A few days ago, I went all Toy Nazi on my kids' rooms.
I had to pretend to wake Possum Girl up first. I love when she does this. She NEVER naps. OK, I lie. She naps maybe - MAYBE - twice a year. Most days she goes to her room for rest and talks to herself or her toys for an hour-ish. But the instant I open the door, no matter where she is or what she's doing, she drops like a rock and fakes sleep. Sometimes there are toys in her hands or hats on her head or she's wedged in a corner and she just flops back against the wall. I can't help but laugh. It's just so darn cute.
We didn't have a lot to clean out in her room. She goes through her toys about two or three times a year and gets rid of several things regularly. Honestly, when I told her to clean out her toys, she made a HUGE pile of stuff, and I have to talk her into KEEPING things.
"Babe, don't you want to keep Jojo?" Jojo is her gray stuffed kitty that she has been attached to since she found it in a store one day with her aunt and uncle when she was about 18 months old.
"No, she can go."
"Won't you miss her? You sleep with her every night!"
"Well, yes, but I have lots of toys."
"Darlin'... if you love the toy, it's okay to keep it." I say this to her every time we clean things out.
"Oh...," she says like she's never gone through this before, "OK, then. I'll keep that... but that's all."
And so the story goes, item by item. We did get rid of a sack of stuff, but most of it consisted of containers that she no longer needed, things like a doctor kit whose items had long since been relegated to drawers instead of the plastic box it came in. She also insisted on rearranging her closet so she had more room. More room for more toys? Well, no, that'd be logical. More room for her and her friends to sit in. They love to climb in her closet.
Then she insisted on posing for photos in her room that involves a plethora of pink. Girl loves pink.
Also... Girl got Ego.
This is the "after" photo of the boy's closet. The "before" picture had it overflowing with stuff and those drawers couldn't have fit in there AT ALL. He shrieked like a stuck pig when I told him we were going to get rid of *A LOT* of stuff, but when he realized the meaning of the word "priority," we started making progress. I told him he could have 20 items in his closet, plus the drawers. The first stuff he got rid of? Lots and lots of broken toys. Dozens of empty (and broken) Easter eggs, a broken Hot Wheels toy (which was HUGE and which I'd been trying to get him to dispose for age), etc. He was amazed at the things he decided he didn't ever need or use.
Then we went to the toy bins there in the background. By the time we cleaned out all the bins, this is what his room looked like. The giant pile on the left is the trash pile; the pile on the right is the keep pile. That's right. That trash pile was ginormous. M1 was feeling SERIOUSLY proud of how much he was getting rid of, and we were finding all sorts of laundry in the process.
And as the pile of trash grew, so did the pile of laundry. The boy has a laundry basket in his room and has had one since he was born, but getting him to use it is a whole other story. He hates putting clothes in the hamper. I have no idea why. But he would much rather stash laundry in random places around his room and have me get upset at him later when he comes whining to me about his lack of socks, shirts, and underwear. After we got done cleaning, he did an entire load of laundry that he hadn't seen for months. I can only pray that he gets past this anti-hamper fetish before puberty, or his room is going to be home to a very special sweaty-boy funk. Pray for me, wouldja? I don't think I could smell that and live.
This was the final trash pile. Most of the books there are actually magazines, but there was a whole stack of Level 1 or Level 2 science-related readers that we'll be taking to Goodwill since he had most of the information in them memorized but they're still in great shape. If anyone wants them, lemme know and I'll send 'em to you for the cost of shipping or get them to you personally if you're local. I can send you a list of titles, but they're things like "The Sun" or "The Solar System" or "Insects." Things that he loves.
This is his book basket now. Say hi to Vixen the Cat there, who graciously decided to clean her butt for the photo. Back to the book basket. Boy has a serious love of science. Everything facing right and all the stuff in the back is nonfiction. The fiction 'aisle' is everything facing front on the right. He loves fiction, don't get me wrong, but he doesn't re-read it 1000 times like he does with the nonfiction. And we didn't get rid of a single reptile/amphibian book. It was verboten. He did another stuck-pig shriek when I asked if we could, so I let that one drop.
And then I bagged up the entire trash pile. I stuffed those bags so full I could barely move them and it still took three to get rid of the entire pile.
Proud but exhausted, this mama is thinking now about birthdays (M1's is in October) and Christmas. They're coming way, way too quickly. And it all means more stuff to clean out. Maybe this year I'll just get them all gift cards and call it good. Think they'll go for that?