Before Christmas and birthdays, we do one-in-one-out with the toys and books. I’m very strict about this and go a little nutbar about it, where the one-in-one-out becomes one-in-ALL-OF-THE-THINGS-out. Every toy they don’t play with, every toy that’s been broken, every toy that found it’s way into our house by way of Happy Meals. Ripped books, baby books, books we’ve read to death. Everything Must Go!

I love to purge. I don’t like to clean, and I wouldn’t say I like to tidy, but I get this weird sense of accomplishment when I get rid of stuff. Over the year, when you have kids, you accumulate a lot of stuff. A LOT, a lot. It’s actually obnoxious. Looking in the kids’ rooms and seeing mountains of literal junk in absolutely no order whatsoever, taking up valuable walking space. It’s really quite gross. We don’t buy the kids gifts on typically non-gift giving occasions. Christmas and birthdays, that’s it. But somehow the junk breeds. And because I haven’t figured out how to spay and neuter inanimate objects yet, it just happens and I can’t do anything about it as it’s happening.

But three times a year, I get to stick it to the junk. We purge right before the gift binges of Christmas and birthdays and for a few weeks everything feels right again.

This is from three rooms. I only stepped foot in Eirinn’s bedroom, Avery’s bedroom and the basement. That’s it. Two bags of toys, a bag of plastic balls, and two bags of books to donate, a bag of actual garbage and a bin full of recycling. I’m ruthless. Most of the recycling is craft projects Eirinn made out of recyclable material, the actual garbage is broken toys, missing or rogue pieces of games of toy sets, and a disturbing number of lip balm tubes. The plastic balls are orphans from a blow up ball castle that popped the second time they used it. And it’s all leaving my house.

The girls both help. They sort through the stuff with me and let me know what they don’t use anymore and which stories they’ve grown tired of hearing. They know that we’re going to take it to The Salvation Army. They know that some families can’t afford brand new toys and so their old toys that aren’t broken will go to a good home where they’ll get played with and make another little boy or girl happy.

I feel so much lighter. Like all that crap was weighing on my shoulders and I hadn’t noticed it until I bagged it up and found a new home for it, out of my house. Now we’re ready for the barrage of stuff that will be arriving in a couple weeks. They are the first and only grandchildren/nieces or nephews on either side of our family, so they get spoiled every time there’s an opportunity for the elders to spend money on them. I get it and I’m cool with it. I appreciate it and the girls certainly do.

I did, however, come out of the day with three cuts, one requiring a bandaid, and mysteriously dyed fingers. They’re all blue. No idea what I touched. These things happen when you’re sticking it to the junk.

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