Every time I turn around, we are reorganizing the kids' room. After every birthday, holiday, change in seasons, growth spurt, arrival of hand-me-downs, purchase of an organizational aid or piece of furniture, we shift things around. We are in a constant state of passing toys, clothes and items we outgrow on to friends and family. We have several areas in our house filled with bags waiting to be passed on. Each trip to see relatives includes the shuffling of these bags into the car in hopes that we remember to distribute them before we return home.
In an ideal world, we wouldn't have too much while others struggle to have barely enough. I am a strong believer that "less is more". Less stuff to me means less time spent reorganizing, managing, and maintaining and more time doing other things I enjoy. Considering how much I value time these days, less is a lot more for me.
Even though I try to explain this concept to family each year during the holidays, we still get bombarded with gifts and clothes and more gifts and clothes. I'm not sure how much time Rick spent reorganizing the kids' room this week, but I know I put in several hours and he did the majority of the work. After all, he assembled Ada's new table and chairs, removed furniture so the new stuff would fit, cleaned out Ada's drawers so her new clothes could squeeze in, reorganized her books to fit on the shelves while making room for the new ones, hung her show organizer, and sorted through her toys so all the parts were where they belonged. I know it took a lot of valuable time he could have spent studying for his Architecture exams since it took me two hours just to sort through Iain's drawer and unpack all of the stuff from their week at Grandma's house. I'd say it was time well spent, but I know we will have to do it again in a couple of months.
I'm very grateful for everything we've been given. I'm also very overwhelmed by the amount of work and time it takes to manage all of the kids' stuff. I'm happy to pass it on to others who can benefit from it too. And I'm trying to balance the sentimentality of giving away things that were given to the kids by family or friends. I always worry the giver will come to visit and notice that their gift is gone. But I'm a practical person and we only have so much space. My dad keeps asking when I plan to take Ada's scooter and Iain's toy four-wheeler home but I don't have room for them a) in the car and b) in our house. Big toys like that are more likely to get used in a driveway in the suburbs instead of on the congested sidewalks of the city. And once we put them down in storage, we are likely to forget they are down there. Therein lies the problem. I'm hoping I can rent space in Dad's garage for a few more years and pay it off washing the dishes. We'll see how that goes.
Then there is all of the guilt I drag around since I have been so lucky. I wish others were as fortunate and I worry that my children won't realize how privileged they are to have so many people in their lives willing to provide so much for them. I fear them becoming spoiled brats who think they are entitled to everything the world has to offer. At least I'm worried about it. That means I'm more aware of their potential to become spoiled and that awareness might help me prevent it from happening.
Thankfully, I have a year until we get hit by the birthday, Christmas, hand-me-down wammie again. The rest of the year it is more of a trickle that seems manageable.
Moral of the story: It's nice to be surrounded by generous, loving people. Set aside time to manage all of their generosity and be sure to pass it on as you go.