A lot of STUFF

I freely admit, I am not the greatest housekeeper. But there are things about cleaning that I really don't mind. I like mopping a floor, or scrubbing the bathroom, or vacuuming. I should do all of these more often, but when I do them, they give me a sense of accomplishment, as they are straightforward, easy tasks. Sticky stuff on the floor? Swoosh it with a mop or a wipe, and it's gone. Fingerprints on the faucets? Swish, and the sink is shiny once more. Poop on the toilet? Not my favorite thing, but it's easily taken care of with paper towels and some Clorox clean-up spray. But what do you all do with the STUFF? Today in the laundry room, as I was putting in my laundry soap, I finally paid attention to what else was actually on the shelf with my Gain. I tend to deposit things I find in the washer or dryer or pockets of clothes there, and I decided to actually take a look at what all was up there. I kid you not, I found 3 pens, a Power Ranger sticker, a wheel that somehow fits into a once-cool now broken Spiderman toy, one earring (no mate, of course. The other one is probably half way to China, or some poor fish ate it, thinking it was something special, and died. Some environmentalist will no doubt find this dead fish, slice it open to find out what killed it, find my gold earring, and demand that the people of America stop dumping earrings into the waterways of our country for the poor unsuspecting fish to gobble up. Great. Now I have guilt.), and about 20 cents in change, mostly pennies. Holy guacamole, where does this stuff come from? And more importantly, what am I supposed to do with it? Most of the time, my stuff ends up getting stashed in a decorative basket somewhere in my house, but I'm not sure that's a great solution. So, the stuff isn't really more organized, you just think that it is because it's in a lovely basket instead of spread out all over the floor. But if you ask me what I've got in those baskets, well, I couldn't tell you. I really don't have a clue. And frankly, I'm scared to find out. And of course, since having a child, the Stuff has just accumulated. Must preschool send home 3 or 4 pictures, art projects, projects to complete at home, EVERY DAY? I swear, the decorative art on our fridge is making getting the darned thing open kind of hard, and we even still have a 4 leaf clover on our fridge left over from LAST YEAR because Jacob seems to discover it in the trash every time I have attempted to throw it away, and insists we stick it up there again. Great. I've spawned a pack rat, and a narcissistic one at that. (I'm almost positive that's not how you spell "narcissistic," but I've got to get Jacob to gymnastics in 10 minutes. Cut me some slack, here.) So if you come over to my house any time soon, you are more than welcome. Just pick your way past the paper, the art, the overflowing bookshelves, the toys, you know, the STUFF. Be persistent, keep looking, and don't worry--I think I'm in here somewhere.


Blogger Mrs. M said...

I love Flylady for this reason (www.flylady.com). She gives excellent instructions on how to declutter your house. It's all on getting rid of the junk a little bit at a time. I still have boxes and boxes of things to go through. Check her out.

10/05/2005 11:36:00 AM  
Blogger The Wiz said...

THROW IT AWAY!!!! Apart from the 20 cents in change, you've found nothing of value in your laundry room. (and that 20 cents isn't all that valuable)

Paper from school - 2 solutions:

1- Get a large Rubbermaid and tell Jacob he can keep anything that fits in there. At first, of course, everything will fit, and he can keep it all. As the years go by, and he gets more stuff sent home (which he will), he will have to choose which ones to keep and which ones to lose. Eventually he won't care that he drew a red blob when he was 3. And it's all contained.

2 - Shredder. Shred the stuff you don't want at night after he's asleep. That way, when it's in the trash, he won't know what it is, and won't feel like you don't love him.

Just start tossing, Heather. You can do it.

10/05/2005 11:39:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with the wiz: purge away and feel great doing it! I love to go through my old Rubbermaids and throw away stuff that I haven't looked at since the last time I threw stuff away. Of course, now there's not much left anyway :)
Jamie J

10/05/2005 12:25:00 PM  
Blogger the special one said...

some suggestions that I've heard from other people that have the same problem with their child's artwork. Use the artwork to make cards for the kids grandparents, or wrap presents with it. Use it to "wallpaper" a spot in their room with it, like maybe their closet door. Then when the door or spot is full, let them choose a couple of favorite pictures (you decide what # works for you) and the rest go in the trash. I've heard of people taking pictures of the artwork and making a scrapbook out of it ( which sounds way to time consuming for me, but hey if you're into that..) As for the other stuff in your house, I've found that it's alot easier to throw out stuff that isn't mine, like DH's stuff, so maybe you could have a friend come over and throw it out for you.. :)

10/05/2005 03:33:00 PM  
Anonymous JKS said...

I have a box that I put all of one child's schoolpapers and school art/home art for a whole year. Easy, no need to look through and decide to toss or keep. At the end of the school year I look through and pick out the nicest stuff to put in their expandable folder of stuff to keep. It IS fun to have the numbers they wrote at age 3, or that really cool ship they drew at age 5 or the love letter they wrote to me. I then put the name & age on the back of about 10 things and toss the rest.
It is WAY to hard to sort through the papers on a daily basis and file away the good stuff. And you will more likely know what to keep if you've got a years worth in front of you. I saved the "My Weekend" journal types of papers that were in the box for my 1st grader, for instance.
No hurt feelings this way, since they aren't finding their stuff in the garbage anymore.

10/05/2005 04:03:00 PM  
Blogger Yogi-girl said...

I hate throwing away my kid's school work. I started collecting it in 3-ring binders (one mega binder for each school year). But, we have been moving often lately and it's a pain to carry it all around. (Our 3 yo has had 4 homes so far.) I've begun considering a lighter lifestyle... I've started by taking a photo of the less significant paperwork. (The textured artwork & other touchables I still binder-ize). I put one CD of school work photos in the front of each binder.

So far, it has made us about 50 lbs lighter. Seriously. 50 lbs of school work papers and I had already tossed so much.

I don't recommend just throwing it all away. I was able to use some papers that my son wrote in 1st grade to prove that his penmanship hadn't improved one whit between 1st and 5th. It helped me get him some much needed tutoring. You'd be surprised how helpful & fun those old memories can be.

As far as the non-school work stuff. Toss it. Think of it as your house losing weight. At one point, our household goods weighed 28,000 lbs. We're now down to a slim & trim 7,000 lbs. Feels great!

10/05/2005 04:43:00 PM  
Blogger annegb said...

I am 55 years old and I have just learned something: When you are cleaning, the garbage can is your best friend.

I have the hardest time throwing things out.

Yesterday I threw out a ceramic thing that my daughter made which has no artistic value whatsoever and looks awful in my house. I have about 10 of them. I threw out one. It hurt, but I still remember my daughter. :)

10/06/2005 03:45:00 AM  

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