Friday, February 15, 2008

Keeping a Handle on Clutter

Practicing hospitality has an added bonus - "forcing" me to do a thorough cleaning of the kids' bedrooms.

They are responsible for picking up their toys and keeping their rooms (somewhat) tidy - but from time to time I go in there and "really" clean things up. Knowing that someone is coming over in the next day or so gives me the inspiration to do it sooner rather than later.

When I go in and clean things up, means that I also clean some things up permanently. Books or toys that are not being read or played with go into the donation box in the basement. Sometimes I have the kids assist me in this project - sometimes I do it without them knowing.

The Taco Bell kid's meal toy my son rec'd a week ago probably hasn't been touched since it landed on his dresser, upon arriving home the day he got it. I don't bother to ask him if he wants to keep it. He got his money's worth of fun out of it within the first 10 minutes or so of opening it up in TBell. Broken toys, broken crayons and anything else I feel isn't worth keeping - is removed from the room. Almost never have the kids asked about any missing items - which proves my point....whatever that may be.

In his toybox of all places, I found a pair of his sister's gloves that have been missing for some time, a pair of winter mittens and a friend's sock!

My ds has his own collection of books on the topic of America, Frontier Living, Soldiers, War, Weaponry, American Heroes etc. I did ask for his help in determining whether they were to stay or go. A large stack is now in the donation pile. To further encourage his willingness to part with some of his books - I agreed that he could have a bit of money for each book (5 cents) that he got rid of (it was his request). "I'm going to be rich!" he exclaimed. I explained that I did not want him to get rid of stuff just for the $ - that if he really liked a book I wanted him to keep it. Sometimes there was a disagreement on whether a book should be given away - usually he wanted to give it and I wanted to keep it. I of course won every time.

My dd has her door shut, her music on and is cleaning her room herself. I will go in there when she is finished and go through some of her stuff.

Toys and books that have sentimental meaning or were given by someone special, I don't get rid of arbitrarily. Also, dd has a collection of "Littlest Petshop" toys and those stay, for the time. She has paid for a bunch of them herself, and I don't plan on getting rid of any without her consent. Eventually she will tire of them as she gets older and when the time comes, those will be out the door.

When ds wanted to buy ANOTHER Nerf gun and a book on soldiers from the thrift store the other day - I told him he could (using his own "fridge" money) but we'd have to get rid of some other toy and book he already had.

We have a small house and don't like clutter (some of us like it less than others) and don't have room for holding onto things that are not needed or being used or things that have been outgrown.

It feels great to have one room under control...for the moment.