It is one of our home graveyards--with boxes of Asian masks, vases, and statues (some that we haven't unpacked in the 10 years we have lived here!); seasonal items; empty cardboard boxes for things we've bought (in case they need to go back to the store); batteries and tools; boots; old baby things; art supplies; and other various items.
In the past few evenings, I've consigned to recycling, trash, or giveaways the following things:
- Cardboard, paper, and other junk
- Stacks of children's drawings, homework, and schoolwork
- Old cassette and VCR tapes
- Christmas cards and decorations we've never used
- Styrofoam pieces and pellets
- Toys, toys, and more bits of toys
- Old pens, crayons, and paints
- A brand-new "cookbook holder" and a juicer my dad gave us that I couldn't figure out how to put together
As I've been cleaning out the storage area, I've found dozens of baskets and cleared out bunches of plastic boxes--we have more than we will ever need, given all the decluttering I've been doing.
The guilt is mostly because of the hundreds of little pieces of toys...my children just do not do very well with toys that have many pieces. They get lost and spread all over the house and become useless. Because they are so spread out, it's not even worth the effort to try to reassemble the toy to be able to give it away. So I have been filling bag after bag, not only to donate, but for the dump.
I know it must be done. Our house actually has a lot of storage areas--if only we were better organized, we would have plenty of space for our stuff--and it will be great to have this storage room organized. But I'm feeling massively guilty about the quantity of things I have to throw away. We are good environmentalists--I do not like to have things end up in the landfill!
I asked Mike if he is feeling guilty, too, and he said no. He's just feeling relief. Granted, his major role has been carting the bags off to charity and the dump--he's not really seeing what's going into the bags.
This year I am going to try to give the children experiences for Christmas instead of toys. And do everything I can to encourage other people to give them experiences or if they must buy toys or other items, avoid the small pieces! :) We do not tend to be very acquisitive--and I realize that the things I'm throwing away and donating are from years and years of buildup--but I want to do what I can to minimize more clutter and unused items coming into our house.