It’s that time of year again when most of us get more.
More. More. More!
More of everything — More toys. More clothes. More books. More decorations. More things on the to-do list. More food.
I already have a few more pounds I’m trying to stuff inside this old pair of jeans. (I’m not exaggerating when I say I’m busting at the seams over here. Y’all feel me?)
We’re also busting at the seams here at home. There is just so much stuff everywhere. As homeschoolers, every aspect of life merges with every other aspect of life. It gets . . . messy. And now, we’re on the verge of acquiring even more stuff come December 25.
Here’s the painful truth: We’ve got too much stuff.
It’s a heck of a lot easier to just go buy new jeans to squeeze my extra flesh into than it is to go buy a new house and squeeze in all our holiday swag.
Of course, there is the option to simply eliminate the excess.
My number one home organizing trick for the holidays can be summed up with one familiar motto:
OUT WITH THE OLD. IN WITH THE NEW.
Here’s an easy guide to help you eliminate some extra stuff in a hurry.
Organize Your Homeschooling | What To Do When You Have Too Much Stuff
Too Much Stuff Solution #1: If it’s broken, throw it away.
This goes for any and all toys, games, sports equipment, etc.
If that poor porcelain doll’s hand was going to be superglued back onto her wrist, it would have been done by now. I bet she’s been sitting on the shelf with her hand laying in her lap for like eighteen months now.
I know, there’s an emotional attachment there. Here’s how you get through that:
• Hide the broken item for a week or two and see if anyone notices that it’s missing. Then you will know if you can trash it or not.
• Take a picture of the beloved, broken item and save that as a memento.
• Change your thinking. Is there significant emotional value in that such-and-such from Aunt Sally? Or is it that you feel guilty for removing it from your home even though it’s more like trash than treasure?
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Too much stuff Solution #2: If there are missing pieces, throw it away.
Ultimately, games, puzzles, etc. with missing pieces cannot be used for the intended functionality; they are broken. Let it go. (Refer to Solution #1.)
Too Much Stuff Solution #3: Send “collections” on vacation.
Does your child have so many stuffed animals that you can’t see the floor in their room? Legos everywhere? Half-dressed Barbies roaming around? Trading cards scattered about the house? Books, books, and more books?
Box/bag up the majority of their collection and stuff it in a closet or under the bed for an indefinite amount of time. You’re not removing it from your child’s life forever. However, you are eliminating a great deal of clutter and excess junk during the holidays. (Ahem, I mean, beloved possessions. Did I say, “junk’? My mistake.)
Too Much Stuff Solution #4: Donate a few items.
Simply tell the children that your family is going to donate a few items to less fortunate families.
Let them see you go first. Round up that bread maker that hasn’t been used since Fall 2014, those boots you love but can’t wear because the third pregnancy stretched everything out, and those old VHS tapes no one is watching. Throw the VCR in with it.
Then, ask your kids to choose a few items from their room that they would like to donate. Give them a laundry basket and set them loose for five minutes. Try to be as hands-off as possible. You can then interfere (or not) with whatever they have chosen when they return the basket to you.
Drop off all these goodies at a conveniently located donation center. They are everywhere, people. It’s ridiculously convenient to donate these days.
Too Much Stuff Solution #5: Get rid of clothes that don’t fit.
I know, this takes time and effort to really do it right. But, luckily, we’re not trying to do it right. We’re just trying to eliminate a few things because we’re about to acquire a few new things.
• Run a 45 second inventory of your closet. Pick out anything you dread wearing.
• Run a 45 second inventory of your drawers. If your socks and undies have holes in them, then you know what to do.
• Ask the kids (don’t go digging through their rooms right now), “Hey, do you have any clothes that are just too small in your closet? In your drawers?” You may be surprised at what they come up with.
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Too Much Stuff Solution #6: Stack those papers high.
Have you got school papers everywhere? Me too! I mean, we are homeschoolers.
Don’t do anything drastic like sorting and filing right now. Nope. Right now, all you have to do is gather the papers.
That’s right. Just make a super tall stack and let them sit together for a few weeks. Go ahead and mix all the different grade levels and subjects and assignments. The goal for right now is to simply get them out from underneath the Christmas tree.
See? There’s no real sorting going on here. We’re not labeling any boxes. We’re definitely not shuffling stuff around the garage or alphabetizing files. Nobody has time for that during this time of year. We’re just making a little wiggle room in our homes for the holidays. We’re just making things a little less chaotic and a little bit more organized.
Take ten minutes and make one of these solutions work for you and your home/homeschool this season. I’m taking the next ten minutes to cram myself into a pair of SPANX.
Angelene Woodard is a wife, mother, writer, and reluctant homeschooler who blogs about her frustrations and victories at www.unqualifiedmom.com where she encourages fellow Christians to embrace their weakness and accept His strength.
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