Last spring I attended a large funeral of a lovely man who died far too early. The processional to his gravesite threatened to engulf much of my small town, so we carpooled to make it shorter. I crawled into my friend’s Wanda van, who was eager to play chauffeur until she recalled with horror the state of her vehicle.
Wanda has five children. And that means that Wanda’s van was filled with empty (and some not-so-empty) milkshake cups, library books, homework assignments, backpacks, a pair of flippers (don’t ask me why), and some clothes. Wanda was mortified to have us witness this. I thought this was funny, since I knew my van was in the same state, and I only have two kids to blame it on! We have many more Parenting Help Articles Now Available.
At any given moment, I have at least ten of those ridiculous toys they give out with kids’ meals littering my floor, along with countless plastic wrappers from who knows what, receipts, and, above all, crumbs. I console myself by saying that if we were ever stranded in the middle of nowhere, we could survive for several days just on what’s behind the booster seats.
Homes with Kids Are Messy!
I think we should forget the pretences. Kids are messy, and we shouldn’t pretend otherwise. I would like to affix a notice on my door that says, “By entering this house, you agree to recognize that small people live here. You realize that means more mess than any human being can reasonably be expected to clean up. You will agree not to look behind any furniture, not to survey the front hall with disdain, and not to notice if something feels squishy when you sit on the couch”.
Declutter For Sanity
That being said, I also know that we can’t just let our houses get taken over by mess. For one thing, it’s just too exhausting. Our local community college even offers a course in “de-cluttering”, for the simple reason that “de-cluttering” is one of the best things to do to reduce stress! Speaking as the mother of two young kids, I can tell you that I already have plenty of stress in my life, thank you very much. If de-cluttering will reduce it, I say let’s give it a try.
Get Rid of Forgotten Toys
Corral the kids into one area of the house, say the family room, their bedroom, or the basement. Make all toys stay there. Then, get rid of all the toys they don’t play with. I tried to do this recently. I decided that the kids had too many stuffed animals. This realization came about when noticing that our older daughter spends all night sniffing because she’s allergic to dust, while the younger stuffs these animals behind furniture when I tell her to clean up because their stuffed animal hammock is overflowing.
Learn to Be Sneaky
So I surveyed their homely lot, and chose twelve that the girls had not looked at since they were in diapers. I gathered them into several bags, hid the bags behind my back, and retreated quickly out the door. I threw them in the back of the van, where they would probably go unnoticed because of all the clutter. All was going fine until we headed out to the Salvation Army. It was then that I made my fatal mistake. I stopped at the grocery store first, where it was necessary to open the back of the van to retrieve the green boxes. Who should fall out but dear “Ellie” the Elephant and “Kitty”, who jingles mercilessly when you shake her.
Katie promptly burst into tears, declaring Ellie and Kitty her most favoured possessions. I made her agree to get rid of the others, but Ellie and Kitty sat in prominence on her bed for three days. They have now fallen behind the bed (Katie has not noticed), and tonight, when they are asleep, I may try my kidnapping escapade again. But this time, I will not stop at the grocery store first. We have many more Parenting Help Articles Now Available.