Before school started up this week, I did a major tidy up of the playroom and the desks in the kids’ rooms. We do our twice yearly clean outs during advent and lent, in which we select things we don’t love or use all that often to donate. That’s not what this was. This was me, alone and unsupervised, well past bedtime, getting rid of useless stuff that was cluttering up our counter tops and our lives. 

With seven children living here, five of whom are of independent-craft-doing age, a lot of what didn’t survive the purge was crafts. We do a lot of melty beads. We do a lot of rainbow loom. And, although I appreciate that those and other crafty pastimes keep my children occupied and quiet and enjoying themselves, completed melty bead and rainbow loom projects had created a gentle layer of detritus, covering the surfaces of my home like silt in the hollows of a sunken ship.

And I, ladies and gentlemen . . . I THREW THEM AWAY. Just like that. I threw away the melty bead shapes, and the rainbow loom bracelets, and the completed coloring pages, and the magazine clipping collages, and the popsicle sticks with yarn glued to them. 

The rooms look so much tidier. And, five days later . . . the kids haven’t noticed.

It inspired me to look around at my own stuff. What would *I* not even notice if it was gone? I’ve been on a bit of a tear ever since.

Throwing things away or bagging them up to donate is liberating, but scary. So, in case you need it, I, a certified person on the internet, hereby give you permission to rid yourself of the following fifty items. You’re welcome.

  1. most of the melty bead creations 
  2. most of the rainbow loom bracelets
  3. all of the fast food toys
  4. things you have just because they were expensive
  5. things you have just because they are religious (don’t throw away blessed items. bury them, burn them, or drop them off at a church)
  6. toys just because they are wooden
  7. toys just because they are educational
  8. gifts
  9. mostly completed activity books
  10. ripped out pages of coloring books
  11. most kids’ art projects that are more than a month or two old
  12. most birthday cards that are more than a month or two old
  13. toys you like but your kids don’t
  14. toys your kids like but you don’t
  15. single socks
  16. your favorite pants from before you had babies
  17. movies you should like but don’t
  18. books you should read but won’t
  19. catalogs full of things you can’t afford
  20. tapes and CDs if you don’t have a player
  21. scratched DVDs
  22. plastic storage container bottoms without tops
  23. plastic storage container tops without bottoms
  24. participation trophies
  25. old sports uniforms
  26. kitchen appliances that only other types of moms use
  27. anything “fancy” that never gets used
  28. probably 90% of anything in a storage unit
  29. incomplete decks of cards
  30. board games with missing pieces
  31. those piles of stuff you’re saving for a thing you saw on Pinterest
  32. old calendars
  33. restaurant menus 
  34. all those empty jars
  35. the spare buttons that came with shirts you no longer own
  36. broken items that you plan to (but probably never will) fix
  37. art supplies that are too messy to use
  38. colored pencils that are less than two inches long
  39. pencils with no erasers
  40. broken crayons
  41. cute and/or expensive baby clothing that isn’t functional
  42. items that may be useful for the next child but will sit years in storage in between
  43. probably half of your digital photos
  44. vacuumed up Legos
  45. canned goods that have been in your pantry for over a year
  46. picture books you don’t enjoy reading
  47. shoes you love but don’t wear
  48. clothes in your closet that still have the tags on them
  49. equipment for sports in which you do not participate
  50. outdated and replaced technology

p.s. First week of school in the books. Seven kids, five grades. There was barfing. (But we’re better now.) There were clogged toilets. (Unrelated to, but on the same day as the barfing. Terrific.) There were potty training successes. (One of which was the cause of ANOTHER, separate, clogged toilet incident.) But we did it. And we looked GOOD doing it.

Update: In response to a couple of comments below . . . yes, we homeshool in uniforms! I have found that it cuts down on morning drama over what to wear and saves us time. It also cuts down on my laundry. The kids each have two shirts or dresses and wear them each two days, then play clothes for parkday on Friday. I also happen to think it’s pretty cute. It’s what works for us.

I wrote more about it here:

WHY I HOMESCHOOL LIKE THAT

Also, I asked the kids for suggestions for a name for our school this year, and then they voted on it. By a majority vote we are now the Queen of Heaven Finishing School for Young Ladies (only). The boys were particularly enthusiastic about it.

The original suggestion by the girls was Queen of Heaven Finishing School for Young Ladies and Gentlemen. The boys amended it, then it passed by a vote of 6-5 (the five votes being mine). Both boys and girls were quite happy with the name until it was discovered that the boys would, in fact, still have to do schoolwork. They were shocked. SHOCKED.

Happy weekend everyone!