Friday, June 25, 2010

The clean out: 2010

Almost exactly one year later, to the date, I hit the girls' room again for my annual trash and toss. This year the job went a little faster. It only took me three hours, instead of three days, to go through all their toys, books, clothes and other junk. This year the big surprise was all the hidden clothing stashed under here or behind there. I found tshirts, socks, underwear and shorts aplenty. These are the same girls who complained that they have "nothing to wear." Now I know why.

I have four bags for Goodwill, six bags for recycling and two bags of books to donate to the library book sale. Annabelle was headed to a babysitting job, so she took a purple baton, two stuffed dogs and two books for her little friends. Nothing gives a mom satisfaction like the sight of a cleaned out, and cleaned up room.


The Clean Up
Napa Valley Register
June 28, 2009
by Jennifer Huffman

I’d plotted. I’d planned. I’d circled the scene repeatedly, waiting for just the right moment to attack.

Then last week I did something I’d wanted to do for a long time: I cleaned out my daughters’ bedroom.

What’s the big deal? Don’t my kids pick up their own rooms? Sure they do. They make their beds (most days) and tidy up. But that’s just an illusion. Look under that pile of toys or in the corner of the closet and you’ll find a much deeper black hole.

Every time I went into the bedroom of my two youngest, my fingers would involuntarily draw closer to the piles of crap. I wanted in, and bad.

Eyeing their so-called collections of plastic junk, Dollar Store knickknacks and tchotchkes, I’d think to myself, I’ve got your number, Bedroom. Your time is up.

But if tried to do the big clean-up when they were at home, I’d never hear the end of it. “You’re throwing that away? Nooooooo!”

Every item destined for Goodwill would be scrutinized. A previously forgotten stuffed animal would suddenly take on the role of Treasured Childhood Toy That I Could Never Part With.

Obviously, this was a somewhat delicate situation. Luckily, one occupant was sent away on an outing for a few nights. While the other played outside, I made my move.

First to go were the Bratz dolls with their amputated feet, the Bratz sushi bar and Bratz Boyz motorcycle. No one would miss those Bratz. For good measure I chucked a bunch of wild-haired naked Barbies. My arms pinwheeled backwards like a cartoon character’s as I created growing piles of Keep, Toss and Donate.

Shoved under one dresser — surprise, surprise — I found a crumpled-up social studies test with a less-than-stellar grade. I found enough Dollar Store stuff to reverse the trade debt with China, empty gum wrappers galore, dust animals and more junk.

It was easy to get rid of the trashy Bratz and trashed Barbies, but the Groovy Girls were another thing. These soft dolls with floppy bodies and colorful, funky clothes were my favorites. Unfortunately, the girls didn’t quite take to the Groovy Girls like mom did.

I want my daughters to be Groovy Girls, not Bratz. Was I giving away a good girl role model? Be tough, I told myself. Their room was overflowing. This was no time to be sentimental over dolls no one played with anymore.

Reluctantly, I gathered up the Groovy Girls, their tent, guitar, couch, iguana and other Groovy pets and put them into the Donate pile.

The youngest one came in and I put her to work sorting Littlest Pets from Lego parts. Whatever doesn’t fit into these two containers goes, I told her. I collected into a bin what seemed like 10,000 pieces of jewelry. All the Playmobil got consolidated, with Noah’s ark rising to the top of the heap.

Three days later, I was so done with that room. I’d made two trips to Goodwill and the library donation box, and filled both our recycling toter and the neighbor’s.

After a friend said she’d take the Groovy Girls, Barbies and Bratz for her little girl, I quickly loaded the dolls, their furniture and clothes into my minivan and headed to her house. I didn’t want her to change her mind. Plus, I needed to get rid of the evidence before my girls got home.

Like Doll Delivery Fairies, my two assistants and I carried the loot into little Parker’s room. As we unpacked all the dolls Parker, 3, could only stare at us in wonder.

The Groovy Girls went to a good home. My girls would still be groovy, even without the dolls.

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