Decluttering kids school mess

When most people hear the question, “Paper or plastic?” it usually doesn’t make their skin crawl; unless of course, you are like me and you left your cloth bags in the back of your car for the millionth time. That does get a tad old.

What I am referring to has nothing to do with shopping, bagboys, or keeping your meat separated by plastic. I’m talking about the inordinate amount of paper and toys which collect in my house during one calendar year.decluttering

I have two young grade school-aged children, and apparently their teachers like them to keep busy drawing, and writing all the live long day.

Every day.

I think perhaps their teachers are sneaking into my home in the middle of the night and having my kids do art projects in their sleep because of the towering stacks of paper we collect at school year’s end.

Of course I’m not asking for the teachers to prop my girls up with a juice box and a bag of chips in front of the precariously sitting TV upon the portable audiovisual cart. No, I’m happy they are teaching my children motor skills, handwriting, math and spelling words.

Schoolboy being stressed by his homework, isolated on white back

But oh, for the days of those slate boards with the minimalist wooden frame! Laura Ingalls Wilder’s ma had it right. No recycling bin vs. scrapbook decisions for her. Just making a cellar full of apple butter and staying clear of the locusts. Good times!

Summer is my time for getting our house organized. Twelve months of an angry woman hoarding my children’s crap is my cut-off. I have to get rid of it or else I will end up on one of those reality shows, and if I’m going to have some quality airtime, it sure as heck isn’t going to have the word CRAZY or HOARDING in the title. Not that there is anything wrong with that!

Make a List

1) Sort school paperwork into three boxes labeled
a) sweet mementos for mom
b) touching items kids will treasure
c) tormenting evidence for future public events

I thinned down this pile already throughout the year! OY!  ~

I thinned down this pile already throughout the year! OY! ~

2) Find the bottom of my desk and remove any food particles or spores which may have appeared during the year. This also includes a good sucking of lint and hangnails from my computer keyboard.

3) Pitch any clothing that has holes or stains that have been attempted to be removed more than 2.4 times. Remaining clothing and shoes that no longer fit, must be shoved into paper sacks in back of van immediately. Put keys in ignition, place gear into reverse and back out of drive to the donation center so you will not leave those suckers in the back of your closet or car for the next 6 months.

4) Sadly, there is always a natural disaster around the corner and the only positive thing that ever comes from those is I can tell my children truthfully there are other kids who have no toys. This brings out the empathy in my girls and they start cleaning out their bins of plastic junk they aren’t playing with, which makes me one happy and philanthropic mama.

5) Then there’s the project of burning our music CD’s which I started when I married my husband. We were married in our thirties, merging two full houses; however, neither of us had children. We assumed we had all the time in the world, but were stupidly unaware our lives would change dramatically after we spawned. Which we did right away. Why not, right?!

Needed panoramic lens to capture full collection. ~

Needed panoramic lens to capture full collection. ~

Unfortunately, with summer camps, going to the pool, ball games, vacations, sleeping in, running around like crazy-free kids and just playing in the sun, it will take the entire summer to get through all five of these projects.

(previously posted in July of 2013)

Do you have any projects that you can’t get done over the summer? Or do you just say forget about it? I need some tips to get through all this junk!