Operation Reduce Commences NOW.

When Donnie and I shopped for houses two years ago, we focused mainly on size. We were hoping to add at least one – hopefully 2 – more kids to the mix. We also didn’t mind looking at houses that needed updating because Donnie and I enjoyed renovating our old house. He built a custom closet, tiled floors, painted, etc. I updated light fixtures and sink hardware. We settled in on this house that was huge but needed quite a bit of work.

It’s our forever home! We have our whole lives to update it!

We’ve been here four years now and haven’t done anything since we moved in.

Here’s two big problems:

1. My body sucks
We weren’t able to have more kids – it seems – and my reproductive issues have gotten worse and worse. I am now scheduled for surgery that will make conception basically impossible. We have let go of the idea of having more kids.

2. We became one-million times more busy.
We both start our athletic/health kicks to extreme levels after we bought this house. Meaning that all of our “free time” now goes to working out and training. Not to painting. Or even cleaning.

So. We made the horribly depressing decision to sell this house. It’s waaaaay too big for our needs now and we are waaaaaay too busy to care for it.

While this makes me sad on about 100 million levels, I’m also – at heart – a minimalist. This means I get to start really paring down our crap. Truth is? I’m pretty good about keeping tabs on that stuff anyway. I don’t like having every closet full of storage and every room full of furniture. While we bought a bunch of furniture for this house, it’s still no where near as full as it could be. And we still have copious amounts of closet space not being used. So…we are in a good position to cut the size of our house by a half.

But still – we hope to cut the size of our house down to a half. That fact combined with the simple need to prepare this house for sale, and we have started Operation Reduce. It’s easier to keep a house clean for showings if you don’t have too much crap to begin with. Plus, if we don’t want to take that crap with us, then now is the perfect time to sort through all of the crap we own.

This weekend we got started on the yard and…THE KID’S CRAP.

Nikkiz and Wesley have pretty big bedrooms, as bedrooms go. Plus, they have a giant playroom. This means that – over the last four years – they have accumulated quite a bit of crap. I’ve always been good about going through toys and such before birthdays and Christmas so that we’re not just piling on new toys on top of old stuff. We make regular trips to goodwill. However, they still have a lot of stuff. And if we have an extra room in the next house? It will not be a playroom. It will be an office. So, they need to be able to fit all of their toys in their own bedrooms.

By the time the weekend was over I had made 2 30-gallon bags for goodwill and 6 bags for garbage. They had so many broken toys and stained clothes and games missing pieces and electronics ruined by markers and liquids…I was just appalled. This is what happens when your kids have too much crap. They don’t take care of it because they have so much crap it doesn’t matter if something gets ruined.

Let’s just say there was a lot of exasperated, “ARE YOU KIDDING ME?”s being shouted this weekend.

By the weekend’s end, we had cleared out this many containers. That’s a lot of stuff that:
A) I won’t have to clean up every time we have to show the house or
B) We won’t be taking with us.

This feels so damn refreshing to someone like me!

And I kept the kids a part of everything. For example, I made a pile of all of their stuffed animals and made them fit what they wanted in one bucket. I gave Wes his box of matchbox cars and made him make them fit into a box half the size. I kept giving them smaller containers to put stuff in so they’d have to weed through the piles they had. It actually went really well. They didn’t pitch fits because they thought the whole process was kind of fun, going through every toy they owned. And most of the time? They didn’t even fill up the container I gave them.

The first weekend was a success. I feel 9 bags of clutter lighter. And I’m only mildly overwhelmed by how much left there is to do. If we can get our house on the market sometime in the Fall, we’ll be lucky. But we’re not sure how feasible that is.

I mainly just can’t wait to live in a smaller house that will require less cleaning.

Not that I do it in this house, but at least the amount I’m not doing isn’t quite as large as the amount I won’t be doing in a smaller house.

6 thoughts on “Operation Reduce Commences NOW.”

  1. Have you thought about having a garage/yard sale? Some people don’t like the hassle, but we have one about once every 1/2 years and the kids love it. We price things cheap so they sell, but what the kids sell they get to put the money in their piggy bank or savings account or a familiy vacation/fun-thing-to-do account.

  2. Getting rid of stuff is SUCH a good feeling! And most of the time it’s crap you didn’t even realize you had lying around.

  3. Swistle – Thistleville – Swistle lives with her husband Paul and children Robert (born 1999), William (born 2001), twins Elizabeth and Edward (born 2005), and Henry (born 2007). Email: Swistle at Gmail dot com. "Swistle" rhymes with "thistle."
    Swistle says:

    This is so overwhelming/satisfying.

  4. Way to go! Before you totally get rid of the matchbox cars Wes weeded out,, I saw a really cool thing the other day where someone made a shadowbox with their kids’ old cars and turned it into something to hang on the wall. Could be a neat way to hang on to them and then pass them on to his son some day.

  5. Carol Marks – Alabama – Opinion blogger, sharing my ReMarks on current affairs because I have stuff to say.
    Carol says:

    Oh yes, I love doing this at my house too. And lately, I don’t know what it is, but I have seriously wanted to start minimalizing and simplifying. I think it is the prelude to the empty nest syndrome for me.

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