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Christy Catherine Marshall

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December 30, 2005

Every mom I’ve talked to since Christmas has been overwhelmed with one thing: what to do with all the new STUFF! How’s it going at your house? We’re having one gigantic clean-out over here. So since it’s officially “Flylady Friday” on my mental blog schedule, maybe I can cheer you on if you’re in the thick of it too. (I need a little pep talk myself…)

One of my friends has a much better idea about this — her kids clean out their rooms and closets BEFORE Christmas. They have absolutely NO room for storage, so her rule is they give away half their old toys to make room for their new ones. The kids actually enjoy this since they know they’ll be making someone else’s Christmas a little brighter — as well as clearing the way for more goods.

And to be honest — whenever my kids play at her house, they spend almost all their time running around outdoors because there aren’t zillions of plastic toys inside to keep them occupied. She actually puts them to work in her huge garden, and they think that’s fun! (See how I’m gleaning the best tips on mothering and giving them to you? They’re not mine — I’m still learning from all these really smart moms.)

Another friend has given me moral support with the clothing situation — she’s got a large family too, and a couple of years ago, she decided to simplify her laundry routine. Each child has “town clothes” and “play clothes.” They’re limited to five outfits of each in their drawers, so they can choose what to wear. The kids don’t wear their town clothes at home — they’ll get messed up. (They live on a farm and have a ton of animals.) When it’s time to go somewhere, they change to the nice outfits.

Simplify. That’s what we’re trying to do. We’re sending along boxes of gently worn and loved clothes and toys in order to make room for the new. I caught myself yesterday considering another dash to Target to get more storage boxes, but I had some “helpers” remind me we don’t need more storage; we need less stuff.

My FlyLady emails this week have encouraged me to pack away decorations a few at a time, not all at once. And while I’m packing away, she says to go through the old decorations that I didn’t put out this year and get rid of them. Horrors! I’m looking at several boxes of Christmas decorations that we never use — but I keep because of this guilty feeling that I used them before and I MAY use them again. I’ve still got knick-knacks that I used to decorate my college dorm room! Thanks, FlyLady — all I needed was that extra push — boxes of old decorations are clutter, she says.

If something doesn’t bring you joy, FlyLady says to get rid of it. Your home should be a relaxing haven, not a warehouse of possessions. Instead of spending your time washing too many clothes, dusting too many knick-knacks, and picking up gigantic collections of toys — living lean allows you more time and freedom to do things that bring you and others joy. (And some smart moms actually know how to make money off this — through hosting yard sales and on Ebay. Maybe I’ll try that someday!)

I’m writing all this to encourage you — AND me — to keep going. We can do this. Today I’m cleaning out our kitchen “craft cabinets.” I’ve found the kitchen the best place to store all the play-dough, paint, and bead crafts. There’s nothing easier to occupy kids on a rainy day than crafts at the kitchen table while I’m in there working. Especially toddlers. They feel like they’re “cooking” when they take cookie cutters and work through dough. Always gives me at least 20 minutes of quiet.

I’m also going to be cleaning out my blog drafts folder — I have way too much! If you’re a blogger, do you think in bloglets too? I jot down an idea, get going a bit, then forget about it. Is there anybody who has their email inbox cleaned out? Help!! How do you do it?

Two more days of 2005 — let’s end the year a little bit lighter.

By: Heather Ivester in: Organization | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (2)

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