Books, stuffed animals, books, stuffed animals, books…

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Summer can get so busy. It’s all fun stuff so it’s O.K. However, the past week, we have all been on a cleaning spree. On July 4th, we got a new bed for my older daughter which prompted another level of cleaning. My son caught the fever and we attacked his bookshelf. My other daughter finally decided to tackle her large assortment of stuffed animals.

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I got the bug, even though I was exhausted from cleaning three kid rooms alongside my children. I cleared out old kitchen hand towels from my front entry storage bench. Everything fits nicely now. I laughed when I tossed the green towels because they were terrible from the day I bought them but I never got rid of them. I bought them to be drying towels. They seemed absorbent when I felt them. After one cereal bowl, they were drenched. Useless for drying anything but one dish. Now they are gone.

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My daughter’s room now has a cozy reading area once she felt ready to toss a few stuffed animals. They were located in a long, hanging pink netting with shelves as well as in a storage bench and in a pop up hamper. Now they all fit in the hamper. Progress. The bench is useful for sitting and the nook has room for a comfy bean bag chair and pillows. This seemingly small step made space for a new place of peace for her. Decluttering can do that – free us up to experience peace. Even kids need a space to decompress. Maybe especially kids need a place to decompress. I am amazed what my children face daily in this world. The friend pressure, school work, and just normal changes we all faced. A cozy nook to escape into quiet and peace is what every man, woman and child needs. If you have kids, make sure they have a mini-retreat place in your home. After some simple decluttering, mine all do.

As you see from the main picture and title, our home overflows in stuffed animals and books. Crazy. We all purged books this past week. I have at least 70 to donate. I am surprised at my progress in getting rid of books. I mentioned before it is hard for me. I cherish every book I read. I rarely reread them but I keep them as reminders of a moment of peace or a story that captured me or in some cases, changed me. Books have such power. I am grateful I now know that the power can be passed on for others to enjoy. Donating books to friends, libraries, or even Goodwill, provides a new opportunity for the book to come to life in someone else’s mind. I readily put the Christian board books into the hands of a new mommy. Her precious daughter will hear about God’s love at this young age. The chapter books will most likely go to the library. There are never enough copies of the good books in a series. This way, everyone can read Judy Moody when they want to and not wait for it to be returned. Some of the books will go to Goodwill. The clientelle at their stores will be treated to some quality books in great condition. Books are my new favorite donation. I know that by doing this, many are impacted. Much more than someone who buys an old toaster.

Dream Big!

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The Past

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Another blog with non-related junk to toss and almost two weeks have passed. The school and paperwork I tossed was simple. Every year I stuff school paperwork, assignments and artwork in a folder for each child. In June, we go through and toss or save. The save paperwork is put in a nice plastic storage box in their bedroom closets. The day of purging the school folders is so nice. Next year will be easier because I have two middle schoolers in the fall. I had barely any paperwork for my current middle schooler for she rarely created artwork or made special papers. Sad but easier. My youngest will keep on filling up his folder though. Below is the result of just two elementary school folders. Surprisingly, my 5th grader had more than my 3rd grader.

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Later, I tackled our construction paper/sticker box. Crazy full. Here is just a glimpse of what got the boot. I have a huge bag of stickers. They just accumulated over the years. It was funny to trace my childen’s interests in stickers. The various phases are: dinosaurs, Disney’s Cars, tons of Disney princesses, Pooh Bear, ballerina, High School musical, and so much more. All the fads represented in stickers.

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Last but the hardest so not the least, Barbie clean out. My mom is awesome because she saved all my Barbie stuff. The Barbie airplane, camper, boat, car and bicycle survived all these years. My kids haven’t played with them in the past year or so and we decided it was time to purge a bit. The clothes were divided into still cool and too ugly even though retro. I had several items that were handmade by my sister which I will return to her. The dolls are mostly my daughter’s but they only kept a few. We had even more because our sweet neighbor gave us her daughter’s Barbie stuff when she went to college. The big items are still with us. Mostly clothes, dolls, the cars and a ton of clothes got tossed but that made a huge cut in storage space. The items will go to another friend who has younger girls and another generation will play make-believe with these dolls.

Barbie to me was always a place I could live out my dreams. My Barbie was always a singer, eventually married and then a mom. She let me explore my dreams though play. I think she is that for kids today too. The Barbies in my house were athletes, scientists, princesses, moms, singers, fashion designers and much more. This is a tough passage to get rid of some (not all). It means my kids are starting to live their dreams not act them out with a doll. They are now at that stage. However, there are still times when they will pull all the stuff out and dream big. Thanks Barbie.

Dream Big!