Spring Cleaning (aka Mom vs. Clutter)March 6th, 2009 by Ali
Spring Cleaning? In my house, it’s more like spring, summer, fall and winter cleaning. Where do we store all the stuff we don’t use very often? Some favorites are in a “spare” room, a large closet, the garage, or even a storage unit – in our family, it’s the garage. I am so envious of people who can actually fit their car(s) in their garages — wow, what a concept. Although I try to live by many of the principles of voluntary simplicity, sometimes the road to simpler isn’t always easy or simple. This is the third time in only two years that I’ve attempted to clean & organize our garage. I used to think I was somewhat organized… then I had kids. Enough said.
The ‘Mom vs. Clutter’ match went something like this:
- In this corner we have the current champion, the infamous Clutter; and in the other corner sits the stressed-out, always-exhausted, overwhelmed challenger, Mom. [spectators cheer loudly]
- Round 1: Two years ago: We moved into our new home. I only had enough time & energy left to stack the multitude of packing boxes in one (large) area of the garage. Round goes to Clutter.
- Round 2: One year ago: I bought a bunch of plastic tubs and moved all our stuff from the cardboard packing boxes into the tubs. At least it appeared to be more organized. Round again goes to Clutter.
- Round 3: Last October: I started in and I’m almost done now, only five months later. This time I was serious about organizing our stuff.
Some things I pondered as I cleaned:
- How many stuffed animals do my two girls need? Four tubs full? Definitely not, but how do I give away all those cute little critters that seem to mean so much to my kids?
- When am I actually going to have time to fix all those broken toys and damaged clothes? Yep, probably never.
- How much of my children’s artwork & schoolwork should I keep? My girls are only in first grade, and between school, church, Girl Scouts, festivals, etc., I’ve already managed to accumulate at least five tubs full of artwork. Now, I love that my girls are so creative and can seem to make masterpieces out of egg cartons, toilet paper rolls, tissue boxes, etc., but where is it all supposed to go? I’ve been sorting through these tubs at night while the girls are sleeping. I feel like a double agent trying to hide my evil, traitorous deeds as I stuff the majority of their work into large, dark trash bags. Then I make sure I get rid of the “evidence” before the girls can see it. Of course, I do save their most special creations.
Round narrowly goes to Mom.
- Round 4: Present: I sorted through and put away the last of the tubs, which contained the Christmas, Hanukkah & Halloween decorations. Whew! Now, I can actually see and use my exercise equipment again. I’ve decided to use the “extra” space in our garage as a music room with our instruments, karaoke machine, and dance area. It will be a fun place for our family to explore sound & music together. Mom knocks out Clutter! Game over. The new champion is… Mom.
All silliness aside, I almost forgot to mention the best part about cleaning out the garage — donating whatever we no longer have a need for. The girls have been surprisingly good about donating their old things. We talk about it in terms of recycling and giving to others.
I know that most families, at some point, are forced to deal with clutter and organizational issues. Please share your clutter comments with us and other Chinaberry families, whether they are stories of your challenges, successes or tips, or questions to pose to the Chinaberry Community. I know I could sure use some advice. I’m dreading needing to get back in the ring for round five.