I'm not so good at Spring cleaning. I am, however, excellent at The Spring Purge. I go through the kids clothes, their toys, the linen closet, our closet, the front closet, the kitchen, every corner of the house, editing, cutting, and deleting items from our lives. I'm a good three quarters of the way there this year. Those Spring-like days where it's deceptively sunny, but when you actually go outside you realize that wind is still bitter cold, those are the best days to get me motivated to cull through our house. I love simplifying our lives by getting rid of those things, that 'stuff' that I spend so much time sorting, tidying, and taking care of.
My problem lies in the fact that this is an annual thing, especially since I've had kids. I get a huge 'yardsale pile', sometimes actually have a yardsale, sometimes not, and the remainder goes to the charity bin. It's still good stuff, just unused in our house. But will they actually be able to sell it to someone who will use it? Or is it really just unusable garbage created in our consumerist cycle. (Take twenty minutes here and watch Annie Leonard's Story of Stuff. It's useful food for thought.)
This year I've been brewing on some ideas to put an end to this cycle. Where do we get this stuff? A lot of it is clothes. I'd have to swallow my pride to get over this hurdle. The pile consists of clothes that are a little worn from use (or from washing, it's debatable), I only keep the really nice ones to hand down to the next kid, knowing full well that between birthdays and holidays and my finding deals that they will never have a lack of newer, less worn clothes. The pile also consists of clothes that are just not quite my 'style' or 'in style', both terms created in the 50's to create 'the consumer', to keep us buying and support the economy. An ideology that is killing the environment. We buy much more than we could ever possibly need!
A lot of it is also toys. Ones that never seemed to capture the kids attention in the first place, or were annoying so ended up never having the batteries replaced, or ones that they already have eight of. I feel like I can battle this one. I think for the kids birthday parties with their friends I'm going to request no-gifts. And I genuinely think the kids will support me on this one for their birthdays. They get excited for their birthday parties for the chance to have their friends over all at once, do something fun, and eat cake and ice-cream. One of Thane's favorite birthday gifts was a drawing he received from his buddy. They'll still receive a handful of gifts between their grandparents and us, and they'll be more likely to be meaningful gifts that the kids are actually interested in. I know when I shop for another child's birthday that one of mine is attending, I often don't know this birthday child's likes and dislikes at all and buy a generic gift that may or may not even be appreciated. I'm sure I can back off at Christmas, no one needs or can possibly appreciate the copious amount of gifts Christmas often brings. Introducing the concept early to my kids that less is more can't hurt.
And what better way to celebrate Earth Day than to make a few Earth Day resolutions. Any other ideas?
I have more to chat on about the Spring cleaning itself, I'll get back to you!