I actually look forward to it. I love organizing, it’s just fun to sort things out & get rid of junk.
We have a walk-in attic above the kitchen, which you can get to through Emily’s room or through the “barn.” The “barn” is an unfinished 2 story addition on the back of our house. Well it is finished, it’s just not heated. We store things out there. And inevitably, it gets messy. Especially in the winter when it’s cold, REALLY cold out there, so things just get thrown in. It actually wasn’t too bad this year, but we definitely needed to clean it out.
This past winter, I started a “toy swap” idea with the kids. They have so many toys, but they just weren’t playing with them because it was overwhelming, plus I was tired of all the toy clutter in my living room. So I decided that we would pick a few toys to have “out” and the rest would go in the attic or barn until they were swapped out again. It’s actually worked pretty well and I find myself questioning why I never thought of it before. I mean it’s a pretty basic organizing idea, not like some genius solution. I could have saved myself a lot of frustration the past couple years by doing this. Oh well. Better late than never right? You live and learn.
So my “toy swap” worked nicely. I would put all the stored toys in boxes and ask Nate to move them into the barn or attic. The only problem was Nate would just toss them into the attic (which I should mention we had organized quite nicely late last summer.) Literally there were piles of boxes haphazardly stacked with toys falling out. Add one more thing onto my spring cleaning list – organize the attic… once again.
In the barn, we store general stuff in the lower half – gardening tools, pet stuff, empty boxes I use for shipping ebay stuff (I sell things on occasion – it helps to fund my addiction to Gymboree clothes – that’s another story for another day 😉 )
I also store non-perishable groceries I get with my coupons. I have a large table with dozens of cereal boxes. It’s quite fun, really. It’s like we have our own mini store. And the best part is that I never pay more than $1.00 per box of cereal, usually more like 25-50 cents each. For good, name-brand cereal. Thank you, coupons! =)
In the upper barn, Nate has his computer and all his “junk” (tools, tech stuff, all the junk that guys love to accumulate.) There’s also some old cupboards where I store canned goods & a bunch of other groceries. This is where it got really messy. Nate had piles of boxes with all this stuff in it. I couldn’t organize the attic because I had to have a place to move all those toys out to and I couldn’t with Nate’s stuff.
But do you know what? Nate actually cleaned it up. He organized all his stuff this weekend. Can you believe it? I was so shocked and thrilled. I don’t mean to put him in a bad light (and hon, if you are reading this, truly I don’t) but he just doesn’t do stuff like that often. I think it’s because he’s truly so busy with work and when he is home, there’s always things to do. So attic & barn cleaning out gets moved to the back of the to-do list. But this weekend he got to it! YEAH! =)
What’s funny to me though is that to Nate, his stuff is very organized. And believe me, it is compared to what it was before. But to me, it’s not in the least. It’s still random piles of junk, shelves (I think that’s what they are, but I’m not really sure) affixed in unique ways to the wall, wires and cords rolled up and hung from plant hangers (I’m not kidding you!) I still don’t know how he will find anything. But he spent hours working on it, so I know there’s a “man” method to it. But my female brain doesn’t get it.
We don’t have a garage, so I guess the barn is Nate’s garage. And we all know that the garage is a man’s castle, right? (I’m laughing here…)
So that was our weekend.
Today (Monday) I spent my day doing regular picking up & cleaning & putting laundry away. Then I took the kids upstairs and we tackled the mountain of toys in the attic. I had toys to put away because Emily had outgrown them, toys to keep in the toy swap circulation, toys to sell on ebay, toys to give away to Good Will, and then of course there’s always little pieces that you have to find and put together.
I also found Nathan’s peek-a-blocks that I have been looking for for at least a year! I thought I had accidently thrown them out, but nope. They were in the bottom of a box with a bunch of stuffed animals on top. I had opened the box and mistakenly thought it was all stuffed toys. Of course, I had bought Emily a bunch more peek-a-blocks for her birthday & Christmas. We are overrun with peek-a-blocks now. (If you’re wondering what they are, they’re Fisher Price clear plastic blocks that feature something inside – a ball, an animal, etc. You “peek” inside them. They’re educational and the kids LOVE them. I can’t believe how hard it is to find them anymore. I think FP is crazy for discontinuing them!)
That’s the other thing I love about organizing. I usually find some “treasure” that has previously been lost.
Oh yes. When I say “we tackled the mountain of toys,” I mean I desperately attempted to get the toys into an organized fashion, while the kids just as diligently worked to undo my efforts. I found my dear late grandmother’s special ball that she had crocheted by hand for Nathan, put it into one of my special “memory” boxes, and not 5 minutes later, Nathan is throwing it around into the piles of dirt & dust!
“Oh, Mommy, I just wanted to play with the ball!”