I'm trying to keep my business, my triplets, and my waistline under control. I excel at one of those, fail at another one of those, and one is a work in progress. Which is which is day dependant.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Binge and Purge

After several months of not having a cleaning lady, DH and I finally hired a company to come and whip this place into shape. [Note: Cleaning ladies are my idea of heaven on a stick. I hate cleaning, I'm bad at it, and I have no time. Don't hate me because I'm practical.] In addition to a weekly clean we opted for what they call a "mini spring clean" - where 3 people come for almost an entire day and clean, scrub, dust and rejuvenate your nasty dirty house. Sad to admit but also sadly true, it IS a nasty and dirty house at the moment. Suffice it to say the bathrooms make me visibly shudder...so Tuesday can't come soon enough.

In anticipation of the GREAT HOUSE CLEAN of 2008, I decided that as a family we needed to spend most of today chucking stuff out. Now I'm a throw-out person rather than a hang-onto person, and I get a natural high from throwing stuff away. I have even been known to cackle with unbridled glee as I lob something into the great grey monster.

Among the things I threw out/gave away today:

  • Valentine cards from the early 00's
  • Scraps of wood which previously had gum nuts glued onto them but now only have bits of dried up glue left
  • Books with titles like "Do What You Are" and "Women Writers" and "Father and Child"
  • A really ugly mini photo frame. It was green pleather with gold accents.
  • Schoolwork (mine) dating back to before the new millenium
  • Kids toys which they played with 5+ years ago and which have crusty bits stuck to them
  • Engineering magazines which pre-date the dawn of time (thanks, DH)
  • An entire box of VHS tapes
  • ...myriad other crap we should have gotten rid of ages ago but didn't.
The house looks noticeably cleaner, although my slash-and-burn self just keeps seeing more shit we could throw away. We filled a recycling bin, a rubbish bin, and I have 6 bags of things to take to the 2nd hand shop. Plus there is a small pile of stuff to EBay this week. So we've achieved quite a lot...but strangely, I find myself feeling a little sad. Sad because I've gotten rid of stuff that maybe, one day, my kids might like to have - like the toys. I wonder if I'm not somehow being MEAN by chucking all this stuff out. In my heart of hearts I know that I'm glad some of it is going to people who need it all WAY more than we do...but I can't help feeling as though I am somehow throwing out a bit of their childhood. We *do* keep some things like select baby clothes, their first soft toys, and so on. Still, today I really felt with a painful awareness that my babies are not really my babies any more.

I'm not particularly sentimental about stuff - massive sheets of paper with one blue stripe don't make me weep, old cards don't make me want to cry (okay, sometimes) and I definetly don't mourn the loss of those tapes. At the same time, I'm not exactly sure what my criteria for keeping stuff should be - how am I supposed to know what sorts of things like might like to have? For example, today we got rid of a bag of their bibs...but I still have a whole stack of their bottles which probably won't last past the next purge. My Mom is also a thrower-outerer, and as a result there is almost nothing left of my childhood possessions. It does make me sad, in a way...but is also makes me bloody grateful that I don't have to store that crap.

Go on, confess. What do you keep and what do you pitch? More importantly, how do you decide what to keep and what to pitch?

( ...and for those of you wondering about the "binge" part, renovations are coming! Renovations are coming!)


ramona said...

oh, if only you weren't so far away... I *so* need someone to come help me throw out at least half of our crap!

So far, I've yet to pitch much of anything. I went so far as to make a humongous "garage sale" pile when we were getting ready to finish the basement but that stuff hasn't actually gone anywhere (except to a different spot in the basement!). I have favorite baby outfits and a few toys saved back for the kids, but I don't really know what to keep either! I do an end-of-school-year paper purge, keeping some drawings and homework that amused me. I often wonder if it's enough but my house just can't hold ALL of the paper!

As an only child, my mother kept EVERYthing. I have tons of artwork, old school tests, old toys (which have mostly since been eBayed), even some of my baby teeth! It was kind of nice to go through it (except for the teeth), but then doubly hard to get rid of your own stuff. So you're doing your kids a favor -- don't saddle them with the junk. Begone with it!

emzeegee & the hungry three said...


If you're willing to pay for the flight, I'm happy to come over and throw your stuff out! :) My major problem is that DH is a "keeper" (gross, he even still has his gallstones in a jar, from surgery 20 years ago...ick) and I'm a "chuck outer" so sometimes it takes several efforts before stuff gets kicked to the curb. :)

I think for now I'm going to stick with the chuck it and don't look back option - this house is bursting at the seams as it is. So far my criteria for chucking is a) if I have had any chocolate that day and b) if it annoys me in that exact moment.

If anyone else has any better ideas, please comment!