With Spring around the corner I figured it was time for the yearly family team building exercise that is cleaning my son’s room.
I knew what I was getting myself into. We do little mini cleans throughout the year that usually end with crying, threats of garbage bags and the same old stuff just rearranged differently.
This time was going to be different.
I warned everyone in the house that the purge was happening well in advance, I gathered boxes, got cleaning supplies and I even took a day off work to tackle this project. We were going to go through every toy and every inch of his room. It was intense; we cleaned for almost three days.
Okay, when I say “we” I mean “I” cleaned (and tried not to yell too much) while my son rediscovered all the long lost treasures that I have been begging him to play with for the last eight years of his life.
From past room cleaning experiences I know that nothing reignites a child’s love for something quite like the threat of donating it to some other kid. The threat of throwing it out usually brings the tears.
Kids fail the Marie Kondo method of letting anything go that doesn’t bring you joy. I tried to throw out some misshapen pipe cleaner with a piece of string attached to it but apparently that brings immense joy to my kid so it’s still with us.
We both struggle with the whole re-homing thing. The hardest things to get rid of are the ones that I have bought, knowing what I paid for them. Or what kind of nightmare-on-earth scenario I had to go through to get it during the Christmas crunch. This caused my leadership in the war against clutter to waver a bit and I declared another box as “keep.” I didn’t want to induce crying anyway so instead of seeing it as a parenting failure I saw it as my way of being a nice mom.
I found a lot of the spoons and Tupperware containers I was missing — jammed in drawers and the Lego bin. I used that opportunity to bust out the, “This is how you get ants!” warning and then passed down a verbal cease and desist about my dishes.
A lot of missing socks were also discovered; there was one in a DVD case, which I didn’t know was even possible.
Once the toys were tackled it was time for the books.
My kid is not a huge reader but as I prepped the bag for the little free library down the road he suddenly turned into a scholar, flipping through the pages, reading out loud and finding Waldo in all situations. We ended up with six books to donate and when I sent the kid down to drop them off at the free library he brought back three of them and five new ones so we didn’t really make out ahead.
On Sunday evening we both emerged. We were a bit frazzled but surprisingly it wasn’t the most stressful clean I’ve had to endure and we weren’t as dehydrated from all the shed tears as I thought we would be. As we descended the stairs I reiterated the “new rules.” No food (mentioned those ants again) and this was how I expected it to stay from now on. We both know those two things will be out the window by next week but it’s the thought that counts.
We made it through. The end total was five rediscovered socks, five new books, two boxes of donate items and $4.35 in change. We never did find the DVD that was supposed to go where the sock was though.