Moms Talk: A New Year, A New Pile of Stuff

The holiday season is officially over, and a lot of moms are looking at their kids’ holiday loot and thinking the universal question: “Where do I put all this stuff?” Let's put our heads together and tackle the clutter!

I stood in the middle of the toy room floor, surveying the chaos left over from Christmas with a nervous twitch in my eye.

I realized I needed help, and I thought some of you might too. 

Let me preface all my complaining by saying I recognize this to be a first world problem. "Help! I have too much stuff!" Yeah, I know. 

Here's the deal:

My kids were very blessed by generous family members this year, and they racked up a considerable amount of fantastic new toys and gifts. I’m very grateful for all they got, but I also don’t really have any extra space in my little house. What I’m in need of is a good purging and organizing session to make room for the new things, and judging by the new store displays of bins and shelves and boxes cropping up all over the city, I’m not the only one.

One issue I have is that my kids don’t like to get rid of things. I have friends whose children know they have to get rid of something for every new thing that comes into the house. I envy them.

My children inherited their pack-rattery from my dear husband, who can find usefulness in anything (and I have a garage full of empty coffee cans and jars to prove it).

“But we might need that some day!” This is the creed in my home. So like any sane person in a house full of nuts, I wait until they’re not looking and raid the joint.

I’ll sell some of my things in consignment sales, and they abound in our area. My favorite site for tracking down sales is The Bargain Watcher. Sales are searcheable by date, location or sale name, and I've found consignment sales to be a great way to make a little cash for our unwanted or outgrown items.

If I’m not selling, I usually end up stuffing things in bags and hauling them to Goodwill, but I’ve recently been looking at some other options. I have friends who use Freecycle and love it. You just post your unwanted stuff, and people will come pick it up. Easy as pie!

I also like to give to charities where the donations are truly needed. We have a few in our area that do great work for families in need. The Quinn House in Lawrenceville runs a thrift store where 100% of the donations and proceeds from sales in the thrift store are put back into the ministry, which provides help to needy families in a variety of ways. They do everything from providing housing to homeless families to giving Easter baskets to needy kids to running a free drug and alcohol recovery program. You can learn more about them by visiting their website.

If you have unused toys or clothes you’d like to donate, The Gwinnett Children’s Shelter is in need of new clothing and birthday gifts for boys and girls, particularly teens.

Do you have a favorite local charity? Please share!

As for organization? ‘Tis the season! Like I mentioned earlier, stores are stocked with organization tools. I’m headed out to pick up a few later today. I’ve also seen some really clever ways to organize toys lately that I’d like to incorporate in my house. For example, this “zoo” for stuffed animals is a fantastic idea, and you can DIY!

Are you a master organizer with some good tips for the rest of us who are trying to wrangle our stuff? Do you have a brilliant idea for de-cluttering and making life easier and less chaotic? Please share. Please. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I need all the help I can get!

Jennifer Silas January 06, 2012 at 07:56 PM
Who says the kids should have a say so in what stays and what goes? We have resorted to putting all the scattered stuffed animals in a bag in the attic. After a full year neither child expressed a need or even noticed a missing animal. My husband is the opposite of yours. He will pitch anything that takes up space. He "purged" the cookbooks once....once....he will never live that down. And he was frustrated with me when I pulled some of my "favorites" from said stuffed animal bag to restore them to the kids rooms before they were taken to the Gwinnett Gladiator's "Teddy Bear Toss" game. The method is a good one though. Put items in a bin or bag and put it in the attic. If after a year or six months you don't need to get something from that bag, donate it.
Raven Nichols January 06, 2012 at 08:29 PM
I did actually try that. And those bins and boxes are still in the attic-- after ten years! Maybe my husband and kids aren't the only ones with a problem! :)
Jessica January 09, 2012 at 02:54 AM
Love some consignment sales - I always use www.ConsignmentMommies.com to find sales in my area.


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