Depressed over messy, cluttered, ugly house!! Help? - Page 5 - Mothering Forums

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#121 of 267 Old 08-17-2006, 11:03 AM
 
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Still frustrated. I just can't seem to find time or motivation to tackle the huge mess that is my house. I try to pick up a bit of each days mess at the end of the day, but then I don't have the energy left to get into the real cleaning and decluttering. Doesn't help that my almost one year old wakes up a million times a night and I've got a foggy, sleep-deprived brain that can't make decisions or focus very well...

Marie-Mom to two boys and a girl.
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#122 of 267 Old 08-17-2006, 08:33 PM
 
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I'm so loving this thread. We just moved, so I have a fresh start. I did major decluttering before we packed up, but now that we're (slowly) unpacking, I'm finding a lot of crap I should have tossed the first time around.

Dh and I decided we wanted to build out our bedroom closet as opposed to having dressers. That's all well and good and I'm all about having less furniture, but we don't have the money right now, so clothes are just everywhere: I need to find a temporary and cheap storage solution. Any ideas?

Also, I've been doing so much better by just going through the house and throwing things away, putting things away and wiping off counters. I loves me some empty counter space

Thanks ladies!
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#123 of 267 Old 08-18-2006, 12:06 PM
 
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Originally Posted by LadyBug & BabyBug
my place is completely out of hand right now. dd is 4 weeks and i'm trying to figure out how to get the daily maintenance-type stuff done, much less decluttering. dd is 4 weeks old now and if me and the kids are fed, semi-dressed and somewhat clean then i'mcalling it a good day.
Good Lord don't beat yourself up! I remember having a 4 wk old-you're recovering from childbirth, everyone is adjusting to a new little one, and you're exhausted!! Now is not the time to try to do stuff! Is there anyone who can help you with the other little ones, and do some maintenance stuff?? It used to be communities all co-mothered and so the new mommy could spend time nursing and sleeping. We are so segmented now, but it's so important to be able to just spend time with the new baby and recover.
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#124 of 267 Old 08-18-2006, 01:02 PM
 
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Originally Posted by marieangela
Still frustrated. I just can't seem to find time or motivation to tackle the huge mess that is my house.
Check out the Seven Things Project thread (and blog ring) It's what really inspired me to get going (though I seem to have gone a bit overboard ) Her idea was that she would find 7 things a week to get rid of. That's just one item a day that you have to make a decision to get rid of. It doesn't seem like much but at the end of a year it will add up to 365 things out the door!
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#125 of 267 Old 08-18-2006, 02:41 PM
 
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This is how I've been feeling and my IRL clutter buddy says that's being in the hurricane stage. Also, once you start dejunking, you start to see more clutter. It's like your eyes are opened to it, KWIM?

And I totally agree with a PP that mimimalism ROCKS. It's a hard place to get to, especially for those of us who have junked our entire houses, but it's a great goal. Getting even one space clear and tidy feels so restful...

Keep moving!

Quote:
Originally Posted by kathirynne
I have been de-cluttering in bits and bobs, and I have a whole car trunkfull of things to take to Goodwill.

You would think that would be visible progress, but it's not. Everywhere I look, I see clutter, and just yesterday, I received two big black leaf bags full of hand-me-downs for my two eldest children. (The clothes are really nice; 95% of them are definately something we will use. It's just the sheer volume that is bugging me... )

I'm really tempted to choose a room and remove everything from it, like they do on television, and then allow only the "keepers" to return to the room in question. Has anyone done this? How well does it work?

Keep me motivated, mummas. I don't want to live like this anymore!

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#126 of 267 Old 08-18-2006, 02:48 PM
 
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Originally Posted by kathirynne
...I'm really tempted to choose a room and remove everything from it, like they do on television, and then allow only the "keepers" to return to the room in question. Has anyone done this? How well does it work?

Keep me motivated, mummas. I don't want to live like this anymore!
I'm doing this now!

I've been going to school fulltime+ since January & my house is trashed....I can't stand it! My husband & I are splitting up & he sleeps in a separate room and he is away this week so I don't have to worry about my stuff all over. anyhoo, I cleaned out the room...scrubbed the floors, cleared the dressers, etc. and have only been bringing stuff back that I love. Dd & I will watch a movie or read books and cuddle on the bed & to see all that crap around was making me so depressed.

I'm finding it hard to stay motivated but it already looks so much better. the hallway is totally cluttered but it's on it's way. My problem is not to keep it, put it away for a bit & deal with it later (like the rest of the stuff in the basement ).

I'm glasd I came here for some motivation & thanks for bringing it back to life!
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#127 of 267 Old 08-18-2006, 04:31 PM
 
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Originally Posted by kathirynne
I'm really tempted to choose a room and remove everything from it, like they do on television, and then allow only the "keepers" to return to the room in question....
This is what I did in the loo last week, and I loved the results!! I am painting the kitchen later this month, so I'll be able to try the same procedure in there.

In the meantime, I will clean the bathroom every week. I hope that way, it won't get to the state it was before I de-junked it. (Baby steps, right?)

Visit www.evolutiontosimplicity.blogspot.com to follow my epic saga of single mummahood....

 

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#128 of 267 Old 08-19-2006, 12:12 AM
 
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Originally Posted by oceanbaby
OMG, this is exactly what happens here. I even went so far as to have a special bin that was for all the random pieces of toys that I would find, thinking that if they were all in one place that they would someday get reunited with their mates, but then the kids got into the bin and now those pieces are spread all over the house. But it just kills me to throw away a puzzle that is missing two pieces, because I KNOW that I am going to find those two pieces when I finally clean out the playroom.
We have a bin like that, too. We call it The Island of Misfit Toys

I *heart* this thread! It has been very motivating to me.

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#129 of 267 Old 08-19-2006, 12:53 AM
 
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I also am a lover of decluttering. The decisions are easy usually. I asked myself a few questions. 1) Am I currently using it 2) Do I love it 3) Will I seriously regret getting rid of it etc. My problem is the opposite of some of the others here though. Once I start, I can't stop. I am so glad my husband is here, and that he has voiced his opinion on how our house is set up and decorated. He likes it as is it. No more, No less. So basically, he is the one keeping me from just ripping out and donating EVERYTHING! Our house is very simplistic. There are few decorations, but once I get started I just can't stop. In the past few months, I have taken around 12-15 full apple boxes to be donated. We have only been married four years, but now that we are in a real house, that we plan to stay in for quite a while, it is easier to know what we need and don't need.
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#130 of 267 Old 08-19-2006, 11:21 PM
 
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We are struggling mightily to get out from under our clutter! My packrat DH just gave away several shirts and pants--just let 'em go! What a relief! Great thread.
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#131 of 267 Old 08-20-2006, 05:22 AM
 
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We are definitely doing a big declutter over here. We are trying to move out of our office (aka: the room where things go when we don't know where to put them)! We are converting it to a nursery, so it helps to think of it as making room for the baby.

Our garage is ridiculous, though. I taught before having ds and plan to go back, so I have all this great teacher stuff that takes up a lot of room. Then dh and I both run businesses from home and have inventory, boxes, etc. etc. Our house isn't very big, so it can be tough. I'd love to be minimalist like in magazines/catalogs/etc. But it can be tough! Especially when you were raised by a mom who never threw anything out that was "perfectly good". I once told my mom that I threw out this whole container full of twist-ties that I knew I would never use. She told me I should have mailed them to her!
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#132 of 267 Old 08-20-2006, 11:08 PM
 
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We actually have sold a couple of things on craigslist lately. A dog crate and some bose speakers that we haven't used in years. I don't even want to think about my attic and my basement, though. When we moved ds1 into his 'big boy' room, we moved all of our books to the attic. They are all in piles still and the book shelves are up there, too. Also many other things and all in no particular order. I keep thinking that with a little insulation it would make a nice playroom, but we have nowhere else for all of that stuff and I just can't part with books.

Marie-Mom to two boys and a girl.
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#133 of 267 Old 08-21-2006, 12:25 AM
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Dh and I decided we wanted to build out our bedroom closet as opposed to having dressers. That's all well and good and I'm all about having less furniture, but we don't have the money right now, so clothes are just everywhere: I need to find a temporary and cheap storage solution. Any ideas?
did you save any of your cardboard boxes?

when my sister moved and before she could outfit her closet, she kept many of her storage boxes. she took the book boxes (small/medium) and then reinforced them with cheap shims (bought in bulk at hardware store for about $2-3 for a lot) and with duct tape. She then wrapped them in pretty wrapping paper and contact paper to line the insides (also more support) from the dollar store and spent probably $5 total.

She would stack the boxes with the top facing out--you know, boxes on their sides, and she used small brassy brads to hold them together (staples has them in bulk for a couple of dollars). She used small nails to nail the boxes to the wall (each one nailed at the top of the box on the inside.

she was able to use these for quite a while actually, and when she was able to outfit her closet, she utilized them for storage in other parts of the house (she redid her 'stored stuff' into those boxes in the closet--so all of her closets looked really pretty and organized--she bought those little brass name/card holder thingies for each box and then put the label in--it was really snazzy looking).
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#134 of 267 Old 08-21-2006, 12:28 AM
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oh, and when she converted them to storage boxes again, rather than using them as closet space (where she put folded clothes, etc), she tied soft colored rope through the brad holes that held them together, so they had cute little handles.
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#135 of 267 Old 08-21-2006, 12:17 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marieangela
I keep thinking that with a little insulation it would make a nice playroom, but we have nowhere else for all of that stuff and I just can't part with books.
Well... books do make good insulation
Our living room's largest wall (27') faces north, so we decided that was the best place to put up lots of bookshelves. I'd say it must add about R-5 or so to the wall

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#136 of 267 Old 08-22-2006, 04:58 PM
 
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Hi, everyone, I'm new but in a constant battle with clutter here in teeny tiny house where I live with my husband & a bunch of cats. All 5 kids are grown & gone.

Some things that have helped me:

Sentimental keepsakes can go to someone in a younger generation sometimes. That's a nice way of passing a special memory along.

You can take phootos of things without keeping the item itself. This is good for big but fragile projects kids make out of cardboard & stuff. Sure, they're great & you're proud but it's hard to maintain them intact. Take a picture of the masterpiece with its creator standing beside it.

When you look at an item imagine you're going away for a long time. Would you pay to store _____? Or is it easily replaceable? Same thing with old clothes. They may still be good but honestly, if you lose 20 lbs 10 years from now what are the odds on the styles being similar enough that you'd want to wear them again?

Use Fly Lady's 5 at night, 5 in the morning tips customized to your household so your day begins & ends with some predictable regularity no matter what happens in between. At night I fix the coffee pot for the next day, refill the cats automatic gravity water bottle, put out recycling, fill the dishwasher & wipe counters.

Enage your children with numbers. Set the timer & tell them to pick up & put away 5 things before the bell rings.

Rotate toys. Take half or more of them out of the room & store in the attic or garage. Every 2 months or so take the current ones up & put out the ones from storage. There is less to make a mess with & they get excited about things they haven't seen in a while.

Think of new ways to use things. I like old picnic baskets & use them stacked as end tables & elsewhere. They also contain holiday decorations. The first year I did that I went to my current calendar & wrote on the Dec. page a note to remind myself to look there for the stuff when we began to decorate.

Think outside the box. My husband's grandmother crocheted him some ugly, scratchy afghans he doesn't use but doesn't want to give away. They used to take up a big chunk of the linen closet till I thought to fold them inside the sofa bed & close it up. Voila, he's happy & they're not a nuisance.

I sell books on ebay so my main problem are boxes of books everywhere which is far from solved & contributes to our house being messy so it's still a work in progress.
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#137 of 267 Old 08-22-2006, 06:04 PM
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You can take photos of things without keeping the item itself. This is good for big but fragile projects kids make out of cardboard & stuff. Sure, they're great & you're proud but it's hard to maintain them intact. Take a picture of the masterpiece with its creator standing beside it.
this one is fantastic!

Quote:
When you look at an item imagine you're going away for a long time. Would you pay to store _____? Or is it easily replaceable? Same thing with old clothes. They may still be good but honestly, if you lose 20 lbs 10 years from now what are the odds on the styles being similar enough that you'd want to wear them again?
we're moving across country. the question was "do you really want to pay to have this hauled 3,000 miles?" it really worked for us!

Quote:
Think outside the box. My husband's grandmother crocheted him some ugly, scratchy afghans he doesn't use but doesn't want to give away. They used to take up a big chunk of the linen closet till I thought to fold them inside the sofa bed & close it up. Voila, he's happy & they're not a nuisance.
this gem was given to me from a friend who is a collector of 'folk arts and crafts.' she went GAGA over my grandmother's scratchy afghans. She said "do you know about this fiber? do you know about these dyes?" she got all kinds of excited--i thought she was going to pee on my floor. LOL

so, she recommended that i have the mounted and hang them. Well, that worked nicely. I actually have them mounted and hung on top of each other like a deck of cards on the wall and i 'flip through' them periodicly. Everyone happy, things out of the way, interesting art pieces.
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#138 of 267 Old 08-22-2006, 06:20 PM
 
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Another trick I've found useful is this: if your house is a total wreck choose one spot. Doesn't matter where it is, as long as it's important to you. Maybe it's your dresser top or the table by the front door or table by your armchair. Anyway, concentrate on that spot. Take everything off the surface & clean it, dust, polish, wipe if it's a counter. Put back on it something you really like that is pretty or meaningful to you: a potted plant, special picture of your family, scented candle on a doily, doesn't matter. Then for the immediate week or so after concentrate on maintaining that spot. Don't use it to lay the junk mail on & forget it or stack up catalogs or leave empty cups. Keep that area nice. Once you're used to seeing that & realize how nice it is you'll feel more confident that yes, you can get your house looking nice, even if not all at once, overnight, a la waving a magic wand.

In the same spirit one woman wrote years ago on the SHE board that there was a place in laundry room her whole family used as a dump. She moved things around, eliminated some of the surfaces, cleaned the remaining one & put a large potted plant on it. Voila, no more room for full family dumping was available.

Hanging quilts or afghans is a wonderful solution for those who have more of this handiwork than they are actually using, too.
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#139 of 267 Old 08-22-2006, 06:37 PM
 
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#140 of 267 Old 08-23-2006, 11:16 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zoebird

so, she recommended that i have the mounted and hang them. Well, that worked nicely. I actually have them mounted and hung on top of each other like a deck of cards on the wall and i 'flip through' them periodicly. Everyone happy, things out of the way, interesting art pieces.
I love this thread!

Zoebird, how did you mount the afghans? I have a big (about 6' square) cloth that I want to hang on the wall and am trying to decide how to do it.

Allison, mom to ds born May 2002
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#141 of 267 Old 08-23-2006, 12:47 PM
 
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Okay, I'm embarrassed to say my problem is not clutter. I have no problems getting rid of things the minute it gets on my nerves. I'm a minimalist at heart. The issue here is straight up mess. My kids try to drag food all over this house though the rule is they have to stay in the kitchen. The two year old takes advantage of me while I'm nursing the baby down and I find crumbs all over the place. I always keep my front living room super tidy and nicely decorated so that if someone knocks I don't have to step outside and shut the door - but heaven forbid they need a glass of water or use the restroom! I also suffer from major recycling guilt...so hard for me to toss something for the landfills when I know I could recycle it...then sometimes the bin is full so I have to wait until the next pick up...next thing you know I have three rubbermaid containers full of recycling sitting in the kitchen.
I've moved 6 times in the last 6 years and never have gotten to really settle in a place for good. Knowing where things will function well etc. So, now we are in a very stable place and I'm learning how to manage the household and come up with a routine that works. After 6 years of marriage I'm finally learning how to be a housewife!!
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#142 of 267 Old 09-17-2006, 09:30 PM
 
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Anyone up for giving me a shot in the arm?

We've had our upstairs bathroom torn apart (complete re-do) for two weeks now, and we've got a way to go... the whole house is feeling the effects.
It's the I-don't-even-know-where-to-start blues all over again.

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#143 of 267 Old 09-20-2006, 11:43 AM
 
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Subbing to this fabulous thread!
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#144 of 267 Old 11-19-2006, 12:11 AM
 
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just bumping this is my favorite thread~ so inspiring!

~e, wife to my sweet T , mama to my turtleman (12) , sunshine (9 ), and monkey (6)
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#145 of 267 Old 11-19-2006, 01:40 AM
 
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Originally Posted by 4evermom View Post
Someone famous said "if a job is worth doing, it is worth doing poorly." I say that to myself a lot. My dh doesn't understand since he heard the opposite growing up but it really makes a difference if it is a matter of doing it well or not at all.
Heck yeah! My DH used to get really irritated with me, we'd clean the house on a weekend and he would have picked up the living room, cleaned the bathroom, vacuumed the floors in the whole house, etc., meanwhile I would be in the kitchen, cleaning minute cracks in the stove with a q-tip!

We laugh about it now, because I've realized that it's pefectionism causing an overfocus on the picky details while the rest of the house is a wreck!

Decluttering helps, and then it's easier to clean and keep clean. I really like Flylady, I don't do everything in the emails, but getting yourself up, dressed and ready for the day before trying to clean anything, keeping the sink clear and decluttering 15 minutes (or 5 minutes sometimes) at a time just can really help.
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#146 of 267 Old 11-19-2006, 11:08 AM
 
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Glad someone bumped this up b/c it confirms what I've discovered the last two months: that it is possible to live in a tidy house (though not immaculate), even if it's too small and even with young children.

I was raised in a very tidy house, but married someone who was a bit of a pack rat. Over the past five years I've been working on this a bit at a time, and now, with our third baby on the way, I FINALLY am close to having a house as tidy and organized as the one I grew up in. My tips:

1. Be willing to spend a little on organizational devices. I shelled out some $ for about 3 dozen airtight containers and now have a functional, attractive pantry to store all of our bulk goods. Everything is neatly labeled and easy to find. Less food wastage and easier to make a shopping list. The same goes for the kids' toys. Even my 3-year-old and 19-month-old know exactly where every toy belongs. What doesn't fit in the toy box goes in a neatly stacked, labeled bin in the closet. I don't make my kids neurotic about picking up their toys, but it is something we do twice a day, once after lunch and right before bedtime.

2. Get rid of all the stuff you don't use, as pp have suggested. Dh and I finally got serious about this one and donated several garbage bags of nice sheets, blankets, and other good stuff because we simply had too many of them.

3. Give yourself permission to donate any knicknacks or decorations you don't really like, even if they were gifts from people you love. So much easier to dust that way. In a small house, too many knicknacks really create a cluttered look.

4. Utilize under bed storage for things like kids' shoes, hats and gloves, etc. (again, in easy-to-access storage boxes).

5. If you find Flylady too structured (I do), then simply decide how often certain chores need to be done (daily, weekly, biweekly, or monthly), then give yourself a 3-day window for doing them. On the third day, no excuses.
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#147 of 267 Old 11-19-2006, 04:14 PM
 
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I have been decluttering the last two days and it feels better. I need to finish the living room and hall this week.
three largs bags of stuff to donate.

and more to come...now to keep a schedule of cleaning. that will take some work.

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#148 of 267 Old 11-19-2006, 06:15 PM
 
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just chiming in about decluttering and toy thinning before the holidays.

I think it's important to IMMEDIATELY take things to be given
away out of the house. My back porch is a hot spot danger zone
and while I'm decluttering I end up with a huge mess back there
while the stuff accumulates. Somehow I think I'm going to "organize"
the stuff I'm giving to goodwill so that it's attractive and well
put together for the next person : . As if I could keep it
attractive and well put together for myself.

I also get really weird about getting rid of toys that have
missing pieces floating around the house. I will start collecting
a certain toy and it's pieces in a basket until they all turn up,
then either put it back into circulation or send it on it's way.

For a while I wouldn't even throw out one of the myriad shoes
of the dreaded million-pieced Polly's (can anyone sympathize?)
But now I toss and toss and toss. I'm funny about the playmobile though...

Love, love, love what people are saying about sending "keepsake" toys on their way and taking a photo instead of hoarding them for the future as a memory. Since I have nothing from my childhood I want to keep a lot of my kids stuff, but my sis is expecting so I'm boxing it up and sending it on.


Glad to find this thread...it certainly is a process and not a destination.

best,
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#149 of 267 Old 11-19-2006, 07:41 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mama2babybeans View Post
just bumping this is my favorite thread~ so inspiring!
Thank you ...... I needed this thread RIGHT NOW :
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#150 of 267 Old 11-19-2006, 07:49 PM
 
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oops .... don't know why it has posted .... so many times
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