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.
- most of the melty bead creations
- most of the rainbow loom bracelets
- all of the fast food toys
- things you have just because they were expensive
- 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)
- toys just because they are wooden
- toys just because they are educational
- mostly completed activity books
- ripped out pages of coloring books
- most kids’ art projects that are more than a month or two old
- most birthday cards that are more than a month or two old
- toys you like but your kids don’t
- toys your kids like but you don’t
- single socks
- your favorite pants from before you had babies
- movies you should like but don’t
- books you should read but won’t
- catalogs full of things you can’t afford
- tapes and CDs if you don’t have a player
- scratched DVDs
- plastic storage container bottoms without tops
- plastic storage container tops without bottoms
- participation trophies
- old sports uniforms
- kitchen appliances that only other types of moms use
- anything “fancy” that never gets used
- probably 90% of anything in a storage unit
- incomplete decks of cards
- board games with missing pieces
- those piles of stuff you’re saving for a thing you saw on Pinterest
- old calendars
- restaurant menus
- all those empty jars
- the spare buttons that came with shirts you no longer own
- broken items that you plan to (but probably never will) fix
- art supplies that are too messy to use
- colored pencils that are less than two inches long
- pencils with no erasers
- broken crayons
- cute and/or expensive baby clothing that isn’t functional
- items that may be useful for the next child but will sit years in storage in between
- probably half of your digital photos
- vacuumed up Legos
- canned goods that have been in your pantry for over a year
- picture books you don’t enjoy reading
- shoes you love but don’t wear
- clothes in your closet that still have the tags on them
- equipment for sports in which you do not participate
- 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:
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!