You know it’s time for a good clutter purge when you can’t walk a straight line through your square living room. Trying to maneuver through the clutter jungle in my house had become overwhelming and I was in legitimate fear of breaking a leg trying to reach the front door for the pizza delivery man, and while I like my cold beverages as much as the next person, I’m not willing to fall and be buried in a pile of clutter behind the furnace while reaching for the camping cooler. If there’s one thing I’m sure of most in this world, it’s that no one wants to be found dead under a too-full collapsed bookshelf clutching a dog-eared copy of He’s Just Not That Into You.
Yep; things we getting bad around here and it wasn’t just me adding to the family’s clutter quotient, because the kids were verging on hoarder territory, too. My 16 year-old daughter has developed a new interest in record albums and her collection is growing weekly. While I appreciate her new-found good musical taste and welcome the Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin albums with open arms, what it leaves us with are stacks of older CD’s and even an old iPod or two. Her clutter also extends to her closet: a simple, small box like structure meant to hold at most perhaps 50 articles of clothing, yet it has become some sort of magical portal wherein 400+ pairs of identical jeans are housed. It is at once jammed full and yet offers “nothing to wear” and must be fed on demand with new crop tops and patterned leggings, and it’s famished like a hungry giant during a famine year.
And while small boys do bring several joys to a family, clean rooms are not among them. Dresser tops are adorned with every piece of every broken toy ever received from age three onward. (Until then they were eaten.) I enter my 11 year-old’s room with trepidation during daylight hours and pure, unadulterated fear after dark. This room is home to bones from Thanksgiving dinner turkey legs kept as trophy, piles of rocks and marbles, feathers and spare LEGO, Ikea parts I’m pretty sure are supposed to be used in our TV cabinet, spare dirt bike gloves and a few things I’d rather not disclose in a public forum. And it’s summer, so with the added sunshine and fresh air he’s outgrowing clothes by the time the tags no longer itch.
Last week I had had enough. I had dodged towering hallway mountains of laundry and unused Play Station games for one day too long. The kids are home for the summer and able to do my bidding (albeit with some cajoling and a pinch of bribery) so I handed them some money and instructed them to buy extra-large garbage bags at the corner hardware store. Change could be spent as they saw fit and I wasn’t concerned about the sugar intake on the inevitable ice cream because they were going to need the energy for what I had planned. This was going to be purge day. This was going to be “Pack-it-Up” day.
THIS WAS GOING TO BE FREEDOM DAY.
When they cam home I told them we were going to pack up anything that someone else could love. Most of our things (minus the turkey bones and rock piles) are in great condition and ready to be loved by others, so to others they were going. I knew Value Village has a great reuse and recycle program and the stores all over Canada employ a great number of people, so I was happy about dropping off clothes and games and CDs. My kids had to think of others and about where they fit into the greater recycling picture and hopefully these are lessons they’ll remember. I know that understanding someone else would love her One Direction CD’s and 52 pairs of jeans made it easier to give them away, and as for the 11 year-old, I’ve made him the deal that for every 5 games he donates to local and national non-profits at Value Village, he can buy one new one.
This satisfies my desire to not add to the landfill, and also my dream of not dying under a stack of Wii controllers and Christmas sweaters.
Thank You to Value Village for sponsoring this post and allowing Life In Pleasantville to share organizational tips and get our homes in order.