I’m taking the house back

I thought I had a lot of “stuff” before I had kids… unfortunately, I inherited my mother’s “You can’t throw that away!” gene. Not quite hoarders, but, ya know, mini-hoarders. 
Then I had kids.
Do you know how much stuff kids have? Now I’m drowning in the stuff we already had and easily acquired twice as much kid-stuff. Just before Thanksgiving, we decided to do a big purge so we could actually use our fireplace again. The toys had taken over. Literally. We could barely see our fireplace — it was the best place to put the toys, even though we had a perfectly good finished basement playroom full of toys my kids barely touched anymore. So, not only did we need to figure out which toys were vital to keep and which were ok to donate (or trash) in our family room, but we had to do the same in the basement. It’s amazing how many happy meal toys two children can accumulate over the course of… ok, my youngest is 2 1/2… hmmm. Who has time to go through shit like that?! Once you bring home baby #2, you’re lucky if you can keep up with the daily responsibilities, let alone extra cleaning/organizing?! Right. That’s not how I roll. I managed to successfully ignore it for that long… don’t I get credit for that?
Well, I’m finally to the point where I can let the kids play on their own for awhile and not worry about one of them harming the other, at least not immediately. So my excuses for not keeping up with the snowball effect of toys are dwindling. When the hubs & I woke up one Sunday morning, we were talking about getting a glass door for the fireplace, then we both looked in the general direction of the fireplace and almost cried. The hubs just started making piles. I don’t know if he truly knew what each pile meant immediately, but I think he just wanted to throw it all away. That’s how he rolls. Compromise — 3 piles: keep, trash, donate. We didn’t really tell the kids what we were doing, but they liked the 3 pile game. 
About an hour or so later, we moved the 3 piles to their respective locations, kept art, books, blocks, a few board games & puzzles on the main floor and moved the rest to the basement where we started a bigger trash pile. Why did we keep all this crap?! Ugh. It was frustrating at first, but seeing the finished result was refreshing. (sorry, it was such a random thing that we didn’t snap before/after photos! I’m bummed!) The playroom looked awesome until just after Christmas, when more toys arrived. I should be picking it up with my oldest right now, but here I sit. 
I feel like when I get that burst of energy and desire to organize, I need to go with it, ya know, put that energy to positive use! And once I get started, I can usually keep it up. Yesterday, I got rid of a ton of art that had been piling up on a window-seat. My oldest draws several pictures daily, and they pile up fast. Some I just can’t bring myself to throw away, but I need to simply take more pictures of them and save them on our hard drive instead of stuffing the already full filing cabinet. She’s only 6, do you know how many filing cabinets I’d need if I’d save everything??? I shutter at the thought. Again — no before picture, because it was a random I’m doing this now thing, but here is the after
I’d like to update & organize more things around the house, like update my bathroom and my bedroom — the kids’ rooms have been done for awhile, we just updated their bathroom last year. I’m dying to do mine next, but it’s just the last priority. Seeing how the fireplace turned out gives me more motivation to keep up the organization. And sure, a few random toys have crept up the stairs Hey Mickey, loud & annoying toys that move are supposed to be in the basement! But what can ya do… the toys won’t be around forever. And neither will my children. So, I’ll do what I can to be as organized as I can (when I feel like it, dammit) but I do need to remember this: Kids are only temporary residents in our home. Sure, they come with a hell of a lot of stuff, but the stuff is as temporary as the kids are. 

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  1. Posted January 18, 2011 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

    Hey Kelli. Found you through the Michigan blogger moms group on bloggy mom. I am north of Grand Rapids, enjoying a snow day today! I sure can feel your pain about trying to get and stay organized. It’s a challenge for me too. 🙂 Looking forward to reading more of your blog.

  2. Posted January 19, 2011 at 1:58 am | Permalink

    Sounds like you guys did great work!!

    I’m kinda wondering the same thing! We’re not done reproducing (at least one more in the works…well, will be in the works), so we don’t want to get rid of stuff we’ll end up, possibly using again, but I can so see how stuff piles up! Kids have tons of crap!

  3. Posted January 19, 2011 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

    I hear that! Liam has so many toys that have gazillions of pieces. It’s something we’ll try to keep an eye on when we buy him new stuff–the fewer the pieces, the more likely he is to get it. 🙂

  4. Posted January 19, 2011 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

    Thanks, Ladies! Alissa, we haven’t conquered the small-toy battle yet. The girls are both into Littlest PetShop and Sedona is in love with Strawberry Shortcake… all of which have the tiniest pieces ever! But the plastic Happy Meal toys have a shelf-life of about 2 hours in my house. Funny thing is, since I started trashing the HM toys so quickly, I have yet to hear a whine wondering where they went.

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    Kelli Williams

    Kelli Williams

    Keeping up with 2 little girls, writing assignments, music gigs, the house, laundry, ETC, backwards, wearing ass kicking boots and a smile, without spilling my beer. Ok, ok, so I spill my beer, but my floors have never been more germ-free since I started putting a little alcohol on them. Who needs ammonia...

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