I have a confession to make. We have too much stuff.
Clothes, toys, books, mementos, sports equipment and other odds and ends are overtaking my kids’ rooms. Drawers are overstuffed. Shelves are crammed, and closets are overflowing. Sometimes it looks like we are a family of hoarders.
Jonah has taken to keeping what he really needs in his bed. Sweatshirts, pjs and t-shirts are all in a pile at the foot of the bed. His books are lined up against the wall. If he can’t find something, I always tell him to check his bed first. When he lost a new hat last winter, I found it weeks later lodged between the end of his bed and the wall.
Adam’s bureau is his stash. It’s piled high with clothes, books, belts, ties, cups and sometimes half eaten snacks. The mess often overflows onto his desk, at which time he moves into the family room to do his homework.
The girl’s have piles on the floor — clothes (clean and dirty), backpacks, swim bags, books and even a plastic blow-up banana. When it’s time to clean, they scoop it all up and dump it on their beds. When the vacuuming is done, it usually ends up right back on the floor.
One of our main problems is time. I have no time to go through all their stuff. Half the clothes in the drawers are too small, and many items on the shelves haven’t been touched in years. I recently found a pair of toddler sized shoes in the boys’ closet. But if I’m not there to help sort, it rarely gets done. Every now and then the girls will get motivated and clean out their drawers, or toss the old trophies and knickknacks from their shelves. The boys? Not so much.
Some nights when I’m picking my way into their rooms to kiss them good night, I dream of taking vacation time to get a grip on all the stuff. Maybe one day.
FranklyStein is a blog by Chesapeake Family Life editor Betsy Stein, who lives in Catonsville with her husband, Chris, and four children, Maggie, 18, Lilly, 16, Adam, 16, and Jonah, 12.