It’s the annual “It’s a New Year, For Pity’s Sake Remove All Thy Excess Stuff” purge of the house. Every Christmas season, I look forward to and dread our tradition of putting up the tree and decorations. On one hand, it’s magical and nostalgic. On the other, I have most of my own and my parents’ decorations. (With which I will never part! #hoarding) However, in my tiny urban house, I can only accommodate two Rubbermaid tubs’ worth. Unfortunately, the six others must be stored in the shed out back.
The thing is, since my dad died? I haven’t had that desire to deck the halls the way I used to. I’m okay with keeping it all in the shed. And even more so? I’m adamant about TAKING IT ALL DOWN on December 26. And I take it a step further by purging my entire house at that time. Be gone clutter. Be gone decorations. Hello, simplicity. It’s like somehow, if I rid my house of the junk, my life will also magically become junk-free too. (Ha! I’m convinced my feet will still be maimed by stray Lego pieces thirty years from now.)
This year, I took it on with a fury. I didn’t plan it. I didn’t wake up that morning choosing to unleash it – in the middle of Winter Break – upon this house. But there I stood, post-morning coffee and stir-crazy, booming to my kids that everything ton the floor and not in a bin was gone. GONE, I SAID!
While they frantically collected their treasures of lost Barbie shoes and Pokemon cards, I set out to conquer the dreaded “catch all” closet. (Some may call this the place where everything goes to die.) What’s in there? Just our medicine cabinet, art closet, camping closet, and—get ready for it—gift wrap hub. Yep. Four large bins reside there dedicated solely to birthday gift wrap, “pretty” gift bags, and Christmas. It’s a hot mess. Let’s be honest. I congratulated myself on allocating them to their own bins. I’m comfortable with this delegation.
Let’s talk about our medicine cabinets for a second? I literally sifted through scores of prescription bottles that expired in 2007. Really? Why did I feel the need to keep a medicine ten years later? Is that old bottle of Amoxicillin (that any medical professional would scold me for having) really going to kick my nasty sinus infection? Yeah. The five-year old Robitussin and the vitamins? Gone. #sorrynotsorry
On to the art bin. Moms? What is it with this guilt about keeping every tiny thing our kids draw? I don’t know about you. But with every picture that comes home, I now put it to a test. A. Is this a “real” drawing or just a bunch of afternoon scribbles? B. Does it mark a special holiday? C. Will they (or I) remember this in five years?
I’m not going to lie. I struggle. I have this sick vision of them in their twenties going through their boxes and wondering where their favorite hand painting or stick figure is. So, I may (or may not) have boxes in the attic full of such artwork. Sweet, right? Slight problem with that though. I kept everything from my first child and have been very liberal with my second. Every handprint, every laminated cubby photo of my first baby? Oh, it’s in there. My second? Wellllll, we have her highlights—all the major prints. The rest go into File 13.
And there remained my closet. Years of sizes, shapes, and styles…all of which, somehow, I’ve justified over the years. “Well, maybe if I ever go back to a desk job…” and, “When I get on that plan and look super-hot this summer…” Oh, let’s be honest. The inner dialogue that happens in our closets is one of the loudest.
I discovered during The Purge that I organize my closet based on Reality, Hopes, and Dreams. Reality makes up the clothes in the regular rotation near the front. Hopes are close by as my incentive to squeeze back into them in the near future. And Dreams? My college jeans still hanging in the back, taunting my post-labor hips into believing they will ever again see the light of day.
Thus, begins Closet Survivor. Who will stay on the island? Is it the useful but boring pieces? Or will it be the dress that, never worn, still shines like a diamond? Do I live in the land of Potential or Reality?
I am still deliberating the verdict on the closet purge, but I do know one thing for sure:
The rogue Lego pieces have to go.