After realizing that our 9 & 4 year old had too much stuff in their room to be able to put things away properly, we finally broke down and did a thorough cleaning/decluttering last night. The 4 year old is just a plain ol' messy, but our 9 year old has joined the rest of us as a genetic packrat.
Tony & I have known each other since I was 16 and he was 18. We got married 3 years later. We've moved 8 times in 15 years. And we've got too much STUFF! Many times as we've been packing to move, we've pondered why we've kept something, but then just went ahead and threw it in a box anyway. UGH! We've thought about starting our own support group – Packrats Anonymous. “Hi my name is Nancy and I never throw anything away.” Now we realize that it's not just us. It's our boys too.
We staged an intervention last night in the room across the hall. It was difficult, but done in love. Hours were spent in that room. Some things had to be thrown away because parts were lost. I HATE that the worst. I can typically remember what each one of them cost and SO want to believe that we'll be able to find the other pieces and play with it again. Nonetheless for the sake of more space/less clutter, I let things be thrown away.
Then we came across great toys. Toys that we've bought, toys that the boys have been given as gifts. But they aren't being played with. (Probably because they were covered up with stuff.) Do we keep them now that the room is more organized? NO! We decided to bless some other child (who might not have as great of a selection) with those wonderful toys that were bought with love. Oh it was hard to let go, but we did ok.
Finally we got to the closet. The dreaded closet. The closet where things are crammed and then fall in the floor and can't be found, but we know that they are in there somewhere. Sitting nice and neatly on the top shelf was a whole row of stuffed animals. Mostly animals that have been given to the boys over the years. Really cute, cuddly, fun things. But truthfully things that don't get played with or enjoyed like they should. I took a deep breath, “Tony quick get a bag, I'm ready to give them away.” Oh, that was so tough. Why is it that there are memories tied to each and every one of them?! But that was what I realized. If I tried to keep everything that was attached to a memory, I wouldn't be able to get rid of anything. So we did keep a few (I couldn't go cold turkey ya know) and then just held on to the memories as they were packed away for donation.
Off they went for donation at our local Goodwill with a prayer that they would all find loving new homes and bless another family. We haven't officially come up with a 12 step process for our Packrats Anonymous group, but hopefully I'm down to at least step 6 or so.
The boys are happily playing in their room. No one is grieving over any toys that we donated. And maybe I'm strong enough to tackle another room.