Get the exclusive (almost) Weekly Digest.

    The Late Great Purge of 2008

    April 10, 2008 by Brandy Vencel

    Last night, Si was working in the office, and I was antsy. I did the dishes, prepared breakfast for the morning, and tidied up a bit. I am usually beat by the end of the day, so it was unusual for me to feel like I could keep going. But I did. I’ve had the urge to purge, so to speak.

    It all started when my mom and I marked out a day on the calendar for a garage sale. Si and I are hoping to buy a home soon. We’re even meeting with a realtor tonight. And if I even think about moving, my mind ends up pondering all our junk, and do I really want to take it with us?

    I use the term junk loosely.

    And then there was one blogger, Jeana, with her children waxing eloquent about how much richer their life is now that they don’t have any stuff holding them back.

    And then there was the bickering of this week, where even though our house often looks like Toys R Us became quite ill and vomited its contents into my living room, two certain children who will remain nameless can both manage to pick up the same boring toy, like an oversized plastic spoon, and yell at each other over who had it first.

    A house full of toys and they argue over a spoon!

    But still…

    I have held back from really purging the toys. Oh, sure, I often toss a small box whenever we have a garage sale. But, people, we acquire a lot more than that through the course of the year, which is ironic since I can’t even remember the last time I bought them toys.

    Maybe I never have.

    But they have generous family that give them things for Christmas, birthdays, Easter, Fourth of July…you get the picture.

    {Just kidding about Fourth of July.}

    Because the toys are all gifts, I find myself plagued by guilt over getting rid of them unless they are truly damaged beyond repair.

    But does my almost-six-year-old really still need his stacking toy from when he was nine-months-old?

    Another issue is that I save things. Oh, yes, because, you know, I am always pregnant. So I am always plagued by the constant questioning of whether the next baby really needs this toy right here, and then won’t we regret getting rid of it?

    And meanwhile the toy boxes in two rooms and the three toy baskets, and oh! the toy shelves overfloweth.

    Something had to give.

    When Q. was born I noticed something interesting: Babies with older siblings need fewer toys than firstborns. They aren’t nearly as interested in toys as they are in all the people that are constantly popping into their line of vision.

    So last night, I took the plunge. I dug through the toys and I did a serious purge. And, to be honest, I am not sure I’m done. I might just do another go-round tonight if I’m feeling a little crazy.

    I felt that tug of guilt when I picked up a toy phone that operates well and even entertains Q. from time to time. I almost put it back down. And then I counted. Yup. We had six toy phones in the toy box. So I did a mental head count. Yup. So far, I don’t have six kids. I bet we could get rid of a phone or two or five.

    I started with one. Baby steps, you know.

    I went back later and tossed another one!

    And so it goes.

    Usually, when I do a toy toss, even a very small one, the children harass me about it. But today was unusual. I had organized some of the remaining toys so that the parts were all together, and they played nicely with those.

    No bickering, either.

    It is amazing how stuff can tie us down, but getting rid of it is a source of freedom in a way.

    Now I just hope people buy it at the garage sale so that I can have some serious {as in more than zero} decorating money in the event that we actually get a house.

    Get the (almost) weekly digest!

    Weekly encouragement, direct to your inbox, (almost) every Saturday.

    Powered by ConvertKit


  • Reply Brandy April 10, 2008 at 9:15 pm

    Oh, it does!

  • Reply Jeana April 10, 2008 at 9:13 pm

    Doesn’t it feel good?!

  • Reply Brandy April 10, 2008 at 8:07 pm

    Don’t congratulate me yet…We have friends who have had a few offers they have made fall through. We are looking at foreclosures and short sales, making the process a bit more complicated. Just pray that the right house loves us back. 🙂

    About toys: my mistake was saving too much for future kids. I mean, of course we needed some things. But really. I saved everything. And then Kid #2 got some toys of her own. I saved all those, too! I am a saver, and in this situation it’s a downfall.

  • Reply Ellen April 10, 2008 at 6:55 pm

    Oh yeah, and congratulations about the house! I’ll be very interested in that process. And I have a shed full of junk we had in storage that I’m dreading getting into day before we buy a house. =)

  • Reply Ellen April 10, 2008 at 6:54 pm

    This is funny. I just bought Seth a toy phone today at Target because he doesn’t have one that actually looks like a phone. When you have one, I think you worry that you don’t have enough toys. =) Hard to imagine having an overabundance of toys problem, but I’m sure I’ll get there soon enough. =)

  • Leave a Reply