The Great Purge of 2010 can only be summed up in these words: Chaos.
I confess that organization, in the way the rest of the world seems to see it, and I don't see eye to eye. I'm a self-professed paper junkie, yet I can find most things I need very quickly. I have three layers of stuff in my home: The stuff the kids have drug everywhere. The stuff I'm trying to keep out of their hands. And the stuff I've moved once I realized that the kids have grown yet again.
But the last few weeks, I have reached a breaking point. Despite my wanting to hold the line on stuff in our home, it's built up. And my goal for this spring is to return my home to a more manageable state.
It's no easy task. Deep cleaning - with a college-student husband, a crazy workload, nagging illnesses and two kids under the age of 5 - hasn't left me much time or energy to do so. And past experiences with trying to de-junk have left my home with a line-up of boxes of donations, each with a different home in mind.
But I figured I'd start up with a few easy wins.
1. The kids' clothes. While I've been blessed with ample hand-me-downs to get my family through our rough waters, at times I've been too blessed. Like this Christmas, I was able to give away three bulk diaper-size boxes filled with clothes my son's then-size - simply because we had too much. And those times we were actually on top of the laundry, we still struggled to close the dresser. So my plan has been to not only weed out out-of-season clothes for the used kids shops and donations, but also track how many clothing items of a particular size and style I've got stored in the future. Anything over a specific number goes, no matter how pristine of condition they're in. I think any kid can happily live without more than a weeks' worth of jeans, even if we're potty training!
2. Holiday decorations. While my mother-in-law can happily live with decorations for every season, I'm feeling the space pinch. So I've relegated myself to Christmas items, and a small boxful of Easter and Halloween decorations. The rest I've donated to a group that helps domestic violence re-establish their homes, and they've happily used the decorations to inject a little holiday spirit into their clients' lives.
3. Shoes. Now, I'm not a shoe junkie by any means, but my children grow through them like crazy. I took a few no longer worn pair and sent them to a group that gives them to people in need. Sure beat putting them in the trash.
4. Home items. I'm slowly tackling the kitchen space as well. My current project? Pulling together unused household items for Catholic Charities, which is anticipating an increase of refugees coming into Indianapolis. While a few extra sets of toddler silverware, extra glasses and baby blankets may seem like random things, it will still help out our future neighbors in need.
5. Toys. Perhaps this one shouldn't be on the easy win list. After all, we're threatening another visit from the Clean-Up Fairy. But I've been able to sneak a few items away for donations, and we were able to tearlessly part with a few at Christmas. Others that I know they've outgrown but aren't quite ready to part with have gone to their babysitter's house, where they can still enjoy them. And those pesky junky toys that they got at parties or Grandma's Happy Meals? They're happily waiting in a plastic bag in the closet to be "regifted" to trick-or-treaters this fall.
So I've made some progress, though at an initial glance it may not seem like it. What works for you in cleaning out your home? Any great tricks to share?