Once again I am thinking about how much stuff we own, and how we store it and keep track of it. I know that this is a running theme, but it is just part of who I am: I crave order, but I am not naturally orderly, and with this many people, mess accumulates quickly. For example, yesterday we went to the circus, super fun, and they gave out goody bags. Each goody bag contained a stuffed horse, a slinky, a light up ring and a plastic cup. Multiply by 6, and that is 24 new objects being left on my floor today.
We have a relative who is moving right now out of the house that she and her husband have lived in for over 30 years. They are downsizing, and they are doing a valiant job to sort, sell, donate and pack, but the stuff of a lifetime is just overwhelming. When our basement flooded over labor day, we had an entire large dumpster worth of stuff that we had to throw away, and we have only been here for 4 years, so it is easy to see how your basement can really fill up in 30 years. Then, there is the stuff that is not at all junk, the framed pictures of when your children were little, a figurine that a student gave you, in our family it is books and books and books, but shelves can only hold so much, so sometimes something just has to go.
Flylady helped me tremendously by saying to think about “blessing someone else.” If our unused things are sold through the goodwill store, it helps the community many times — someone gets inexpensive clothes, the salvation army gets a little money, someone from a halfway house has a job at the store. This is all good.
But, how to keep things fun, how to save the memories without the stuff? One year we wouldn’t let our kids have a circus goody bag, but that just seems mean.I have a few friends who have more toys than we have, but they also seem to have more order. A playroom, with a bin for each type of thing, seems to help, the kids really play there, and the toys don’t meander into the living room. So, storage and functionality are a big part of it, too.
Also, in an effort to spend and accumulate less, I didn’t do any “back to school” shopping this year, and it turns out that one of my daughters HAS NO CLOTHES! It just sort of worked out that she outgrew a lot of things, the handmedowns that came in didn’t fit her quite right. Almost every morning there is a laundry related scramble for her, and it is just inefficient. So, we do need some things in order to function.
As with so many areas of life, it is hard to find the balance here. November will be a month of flinging for our household, but I am going to try to really do it with function in mind, and organize as well. Along the way, I am going to make lists, and I may have to shop, both for new things that we need and for storage systems. We need an influx of shelves, bins and baskets.
My hope is that we do this well now, and our holidays and winter will be more fun.