Friday, January 18, 2013

Organization Push

It's amazing how getting three new bookshelves has started me on an organizing spree.  Initially I had just intended to toss the girls' books up on the shelves according to reading level and category and leave it at that.  But somehow or another setting up the bookshelves has sent me on an organizational cleaning frenzy.  It's been a week long process at this point and each day has me spending more and more time working on getting everything in order or sent to the trash or a donation pile.

It's probably a good thing that I'm doing all of this organization since I can't stand when everything doesn't have a place and isn't in it's designated place.  But, there are times when I tell Bryan I wish I could just get rid of about half of what we have.  His standard response to that is "Go for it!" but tossing/donating things I know we'll need a few years down the line keeps me from being able to do it. I can't justify getting rid of something that I know I'll have to turn around and buy again in a few years.

I have noticed a trend with a lot of the things that we are able to donate.  Most of it came from years ago when it seemed like our family members made it their personal mission to spoil the girls with loads of gifts.  As I sort through books, toys and what not I keep finding lots of things that were Christmas presents from when we lived in our old house (six years ago) that are still in their original packaging.  It reminds me of all the Christmas Eve's where I had to take about half of what I bought for the girls and put it away for later.  Actually, many of those gifts I bought are still sitting in my closet with the wrapping paper on them.  Every year during Advent I usually unwrap some of those gifts and donate them to our church or Toys for Tots.

And then there are all of the workbooks and things of that nature!  Oh my, I have enough activity and school workbooks to homeschool a bunch of kids!  I don't know how I amassed so many of these books.  I know a few were given to us, but the rest were all brought by me or sent to me as review products.  I tossed some of the ones that were mostly consumed but the others are sitting in a pile.  I may have to see if any of the families I know who homeschool can use any of these books.  Some of the books I know I can use for Katie or Ellie, but I have so much geared to the kindergarten and 1st grade level that I'd have to have three more kids to be able to use it all.  It's really overkill.

Our collection of children's books is huge.  Some of them are my old books, others' are yard sale finds, and a ton of them came from Bryan's aunt who used to give Madeline books by the stack.  Now I need to go through all of the books and determine which ones we actually read or will read, and which ones should be given away.  There are several books that the girls aren't allowed to read because we don't like their message.  Books like Junie B Jones are out because we  don't like her attitude.  Anything by Judy Blume is out because I won't support an author who has morals that are radically different from ours.  And then there's that awful Rainbow Fish.  Some of the books are fine, but the original has no place in our house.  My kids don't need to be fed any propaganda about falling into lockstep with everyone else in order to be liked.  So as I go through the books I'll be paging through some of the unfamiliar titles and seeing which ones will be donated to someone else.

And then there are the "educational toys."  I came to the conclusion about five years ago that these "educational toys" are a waste of time and are designed to prey on parents who think their child will be the next up and coming genius if they play with the latest electronic learning toy.  Want to know what toys are the best?  The ones that don't use any batteries and let the child use his or her imagination.  So all of those brainy toys really need to find their way out of our house.  And, they should take Barbie and her material world with them.  Ellie managed to convince my mom to buy her the Rapunzel Barbie doll that she wanted for Christmas much to my dismay.  Oddly enough, for as much as Ellie wanted this doll it is still sitting in it's package. It's one of a few toys Ellie has had no interest in opening since Christmas morning.  I guess the allure of the American Girl Caroline doll was stronger than the plastic coated wires that hold Rapunzel in her box.  So I think we're going to cull a lot of Leap Frog and Barbie toys from our home in the near future.  They don't make the kids smarter.  If anything, I think they stifle creativity and learning.  In the case of Barbie, I think she just sets girls up to have an unrealistic body image.

I think I need to thin out some of the toys that we do like, too.  We have enough Little People to populate a Little People metro area and it's surrounding area.  The problem is I'm rather fond of the Little People and so are the kids.

So far I've tossed out a lot of stuff and the donation pile is growing by a lot.  I'm hoping that within another week or two that we will have eliminated a lot of unnecessary things from our house.  I've noticed that the girls' closets are packed again, which is odd considering that I've hardly done any clothes shopping for them.  I guess this stuff just multiplies.  I guess I'll be going through the clothes again in the near future.  Hopefully some of the families I've been giving clothes will be willing to take some more hand me downs.

On the bright side, certain areas of the house are looking pretty good.  I've even eliminated some of the problem areas where Katie routinely was creating messes.  My goal is to get to a point where the only things she can get into and make messes with will be her own things.

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