What's the best way to get your space back?

Published on: December 30, 2013

With two small children, my house often more closely resembles a yard sale after high winds than actual living quarters. The chaos, it is endless.

How do I handle it? I usually try to get the kids to help clean up, sometimes resorting to threatening and nagging, which, let me tell you, makes me feel GREAT about myself and my superlative parenting skills.

Lots of times, though, I just get down on my hands and knees and do it alone. I’m faster and more efficient. And I don’t whine (quite) as much.

Then there are the toys that languish on the shelf, getting about as much playtime as a small town high school’s third string point guard. How to deal with those space-hogging playthings? I’ve tried sitting down with the kids and asking what they can part with. This approach usually flops, ending with the three of us in tears. They play with it ALL, they insist. None of it is expendable.

So, should I tiptoe through the house cloaked in the dark of night, a garbage bag in hand? Or should I try again to explain that we need to CULL and by doing so, give them some control of the situation while helping teach them organizational skills?

Wait. I think I know the correct answer to that one. But there’s something so satisfying about playing reverse Santa Claus at midnight. And I don’t hate the decluttered living room afterward either.

You can’t take that small joy away from me in the name of doing the right thing.

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