Monday, November 2, 2009

Domestic Engineer: The Final Frontier

Purge-atory. The basement Where all the stuff I wanted out of every other room in the house ended up.You can see the enormity of the task.

This is our rec room. It has mostly been a toy graveyard for the 3.5 years we haved lived in this house. The most popular played-with toys have always had their official and mostly theoretical homes in a) the family room b) the upstairs play room or c) the kids' rooms. In actual fact these alpha toys have been in the middle of the floor in any room of the house so Husband or I can trip over them and I have an excuse to be exasperated. The toys in the rec room were the lesser played with ones or ones I was too lazy to purge.

With the great purge of 2009 in full swing, we have removed virtually all toys from the kids' rooms. We've put a small subset of the popular toys in the upstairs playroom along with the games and have one small basket of "character" toys in the family room. My plan was to create a fun playspace in the basement that is organized so the kids will know where the toys are and, importantly, KNOW WHERE TO PUT THEM AWAY.

Husband agreed to take the kids to a birthday party on Sunday afternoon so I could get to the task in seclusion.

Honestly it was hard to know where to start. I brought out a recyling box, an enmormous garbage can and designated one side of the room as "give-away". It was slow work at first, but after an hour I have made great headway.

It bordered on ridiculous how far spread out certain games and toys were. I found marbles EVERYWHERE. I had neither had any idea how many marbles we owned, nor what the kids would ever want to do with so many of them.

It was a bit of a trip down memory lane. I came across the colourful woodens blocks that we gave Jackson for Christmas when he was 13 months old (do not ask me why THAT is using up memory space in my head as opposed to something useful like remembering to send Sydney's planner to school today). It came with 100 blocks. I was borderline obsessive-compulsive counting the blocks every time we played with them. If I found only 99, I would look for the lost sheep.

One time I brought the blocks to my parents as we were going to spend the day. My father observed my neuroses and actually went to his workshop and made an extra one, thinking it would drive me crazy when one day I counted 101!

Well I counted on Sunday and found only 92 and that only slightly bothered me. But I found about 5 more spread throughout the basement and after almost 7 years, I think losing about 4 of them is entirely respectable.

I also found something else I used to count daily: Jackson's Hot Wheels cars. I used to know how many and what colour. If I only found 16 of 17 I could immediately scan and realize the YELLOW firetruck was missing.

As long as I'm making counting confessions, you should know that I also used to count crayons. Yes, we had so few that I used to count them. I theorized that if I did not leave a stray purple crayon on the floor, a certain creative someone (see photo) could not adorn the walls with it while I was checking email one day.

You won't be surprised to hear that I did all this before Sydney was born. I was at home full time and was not about to put all those hours of daylight to any real productive use, like keeping the house clean and tidy. No I kept track of stuff.

Keeping track of stuff is one of the many things I gave up when I had a second child, like good personal hygiene and any semblance of sanity.

(Photos of the final room, which Jackson has renamed "Fun Hous", when it's completed. You know I'll need to brag).

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