Tuesday, December 28, 2010

clean sweep!

I have a dream. 

I have a dream that some day my house will be clutter-free.  That my children's toys will magically find their proper home, as opposed to the random and often times annoying places that they are neglected (i.e. those damn green army guys camouflaged on the carpet...I've stepped on at least three of them recently).  I have a dream that those random little kid's meal toys will stop multiplying when I'm not looking, so that when I throw them into the trash, that is where they remain, never to be seen again.  In this dream, the kids will know how to properly sort their toys and will keep them in that orderly fashion when they have finished playing.  They will have about a fourth of the toys that they have now...and be doubly content.  I have a dream that I will be able to look around my house with a satisfaction that, yes, I am a well-organized mommy with a home that doesn't resemble a day-after-free-for-all-shopping-spree-at-toys-R-us.  *sigh*...what a great dream.

<Snap> back into reality as I look around the house and see toys.  Not just toys.  But tons.of.toys.  There are toys in every shape, size, color, volume, and texture imaginable.  I'm not alone.  Every single mommy knows this feeling.  Being on the brink of a new year, and experiencing the stirrings of my nesting instincts, I've decided we need to do something about this.

Today, we did.  Well, at least we started.  We'll call it a pre-intervention.  I'm actually in the midst of it now, however I took a break to eat and wait for bedtime, as the kids might spaz over some ridiculous McDonald's toy that I'm going to throw away.  They have the most random obsessions over toys at times.  Especially B.  Gav at least has legit toys that make sense to cling to.  His army guys.  His action figures.  His Star Wars light 'savers' (gotta love 4-year olds!).  But B?  She will choose something ridiculous, like a piece of a play set that makes no sense unless you see it within the context of its original home--take for instance the plastic stick/marshmallow combination.  The other day, she would not leave the house until it was in her purse.  Apparently our quick trip to the store may find us in a remote campsite location where we'll obviously want to roast the plastic marshmallows.  Ya neva' know. 

Randy and I took a trip to the store to purchase some storage containers and a shelving unit.  Randy's input is 'we're buying s*** to store s***'.  I look at it as organizing.  True, both of us hate clutter (see my dream above!), however Randy is just as content to box it all up and put it into storage, to be forgotten about, and ignored.  Whereas I want the kids to have access to it without needing me to move the box of Christmas decor--but I want it to be kept neat and clean and orderly.  My current school of thought is that we use color-coded plastic tubs.  Pink for B and green for Gav.  When the third one comes along, we'll decide on the color we need (no, we won't tell you). 

I started the task while the kids were having dinner.  The living room floor was covered.COVERED with crap.  Not literal crap, just random, disorganized, and homeless toys.  At one point, I shared my thoughts on my children's ridiculously large collection of 'toys', however I chose to use a more colorful word.  To which B's response was, "mom, I have a lot of crap".  Joy.  So now, not only are my children ridiculously spoiled, but also share my same not-so-nice vocabulary.  I'll be getting phone calls from the school in a few years.  I'm already preparing for this fact.

So I guess it's back to trying to organize the chaos.  The toys.  The childhood.  Because that's really what it is...their childhood.  Yes, it drives me crazy that it's scattered throughout every room (literally, every single room) of the house.  Yes, it drives me bananas that as much as I want my kids to learn to appreciate everything that they have and everything that they are given, it seems like they have so much that it's more like 'second nature' than, "wow!  a new toy!  thank you (insert gift-giver here)!".  And yes, there are days I yearn for the clutter-free home, a home that resembles more like the model homes we love to tour than Santa's workshop.  But then I think about what these toys mean.  They mean we have kids.  They mean we have a family-a family that's growing, and learning, and changing all the time.  They mean that I feel so blessed and fortunate for all that we can provide for our kids, and all that our kids receive from others who are able to provide things for them as well.  They mean that our house will some day be barren of toys and we will be sitting here, wishing it all to come back--even if just for a little while.  These toys mean we have a life.  A life that I absolutely love and wouldn't trade in for anything.  Not even a professional organizer.

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