random thoughts about laundry (socks), dishes, trash and recycling things
Socks. Dishes. Candy and snack wrappers. What do you find as you wander around your house one last time after your kids have gone to school or to bed at night?
Yesterday, I found a breakfast plate up on the oldest’s bed. With food still on it.
Now, to be fair, my oldest is usually kind of a clean freak. But this was the second plate I’ve found in the last week. And we have a dog who is crazy for food. Any food, any kind, any time (see Kids and Dogs). Lucky for her, the dog doesn’t make it up the stairs very often anymore – he is old and fat. Also, her bed is pretty far up for him to reach. But, he could have triangulated his tongue and gotten the sausage off of there if he’d sniffed it out.
I am not an expert housekeeper, by any means. I let the kids leave toys out sometimes, I don’t always get the dishes done right after a meal, and I sometimes let the laundry pile up. We all have to enjoy life, and part of that is living for the moment and having fun with the kids while were doing it – or just making sure to clean up the food from a meal as we jet out the door to whatever activity is next!
That said, I do like to pick up the dirty socks (why are they in the couch?) and discarded shirts or pants that land on the floor during the whirlwind of the bedtime or getting ready for school routines.
I can’t stand finding wrappers under the couches. And somehow, all three of my kids now leave orange or banana peels, snack wrappers, etc. on the kitchen counter. Even though the trash can is only a few feet away.
So, I am contemplating all of the socks, dishes, and trash.
We have also been busy lately with a pretty big cleanout project. For years, we have used an empty family building a few blocks away from our house as storage for all the things we didn’t want to keep in the house or didn’t have room for here. Old furniture, books, too-small kid clothes. All the random things. This last month, we have been clearing that building out, and I have started to post some of that stuff online for sale.
On Sunday, I sold an old plastic toy train set to a nice lady who was looking for toys for a local family who needed some extras. It was a catastrophe! My son – who is now 9 – was heartbroken. My oldest – now 17 – was furious.
Friends, how often do our kids get upset when we pull the too-small clothes out of their closets? Do your kids get mad when you pass along some of their toys to others? Of course they do! They all have favorite things, and letting go is hard for all of us.
I am trying to use this as a Teachable Moment for my kids. To point out that that train had been in storage for almost two years, and we do still have a giant set of wooden trains here at the house (I had made my son choose between them when we renovated two years ago). It is hard to let go. Apparently making him choose between toys was still a sore spot.
We have kept our things because we thought “we might use that” or we planned to have a garage sale at some point and it never happened. Now, I am committed to doing one, and I am actively selling the larger items as we go through it all. And it feels so good!
I am so happy to see people excited to use the things that we no longer use!
Even, hopefully, the socks and the shoes (when I make that sale happen).
We all get bogged down in the day to day of life. And it is easy to move things we no longer use into storage or put that box of clothes into a basement to deal with later. Also, it does pile up when we’re in a pandemic and all those donation sites did not take anything for so long.
Now that we are in a new year, I encourage all of you to check in with your local thrift stores or churches. See who might be taking donations again. Check with a local pregnancy center or community outreach group. And purge a couple boxes…you will feel good getting them out of your house.
If you are like me, and have more than just a few boxes stacked up, set a goal for yourself to have that garage sale in the next couple months (I am waiting for the weather to get a little nicer).
I tend to be pretty type-A: I write a lot of lists, and try to keep going each day and do whatever comes next. Mostly, I write the lists to keep myself on track, since I have been known to forget what I meant to do when I find the random socks, dishes, etc. as I’m going into various rooms to do other things. It works for me.
My theme word for this year is to thrive. And I think cleaning out the family storage and purging all the stuff fits so well with that. We are planning fun things in that family building, and our whole family is excited for what it will be. And I am positive that I will find random socks there, too.
They do it when we are at hotels as well. I am thankful my kids make themselves at home, wherever we go, and as much as it drives me crazy, I will continue to pick up the socks (and all the other stuff). Because I’m the mom. And that’s what we do.