A few weeks ago, I told the kids that they needed to “deep clean” their rooms. Typically, when I ask them to clean them, I find myself getting frustrated because their version of clean is obviously not the same as mine. I go into Emaleigh’s room afterwards and she just moves everything to the walls surrounding her room…and that’s clean. I go into Elijah’s room afterwards, look in his toy box and notice that EVERYTHING is placed in there, from sucker sticks to dirty underwear.
My kids are mini hoarders.
They save everything. It’s actually quite ridiculous. I haven’t decided if they keep these things in their room because they actually want to, or because they just don’t want to have to make a trip to the trashcan to properly dispose of these things.
So, I finally gave in, and decided it was time to intervene; Mommy was going to assist them in cleaning their room. We decided we would make 3 piles; One to keep, one to throw and one for a garage sale that the kids are having. Elijah’s room was first. Dun Dun Dun. Not sure if I’ve mentioned this, but Elijah is a little bit of a Lego fanatic. (So much that he has decided that he wants to be a Lego Engineer when he grows up) Anyway, we decided to start with his closet first where he has about 50 or so stuffed animals. Anyone else get tired of stuffed animals? Or is it just my kids that have SO many?
I would take one down from his closet and hand it to him. He would then take it gently in his hands: smell it, pet it, hold it back so he could look into the animals’ eyes. Then, he would pause just looking at it. After a few moments he would either say, “keep”, “trash”, or “sale”. For the most part, they were “keep”.
Not one was “throw”.
He just couldn’t do it.
These little animals have been his friends, and as silly as it sounds I got a little choked up watching him do this routine with each and every one of these little fuzzy creatures. Fuzzy little creatures that, time and time again, I find myself getting so annoyed with because they are scattered everywhere. But, it was amazing to hear Elijah explain each mark on the animals, where they came from, feeling Chewy’s slobber, and why that guy only had one eye. I imagined the animal talking back in a Toy Story way, telling Elijah, “It’s been a while since you’ve played with me, so it’s OK to let me go.” Or even saying, “Remember when we went to visit your brother in the hospital?” And it was then I would hear, “Keep”.
I’m glad we started with the stuffed animals. It allowed me to take in a few deep breaths and see these “things” through my kids’ eyes. What I thought was going to be a stressful day of barking orders turned out to be a really sweet day seeing memories through my kids’ eyes. As we moved on to other areas of the room, I was a little more willing to let him keep things that apparently mean more to him than they do me…like the dilapidated paper fort that he made for his Lego guys.
I must admit, Emaleigh’s room was a little bit easier (although we have yet to go through her stuffed animals). Her lip gloss obsession and contents of her desk drawers are an entire blog of itself, but I am happy to report that she finally threw away her 5 gallon bag of lip gloss that she has been collecting since she was 2! And no, she did not smell, pet or stare deeply at it. The “throw” pile ended up being much smaller than the “keep” and “sale” piles, and surprisingly, I am ok with that.