Decluttering for the holidays

Among my Advent tasks is a scaled down version of my spring cleaning. I’m not so worried about having yeast in my pantry as I am focused on the clutter in the closets. I am a very orderly and organized person (the mess on my desk notwithstanding). But I live in a home with five little people who have no understanding of just how bothersome it is (to me) to have My Little Pony accessories mixed in with the tea set.

And I can handle My Little Pony. But where I fail entirely is in the Lego and Playmobile arena. I dumped the Lego container yesterday afternoon and told the boys that only Legos were to go back inside it. And we began. Of course, the boys then proceeded to say things like, “Billy, look! You were looking for this piece!” And their sorting and cleaning was distracted by their search for other similar “jewels” for Billy’s “invention.” It was a team effort, but they were playing a different game than I.

A fly on the wall would have heard ten minutes of:

“Is this a Lego?” Affirmative grunt.

“How about this one?” Affirmative grunt.

“Legos?” Affirmative grunt.

“These?” “Oh, that’s Playmobile.”

“How about these?” “Legos.” “Really?” “Yes, Mom, they go to the Millenium Falcon.”

I am way out of my league here. I even contemplated for a few minutes that the entire endeavor to put pieces in the proper containers was really just over-the-top in organization. But then I recovered my senses and finished the job.

After an hour of cleaning the bedrooms, I released the kids to watch some TV. This gave me a chance to stealthily remove from their room all the things that I’ve decided they no longer get to keep. Some of the items were toys they rarely play with and will find a new home with another family via the post thrift store. Other things were broken toys that the kids insist are repairable by Magic Dad with the Gorilla Glue or were accessories to toys long gone.

When the kids came up a bit later, Billy remarked that he could see his dresser. Yes, it’s amazing how one can see the furniture when one puts toys, clothes, books and art projects where they belong. There are still two containers left – a bin of Army guys and a bin of cars. I need to make sure that GI Joe isn’t hanging out at the motor pool, and then the boys’ room is done. In the girls’ room, we need to re-build the Playmobile Palace destroyed by the huns, and then I have some sorting to do in Pete’s closet.

My inner soul will be at clutter-free peace for a week or so. Then comes the onslaught of New Stuff. At least there is room in the closet.

10 thoughts on “Decluttering for the holidays

  1. A while ago I decided to organize the Legos into those little Sterilite drawers by color and specialty pieces. I figured that way it would be easier for the boys to find the piece that they were looking for (aka not dump the entire bucket out onto the floor).

    Yep, that experiment failed…

  2. Yes, as much as I love Playmobile and Legos, keeping them together is nearly impossible. I was just like you two kids ago. Now, I just toss all the pieces together. I don’t care anymore, just as long as they aren’t on the floor.

  3. God Bless your neatnick soul! My only realistic goal is to keep the livingroom clear of toys and anything that does not belong. All other rooms have been lost. The battle does not bode well for me here. LOL. I will tell my daughter to marry a tiddy man. Make sure he’s had time to live on his own, and his place is neat and tiddy, then she might save herself a boatload of sanity.

  4. Hi Maria! Thanks for stopping in.

    Michele – I once saw online a Lego sorter, like a coin sorter, but for Legos. I don’t know if it would be much good though. They like having that big pile.

    MPN – I suspect that in 2 more kids I won’t care much either.

    AK – perhaps it would be better to marry an untidy man – one who won’t mind the mess too much! My craving for order is rarely satiated in this house…just as I get one closet clean, the pantry is in disarray, then the garage, then another closet, and on and on…

  5. I’m glad someone else stealthily removes toys from their chilren’s rooms and gives them away when the kids aren’t looking! LOL! πŸ™‚ That’s the only way I can keep the clutter under control at my house, too! πŸ™‚ Enjoying your blog…Michelle H.

  6. Nope, I have the untidy man already, and I seriously want to trade him in for a tidier one. Somehow, for whatever reason, the momment he steps foot in the door whatever progress has been made, is unraveled and pushed several steps back. Nope, I should have gone for a tidy man, then at least he’d be motivated to help pitch in once in a while, or be curtious enough to not add to the mess…be a better role model for the kids, share in the misery, instead of relishing in making it. But I can’ only wonder about what it’s like on the other side of the fence, lol.

  7. It is funny to read this. You are so much like me in this area, or I am hust like you. πŸ™‚

    I thrive on no clutter. Things can be as dusty as all get out, but the clutter gets to me. I find I cannot function well. But I have also found that my striving to keep things relatively orderly, helps in keeping the house clean. The kids learn where things go and it makes tidying up at night a lot easier.

    I think I have relinquished some of my control over what gets mixed together, but not all. Because inevitably someone comes to me looking for that one zoo animal that got thrown in the princess bucket.

    I too clear out the kids toys around Christmas. I usually do it after Christmas. That way I figure they can SEE how much new stuff they got and will be more willing to help give away. That way too I can more accurately assess our bin and container needs. πŸ™‚

    Great post. I too think nothing will ever be completely organized. Pantry then video cabinet then toys then clothes, but our efforts are not in vain. And I believe we are teaching a valuable lesson.

    Happy organizing!

  8. IThis made me laugh. I often find legos or playmobile people in my makeup case.
    I’m totally into the pre-christmas toy purge. Enjoy you’re week of apparent “order.”

  9. “I am a very orderly and organized person (the mess on my desk notwithstanding).”

    Michelle, you’re hired.

    I could totally relate to this post–now to do something about it.

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