath. And puzzles and games fill every storage cupboard in the living room, while Lego-ville slowly grows into the middle of the floor. And then there is the craft table. I love the kids’ craft table, I really do. BUT..it all spirals out of control so quickly. And art projects just keep happening.
It is so important to have spaces in the house where the eyes can “rest.” For me, that means a space that has everything in its proper place, that has empty space, that looks simple and appealing. A place where you can rest your eyes without your brain spinning off into overload about all the things that you must accomplish at any given moment of the week. We have a few spots that are totally off-limits to clutter-stuff, like the landing in our upstairs hall and our own bedroom. I can sleep better knowing there is no laundry basket full of clothes or elaborate Playmobil scene on the floor waiting to trip me if I happen to stumble out of bed in the dark.
The stuff of childhood is perhaps the toughest to tackle, because of course the girls LOVE every single item they have. But really, do we need any more plastic fast-food toys? Yes, we occasionally have fast food. I admit it.
The baby toys are finally put away or given away. That is when the arrival of a new baby to friends comes in very handy indeed, as we can persuade the girls that the new baby really would love to have some of their toys they have outgrown.
For some reason clothes are also tough. I buy lots of clothes at second-hand shops, and those tend to be the girls’ absolute favourite fashions. They don’t always want to give things up even when they are too small, or even if they never, ever wear a particular item, like a pair of orange velour pants, for example. So I will have to sneak into their dressers for a good purge when they are busy with other things. There is nothing more satisfying than a good purge, even if it must be done on the sly.
So, look out kids’ stuff…we are coming after you. We will de-clutter, clean and organize, and on Friday, I will share the after photographs to prove that it got done, even if just to ourselves. After all, it may not last.
Do you have any tips on corralling children’s toys and gear that you can share? I would LOVE to hear them.