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Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Room Cleaning Day

My youngest child is a pack-rat. There, I said it, there is no denying it. She keeps every fucking scrap of paper, every empty candy wrapper, every cardboard box that ever enters this house no matter what size, every broken toy, every piece of outgrown clothing and her disease even spills over to her sister's belongings. Today Maddie tried to throw away an old doll bed that she hasn't played with in at least a year and Brenna threw a complete fit. Crying, begging and eventually taking it into her own collection of crap. "But in reminds me of when we were little and used to play with our dolls!!", she cries - who the hell can deny that argument? So sentimental, just like her dad. He is a wussy sentimentalist too.

Unfortunately, like everything else that goes wrong in my children's lives, I think it's my fault. When the kids were about 6 and 8 respectively, I made the mistake of reading the book, "Clutters Last Stand". Anyone read that one? Well, damn it, I did and afterwards was determined to 'clean this place up'.

Needless to say, a lot of stuff made its way to the garbage. As a matter of fact, there was a dumpster rented, and filled, and a 2nd rented......and filled. What?! We were moving into our newly built house and cluttering it all up with this crap I'd been moving around for 8+ years was not my idea of starting fresh.

Only for the next year and half, every time we couldn't find something or every time my kids were looking for a certain toy, they would always say the same thing, "mom, you threw it in the dumpster", "oh, yeah, mommy threw that away in the dumpster". Even things that did NOT go into the dumpster, they were just lost or give away or taken to Goodwill, the blame always came back to me and that damn dumpster. They were scarred for life, especially Brenna.

In a nutshell, I've caused this disorder that my youngest daughter has acquired. She is determined that never again will she go to look for something only to find out it went out in last weeks trash. Instead, she will lock it away in her little 11 x 12 room until eventually she will be like one of those old people that has all the cats? When you open her door there will just be a small trail that winds around the room from her bed to her dresser and all kinds of wild cats climbing the walls (and we don't even have cats!) all because her mom went a little overboard with the de-cluttering at one time in her life.

Well, today was D-day. I'm not one to bitch too much about messy bedrooms. They have to live in there, not me, so if they want to climb over their mountain of crap to get to their beds, fine with me. But, there is a limit and Brenna had hit hers. You know you've crossed the line when you have a freakin' loft bed and your crap is starting to pile up so high around it, you are using your 'stuff' to climb up to your bed instead of your ladder. Bad.

Due to the de-cluttering trauma, anytime she sees me heading for her room, she freaks out. Could this be because I usually have a leaf & lawn size garbage bag in my hand? Possibly. Today, instead of freaking her out, I calmly said, "Brenna. The room is beyond bad. Here is a garbage bag, just a regular, kitchen-size garbage bag, I want this room cleaned and that bag filled."

This took all day. She agonized over what to throw and what to hide from her mother. After about 5 hours, she emerged with 1/2 of the garbage bag filled and a clean room. Somewhere in that room is an awful lot of stuff that is hidden and hidden well because the room is clean. She even vacuumed. Wow. Before and after pictures would have been the smart thing to do, but then again, anyone reading here knows that's a lot to ask, right? I'm lucky to get a post up let alone pictures documenting the process for cripes sake.

It is killing me to know where she put all that crap but if she catches me in there snooping around - she'll lose it. I'll just have to be satisfied that for now, we can see the floor, all the dirty undies are in the laundry room and there are no wild felines in sight!


Anonymous said...

This is SO my daughter in a nutshell. I finally gave her a plastic storage container...we call it her "packrat drawer"...she can keep whatever she wants in it, but once it's full, she has to go thru it and clean it out. It drives me crazy. Not sure how I got here, but it was a fun blog. Thanks.

queenvanna said...

my 2 year old hoardes things, but i think it's just because she doesn't want her little sister to have whatever it is she's hoarding!! rocks, wrappers, straws, leaves, shoelaces... she keeps it all in a box on her bookshelf!

Angie said...

Hey! What a great idea, Karen! A box all her own to put all that 'garbage' in - I'm trying that.

Queenvanna - if she weren't the youngest, I would think the same thing - trying to protect her stuff from the older sisters. I'm trying the box idea.

Thanks, ladies.

Cherry said...

My husband actually has a packrat box, but he calls it his memory box. He allows himself this one bin of memorabilia and he's actually voluntarily gone down in the size of the box!

I grew up a packrat as I lived with packrat parents. But now I feel like I've wasted a garbage day if I don't purge a little each week. So I've gone the other direction. Clutter now drives me batty!

Angie said...

I'm so with you, Cherry. Truly, I start to feel like I'm suffocating if the shit starts to pile up around here, as it so often does. Something about throwing stuff out is so freeing! Corny, I know.

The box seems to be a popular idea.

*~*Cece*~* said...

Saturday night Mister is going to watch a night of boxing & my kids have a slumber party to go to. I'm not going anywhere. I had planned to go Xmas shopping but I think with an empty house I'll crank up the stereo, mix myself a drink, grab some trash bags and hit the girls room HARD. I'm talking about pulling EVERYTHING out of the closet and toy box. Yeah that's what I'm going to do!

Thanks for the inspiration! And I'll be sure to take before and after pictures! hehehe

Angie said...

Oh, Cece - you're bad!! I'm so envious, why didn't I think of that? Hit it when she is not home and then she'll be so surprised when she gets back she won't think about being mad. You are a genius.

Go for it, girl. Can't wait to see the pictures.

Cherry said...

Oh Angie, I meant to tell you that I too read 'Clutters Last Stand'!

Perhaps another reason I'm all about the de-cluttering!

Kat said...

Wow. Your youngest and my 11 year old god-daughter are soulmates. I can't throw away a decent looking peice of thread when she's around. She stays with us for 3 months and fills her little room with so much junk that its impossible to walk in there. Amazing.