However, my desk is completely buried

I am a tidy person, deep in my heart of hearts. I crave order. Little delights me more than looking for an item where it belongs, and finding it there. A place for every item and every item in its place. And while we’re on the topic, let’s just say that the fewer items, the better.

It is at this point that anyone who’s ever visited my house or, say, someone who LIVES IN MY HOUSE will start to laugh hysterically. Because the state of my house… ahhhh… how shall we put it… well, the state of my house doesn’t exactly reflect my heart of hearts right now. Or ever. Details.

And so this weekend I attacked the various problem areas with a fervor born of months of denial and repression. One day, it’s all fine. The next day, I CANNOT STAND IT ANYMORE AND IT MUST ALL BE STOPPED IMMEDIATELY.

Look, it was VERY HARD for me to agree to let the children keep their rooms however they like, and I am mostly coping with that by not going in their rooms, or only going in at nighttime when it’s dark and I can administer hugs and kisses and sleepytime wishes without having to actually SEE the carnage. But every year before school starts I have to do the Closet Cleanout.

This year, Closet Cleanout was delayed because everything has been all messed up the last few weeks. But this weekend I realized that they children had started school and I had NOT done the Closet Cleanout and then it became clear that this had caused a rift in the space-time continuum that I needed to deal with RIGHT AWAY.

(Yeah. Um. I’m aware that this might not be normal. Thanks for noticing, though.)

Closet Cleanout is something I never remember doing as a kid, or my mother doing when I was a kid, and I don’t know if that’s because we never did it as an organized process or because I’ve blocked it out because of how badly it sucks. No idea. But the basic gist is that once a year I go through the kids’ closets and dressers and do a thorough sorting.

During the other 364 days of the year, each kid has a big bin in the bottom of their closet into which we can toss items that suddenly no longer fit. That’s useful, but for an anal-retentive like me it’s hardly the whole story. AU CONTRAIRE, my little pumpkins!

Closet Cleanout goes thusly:

1) I pull out the (now overflowing) bin of discarded items. I sort the contents into two piles; one for donation, and one for consignment.

2) We then turn to the dresser and go through each drawer, one at a time. Child is made to try on suspect items. Too-small and worn-out items are removed and placed in one of the two piles. The remaining items are folded and put away.

2a) Whichever child I’m working with screams and cries over at least two items which are either three sizes too small and/or damaged to the point of being unsuitable for public wearing, insisting that THAT FITS! or BUT I LOVE THAT! or IT’S NOT TOO STAINED, IT’S FINE!

2b) The child with whom I am NOT currently working comes into the room with some sort of tragedy requiring my immediate attention, causing the target child to scream and cry because he/she is trying on clothing and GET OUT GET OUT I’M NAKED! (Note: Child does not actually need to be naked for this to happen. It’s most fun when said child is fully clothed and then indignant because he/she COULD’VE BEEN naked.)

3) Once the dresser is done, we turn to shoes in the closet. Slippers are a particularly hot commodity, even in the middle of summer. It does not matter that they’re too small. It does not matter that I generously offer to buy a new pair, in the proper size. These slippers are the most wondrous slippers ever to have been invented and they love them so much that they are going to wear them RIGHT NOW and I am not allowed to take them.

3a) Some shoes go in a third pile—to throw away. I don’t think underprivileged people should be made to suffer my offspring’s foot funk. (This is the point at which I realize I didn’t go through socks and underwear, and do that and add cast-offs to the throw-away pile.)

4) Now for the closet bar! By this time, crushing fatigue has set in, and the child being forced to try things on is generally laying prostrate on the bed, whining that he/she cannot possibly do any more. The good news is that it’s mostly church clothes and outerwear on the bar, and not much needs to be tried on. Thank goodness.

5) At this point it’s time to move on to the closet shelves, which house the various NEW clothing which I have picked up on clearance throughout the year, a size or two ahead. If the collapsing-with-fatigue child is FEMALE, the subsequent trying-on inspires a dramatic recovery, because new clothes are the most exciting thing in the world. If the collapsing-with-fatigue child is MALE, the subsequent trying-on inspires antics such as a single ankle waved in the direction of some jeans and a pronouncement “Yeah, they’re fine. Are we done now?”

5a) The new clothes that fit are put in their proper places, while the still-too-big ones are put back on the shelves. If the target child is FEMALE every new piece of clothing will have been worn within the next six hours. If the target child is MALE those new clothes will not be worn until the drawer is empty of everything else and he has no other choice.

6) The sorted piles are gathered up and bagged and taken downstairs, where they will languish for weeks until it drives me insane enough that I will go drop them off where they belong.

7) Hey! That was only one kid! Repeat steps 1-6 with the other one, now!

Closet Cleanout can be significantly enhanced (and by “enhanced” I mean “made to suck even harder”) if you discover that one of your charming children has removed the shoelaces from every. pair. of. shoes. in the closet. Too-small shoes? Laceless. Current shoes? Laceless. Coming-up-on-fitting shoes? You got it, baby—LACELESS. Those laces were removed for “projects” and have since “disappeared.” Feel free to task the children with a recovery mission, and when they come up empty, send them to sit on the couch while the parents do reconnaissance. This will result in finding a single pair of laces during a half-hour clean-out of said room which ends with removing two giant trash bags full of garbage. And the organization of the remaining items because OH MY GOD the disarray is making my eyelid twitch.

Said child—who you are sure must be smarting over the forced room makeover—will then reenter the room and say, “Wow, this is GREAT! Everything is where it belongs, now! THANKS!”

(I find that smacking one’s head on the wall is an appropriate follow-up activity.)

So now the children’s rooms are cleaned out and everything is tidy and I was feeling really good until I came back into my office and realized that the stacks on my desk have reached critical mass. But, um, I spent all day yesterday cleaning and so I’m not even dealing with it right now.

Oh, shut up.

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69 Responses to “However, my desk is completely buried”

  1. 1
    Melissa August 11, 2008 at 10:06 am #

    This brought back memories…my mom did the closet clean-out too. But she always allowed my little sister to be in the room doing commentary while I tried things on – that is the part that scarred. Thanks for the laugh!

  2. 2
    Helloheather August 11, 2008 at 10:08 am #

    Oh my goodness, I think I love you. I looooooove the Closet Cleanout Concept!

    My only child (so far) is still only two year old, so I definitely don’t have my systems refined yet. This one sounds gooooood.

    He’s finally starting to slow down in growth enough that I can buy clothes ahead, fairly confident that they will fit correctly in approximately the right season. Yay, momming.

  3. 3
    Katie August 11, 2008 at 10:11 am #

    I do this twice a year, once for fall/winter and then spring/summer. The trick for me is I do a quick pre-clean where I discard any clothing that I know is not going to fit (or worn out) and will be cried over before inviting said child in for fittings of the other clothes. But then again I’m a stingy parent and my children don’t own more than a week’s worth of clothes each so it’s not too bad even though there are 5 of them.

    Congrats on your clean closets!

  4. 4
    Em August 11, 2008 at 10:11 am #

    Wow. I’m impressed. At least you do the job. I am currently avoiding that very task. I do it a little differently – when the season ends whatever size that child is in goes into a sterilite box maticulously labeled with what is in the box (size, plus what size shoes, plus whatever special items might be in there, easter dresses, christmas dresses, halloween costumes) and into the attic save one or two off season items for freak unseasonably hot or cold days. Of course, this year my son has grown all asymetrical and takes size four pants and size 5 tops (tall and skinny). Now I have issues (yeah, NOW I have issues). Also I save every stitch of rewearable clothing because I can’t come to the decision whether we will ever have another baby.

    I’m trying to decide if I’m inspired now to clean out the closets. It was a great post but I fear my laziness may prevail.

  5. 5
    Leandra August 11, 2008 at 10:14 am #

    OMG, the female child reaction to new clothes starts so early. I do the closet cleanout on a seasonal basis to keep it from sucking quite so much. I did mine on Saturday while the kids were away (mine are still young enough that I can do that). But I made the mistake of leaving a hot pink pair of hiking boots in Punkin’s room and she absolutely insisted that they MUST.BE.WORN.TODAY!! No matter that they’re too big. Or that it will probably be 90 degrees today.

  6. 6
    Megan August 11, 2008 at 10:17 am #

    There is nothing wrong with needing to do a Closet Cleanout – NOTHING I tell you. Also those who use phrases like “anal retentive” do not truly appreciate the importance of a truly well organized closet/pantry/cupboard/drawer. Also also it’s just possibly that I wipe down the cream and sugar cart when I go to get coffee EVERY SINGLE TIME – and there’s nothing wrong with that either.

  7. 7
    Ashlee August 11, 2008 at 10:23 am #

    Oh man . . . my clothes just magically disappeared as a child. I’m now trying to figure out how to make my boys’ old clothes magically disappear and the new ones reappear. Maybe I could hire a leprechaun.

  8. 8
    dad August 11, 2008 at 10:26 am #

    Business as usual in Mirworld.

    Selective amnesia is a wonderful thing. For the record, as a child you were anything but an order freak. How could you not remember the episode where you straightened up your room by throwing 200 cubic feet of stuff onto the floor of your 100 cubic foot closet?

  9. 9
    Tonja August 11, 2008 at 10:31 am #

    I just did Closet Cleanout this weekend!

  10. 10
    Crisanne August 11, 2008 at 10:33 am #

    I hear you on the every singe new item will be worn within the next 6 hours, only my son will do that too. He loves shoes and clothes-particularly long sleeve shirts and sweaters. Apparently he was meant to live up North.

  11. 11
    Nancy R August 11, 2008 at 10:40 am #

    Oh, how I hate the closet switch time – I think we average twice a year, switching around cold-weather clothes and warm-weather clothes (not that it matters, because they always seem to pull out clothes that’s opposite of the weather.

    I have three girls, and we’re regularly blessed with gently-used clothes from an older cousin. We have WAY too much clothes – enough that the oldest could wear a different outfit every day for the first half of the year – and yet, she usually wears the same several items.

    I dread the clothing switch and totally miss the time when I could do it without their presence and the DRAMA of giving up clothes they’re not ready to lose.

  12. 12
    suburbancorrespondent August 11, 2008 at 10:40 am #

    Maybe you know this already, but if you do it twice a year rather than only once, it’s not as much of a nightmare. Still not fun, but not as bad…

  13. 13
    Patricia August 11, 2008 at 10:44 am #

    My mom made me do what we’ve termed “Haul Cleanings” (Mind you I thought until I was 30 that it was “Hall Cleanings” because EVERYTHING but furniture was pulled out into the hallway and not allowed to go back into my room until it was cleaned and approved.

    I think I recall this done daily — though I think it was more like yearly or twice a year. My mom and I remember it so differently.

    I tried to do it with my son — exactly once. It was SO horrible that I sent him and my husband away for hours until I had it done all by myself. The boy never even commented on the much improved state of his room. URGH.

  14. 14
    Fellow Tired mom August 11, 2008 at 11:02 am #

    And what really sucks is that you have to more or less do it twice a year, when the seasons change! At least kids’ growth rates tend to slow down at some point, b/c otherwise mine would just have to go to school naked.

  15. 15
    Tammy August 11, 2008 at 11:05 am #

    I’ll bet MacGyver took those shoelaces for *something*

    Must be the smell of newly sharpened pencils that brings on Closet Cleanout because it was going on this weekend at my house too.

  16. 16
    prophet August 11, 2008 at 11:20 am #

    please come to my house. I promise I won’t be half the trouble of your target children!

    Oh no: I will be grateful for the help – I think – unless you try and pry my slippers away. [I don't CARE that there's a hole in the sole. . . . I'll never find another pair like that. Step AWAY from the slippers, please.]

    So, whatdya think? One day next week?

  17. 17
    Heidi D August 11, 2008 at 11:22 am #

    I remember my mom doing something similar right before school started.
    Since my kids are 4.5 years apart, I save everything in good shape that once fit my oldest and save it in a huge storage bin for my youngest (sometimes this doesn’t work as they were born in completely opposite seasons). But I do LOVE how I almost never have to buy new jeans for the younges.
    I did learn my lesson last year to check EVERY possible piece of clothing from the bin before buying new (heh).

    Also, my son loves it when I bring in new clothes for him- LOL. Like you, I found things clearanced out and bought them big.

  18. 18
    Holly August 11, 2008 at 11:26 am #

    OMG – this is OUR house. You wrote OUR story. But ever so much more eloquently that I ever could. And it was funny. Really funny. For some reason, this isn’t a comical affair at our house. What up with dat!?!

  19. 19
    susie August 11, 2008 at 11:32 am #

    I find that this is a job best done without my children home. And those bags for the thrift store? I need to keep those hidden until I make the drop-off or those ratty items will be schlepped back into rotation.
    But I too love the back-to-school clean out – the sense of a fresh start, clean slate, clean closet…
    Can someone come do mine?

  20. 20
    Jennie August 11, 2008 at 11:41 am #

    I just did the closet cleanout this weekend as well. Except I have a dissertation to write, which actually makes closet cleanout fun, because it functions as a good form of procrastination! My son (soon to be four) sort of enjoys it too. What really sucks at our house is playroom cleanout. That’s when every toy and book he’s ever owned become the equivalent of your children’s slippers.

  21. 21
    ikate August 11, 2008 at 11:45 am #

    I know this sounds strange but as a kid I LOVED to clean out my friend’s closets. I think it was because I was just curious (i.e. nosy) as to what they had. Their mothers loved me.

    As an adult I have awful closets. Go figure.

  22. 22
    toni mcgee causey August 11, 2008 at 11:47 am #

    I just did closet cleanout for the bathroom closets and a few of the kitchen closets, and I don’t even have the smell of sharpened pencils as an excuse. I’m also at the point where I have to stand at the mouth of my walk in closet and toss and hope the item lands somewhere findable later… I have about fifteen years worth of stuff that doesn’t fit in there, and I stayed in denial so long (but it’s pretty! and my husband gave me that!), and it’s really driving me batshit. I’m scheduling a closet cleanout in about a month, when I’m done with this deadline, and won’t mind wearing the one thing that still fits while I go shopping for clothes. And I’m not entirely sure it even still fits, but I refuse to go shopping while naked.

  23. 23
    Jamie AZ August 11, 2008 at 11:52 am #

    I end up doing something very similar twice a year when we bring out the pants or put them away (Arizona, just two seasons – shorts and pants). :) I’ve got two boys, so of course, trying things on is painful, just like it is for you with Monkey. But it feels so good to have everything sorted and organized!

  24. 24
    Mara August 11, 2008 at 12:04 pm #

    My mom did that with us, every year. I seem to remember falling squarely in the “male” category re: reaction for many years, at LEAST until junior high.

    She also made closet-rod dividers out of coffee can lids separating “play clothes” from “School clothes”, which I find adorable now.

  25. 25
    dana August 11, 2008 at 12:04 pm #

    I find now that I do not include the kids in on the annual closet cleaning experience. They want to save every bit of paper and notebook that they have ever touched but want to get rid of every piece of clothing they have ever had – in anticipation of getting new. It is a most frustrating experience, as I am trying to pass various items of clothing around to my three girls and they have absolutely no interest in keeping the clothes. The paper is another story – they hate getting rid of anything. Except for the binders because – school supply shopping looms in front of them and reusing binders is not usually an option to them.
    Now my office – reused binders and folders – mostly all gently used. If only I could organize my office.

  26. 26
    Mother of Two August 11, 2008 at 12:06 pm #

    We do closet clean out twice a year as well… goes a little quicker that way…

  27. 27
    Loth August 11, 2008 at 12:14 pm #

    I’m glad I have two boys. They share a room so only one to clear up and they both think being naked is hilarious.

  28. 28
    Headless Mom August 11, 2008 at 12:26 pm #

    Wow. That sounds really familiar! Although you do it in a much more organized fashion than I do. Since my boys share a room I end up doing it 2-3 times a year, but the gnashing of teeth is the same.

  29. 29
    dlyn August 11, 2008 at 12:31 pm #

    Is there a way to get husbands to do this? His side of the closet and his dresser are like toxic waste dumps.

  30. 30
    Kathleen August 11, 2008 at 12:36 pm #

    I think my mother must have made a note of anything she didn’t want us wearing again during the week and just spirited it away when she was doing laundry. If she ever went through closets and drawers separately, she didn’t do it with the kids around.

    But then, we did a lot of hand-me-downs. A fair amount of my clothes came from my cousins. My clothes eventually went to my sister, and from her they went to some family friends. If my mother changed her mind about anything, it would have been easy for her to take it out of the box or ask for it back.

  31. 31
    Anissa@Hope4Peyton August 11, 2008 at 12:38 pm #

    I think my problem is that stuff comes in at a much faster rate than it goes out. Perhaps if I stop buying/taking hand-me-downs until they have nothing to wear but gloves and underwear, i’ll finally get caught up.

  32. 32
    Jenn August 11, 2008 at 12:44 pm #

    If the female child is my sister, not only are all the new clothes worn in the next six hours, they will also be mixed in with the dirty clothes, causing our mother endless irritation.

  33. 33
    Jan August 11, 2008 at 12:53 pm #

    How many hundreds of email messages and comments do you get every single day wherein readers claim to be Just.Like.You? Add mine to the (virtual) pile, please.

    Not only do a have a girl-child (with, I strongly suspect, anxiety issues) that is a year and a half older than my boy-child, but we share the (so far as I know) unnamed sickness that is a drive to have everything organized without the time/energy/will to actually MAKE everything organized. And I have an eerily-similar closet-cleanout procedure, right down to the overflowing bin of things that don’t fit anymore and the stacks of things to grow into. (And, though I hate to admit it, the languishing bags of things to donate/sell/store away.)

    How many times a day do you go in there and gaze lovingly at the tidiness (while it lasts, of course!)?

  34. 34
    Kemi August 11, 2008 at 12:55 pm #

    “Said child—who you are sure must be smarting over the forced room makeover—will then reenter the room and say, “Wow, this is GREAT! Everything is where it belongs, now! THANKS!”

    (I find that smacking one’s head on the wall is an appropriate follow-up activity.)”

    *****

    So, would that be YOUR head or THEIR heads? ‘Cuz either way, you’re gonna feel the satisfaction. hee hee hee

    We’re doing this next week. Unless you want to make a trip out west and take care of it for me. You know, know that you’re so well practiced and everything. I could even pay you in zucchini. (Or pay you to take it… whatever works.)

  35. 35
    Kemi August 11, 2008 at 12:56 pm #

    *sorry, that should be “You know, NOW that you’re so well practiced…”

  36. 36
    Mom on the Run August 11, 2008 at 1:10 pm #

    Same scene in my house.

    I do quite a bit of consigning. One of my kids hangs on to toys for ever. She is petrified that I will consign her My Little Pony castle. She is almost 10 and has not played with it in over 2 years. I am itching ot get rid of it!

  37. 37
    Karen August 11, 2008 at 1:16 pm #

    I used to do this about twice a year with my three children. My son’s room was always the worst. Let’s just say the last time I did it, he was 19 years old, and it brought about his moving out of my house. And when I went to visit him for the first time at his apartment, can you believe it was neat as a pin, not even any dust on the tables in the living room???

  38. 38
    Procrastamom August 11, 2008 at 1:27 pm #

    I can feel for you on this one, because I took my tomboy 12 year-old daughter to buy a dress for a wedding yesterday. Two hours and five stores later, everything was either too lacey or too pink or too “girly” (a dress girly? imagine that!) or too dressy or too plain. And why couldn’t she just wear dress pants and a blouse? Oh and also? This aversion to dresses was all my fault because I insisted on putting dresses on her when she was a baby and the emotional damage was obviously inflicted on her psyche then and she was still feeling it.

    I’m considering renting a stand-in middle child for this upcoming wedding and leaving her at home with the cat.

  39. 39
    Amy August 11, 2008 at 1:27 pm #

    I do this throughout the year whenever the kids are not around. Kid free weekend = closet/room cleanout! I don’t know if I’m ready to torture myself while doing it while they’re home.

  40. 40
    Heather August 11, 2008 at 1:32 pm #

    All of you moms out there, don’t let you kids become packrats. Though I am an organized (at times obsessively organized) packrat, I have serious collection issues. I finally got rid of the non-lyrca, reverse fit jeans with the tapered legs.

    Can you give prophet and me a discounted rate? I’ll pay you double if you can convince me to part with my old benetton sweaters, esp. the one that is red and green striped – just like Freddy Crueger.

    Congrats for a productive weekend.

  41. 41
    Karla E. August 11, 2008 at 1:35 pm #

    Trust me…Closet Cleanout (toys or clothes) is best done when the children are ABSENT! I have two boys (6 and 9) and I simply do not care if their clothes are a little big. And if they come downstairs with clothes that look too small (they pick out their own clothes every morning) I mentally note that item for “collection” during the next wash cycle. We have a continual Goodwill bag…so they never really notice when something goes “missing.”

    Also, my boys are pretty good about giving up their old toys if they are going to “someone who doesn’t have enough money to buy their own toys.” Goodwill is a good organization…and if you use a program like “Deduct It” you can get GREAT tax deductions on your donations. For me, it’s really a better deal than consigning…usually.

  42. 42
    Tootsie Farklepants August 11, 2008 at 1:43 pm #

    I do this twice a year: Christmas and back to school. Except I don’t have them try the stuff on. I eyeball it. It’s because I lack patience.

    I am digging the bin in the closet idea. I will add it to the list of notes I’ve gathered from your blog.

  43. 43
    Alison August 11, 2008 at 1:54 pm #

    I swear you have been to my house. We did this exact same thing last week. Let me just say, the shoelaces of the male along with his church belt were used to hang his little sisters stuffed animals from any handy fixed object. (Think bunk bed here.) Which caused the three year old to scream at the top of her lungs, because she is not able to get them down by herself. This continues until your brain melts and leaks out your ears.

  44. 44
    jennielynn August 11, 2008 at 2:07 pm #

    I got tired just reading that. Especially when I realized Drama Queen is due for a Closet Cleanout.

  45. 45
    Gina August 11, 2008 at 2:11 pm #

    I always thought my mother was cruel and unusual for making all four of us kids do this twice a year. She did seem to actually enjoy it, although that was my perspective then. Now I really appreciate her showing us how to let go of things and stay organized. My daughters now have to joy of Closet Cleanout, too!

  46. 46
    Tanya August 11, 2008 at 2:25 pm #

    OMG! I do this three times a year. First an the onset of our pitiful winter (Translation=In AZ our winters last for the blink of an eye at a wonderous low of like 60!) Then a few weeks later, once again it is blazingly hot as h*** I get to put “up the winter close” and hope by some form of a miricle that next winter they will still fit. Then of course like all other kids, we MUST have new school close because the world would end I tell ya if they had to wear the shirt they wore last year this year!

    Consider yourself lucky that you only tackle this lovely job of cleaning out your kids closet once a year. Also consider yourself lucky to have a boy and a girl becasue my older daughter has no problem passing hand me downs to her sister but her younger sister thinks I am a horrible monster for making her wear her sisters clothes! Hey she is lucky I don’t pass down underwear!

  47. 47
    annette August 11, 2008 at 2:26 pm #

    This is where original sin really gets me. I blame it all on Eve. Without her and Adam’s mistake, we would be living in perfect climates at all time and without the clothes! Childbirth pain I can handle. Clothing six kids and making sure closets and dressers are in order and laundry and all the shopping and etc. etc. etc. That is REAL pain. Having just returned from vacation, I told my husband next year we are vacationing at a nudist colony. Trust me, I do not have the body for it. But, I am willing to endure the humility to forego the packing and laundry associated with vacation. Yep, next year, just a few bottles of SPF 50 sunscreen, and we’re off:)

  48. 48
    arduous August 11, 2008 at 2:41 pm #

    Wow! That is mad impressive. I think you need some chocolate after that. And some bacon!!

    Just so you know, Goodwill, Salvation Army, etc do textile recycling. Meaning stuff that is gross like old socks, they don’t sell, but instead send to a textile recycler and get paid for those textiles. It helps them cover some of their costs, and it means that those old things aren’t going into the landfill. So next time, you can toss the old, torn stuff in the bag too. (I did a lot of research on this because I didn’t want to just throw my old and torn clothes in the trash and have it be landfilled.)

  49. 49
    Donna August 11, 2008 at 3:04 pm #

    I feel your pain. This year I resorted to paying my kids 5 cents per item that they had to try on! It was amazing how quickly the incessant whining and complaining stopped! They were suddenly begging to try things on “just to be sure” it fits, instead of holding it up somewhere near their body and saying it was fine. I only owed the 3 of them a couple dollars each and it was well worth it for me. Sometimes a little bribing goes a long way. LOL

  50. 50
    Jenn August 11, 2008 at 3:29 pm #

    I paid my daughter a quarter to cooperate during our closet clean-up session. She’s 5 and fortunately does not know the value of a dollar yet. I expect not to be so lucky next year. But we survived and are more ready for school to start than I thought.

  51. 51
    Deputy's Wife August 11, 2008 at 3:51 pm #

    I am glad to see I am not the only mother who suffers, uh I mean enjoys, this yearly event.

    Why just two days ago I threatened middle child that he will go to school naked if he does not try on ONE MORE PAIR OF JEANS!

  52. 52
    Tj August 11, 2008 at 4:06 pm #

    My mother did the same thing with me as a child – I was a born pack rat turned OCD freak.

  53. 53
    mamalang August 11, 2008 at 4:23 pm #

    We do the clothes sort twice a year (spring and fall) and the major room clean separately, but also generally twice a year. It’s much better now that we have the cleaning lady. She’s very adept at removing trash and the children not noticing, so there’s a lot less to sort thru during the room cleaning. Yet another reason I LOVE my cleaning lady.

  54. 54
    Terri August 11, 2008 at 4:50 pm #

    This is the story of my life. And I am slated to do our version this week now that the kids started back to school today. Or maybe next week. Or maybe once the littlest one starts preschool in 2 weeks. Oh, wait. Our big consignment sales begin this weekend, so I guess we’re back to this week. Yay-rah.

  55. 55
    Catherine August 11, 2008 at 5:45 pm #

    I’m a super glutton for punishment, as I do the closet clean out twice a year–right before Christmas and right after Easter.

    Makes the holidays feel extra-special–know what I mean?

  56. 56
    Mom, Ink. August 11, 2008 at 7:49 pm #

    I can only aspire to torture my children someday in such an organized fashion. Buying clothes on sale a size or two ahead? I bow at your brilliance!!

  57. 57
    All Adither August 11, 2008 at 9:18 pm #

    I definitely handle the closet cleanout when the kids are otherwise occupied.

  58. 58
    Claudious August 11, 2008 at 11:15 pm #

    It sounds like you’ve been busy enough to let the desk rest for a day. Wonderful idea to do closet cleanup, nothing like watching your child come downstairs wearing a onesies and ready for Kindergarten. (Maybe I should do a closet cleanout)

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    Maia August 12, 2008 at 12:21 am #

    My parents always did this too. I’m so glad I don’t live with them anymore because now they have 12 kids living at home. Luckily there’s two of them, and one of my sisters is rather neat and tidy. But the other 11? DRAMA!

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    Nicole August 12, 2008 at 12:34 am #

    This post cracked me up! I did this every year when the girls were younger. We would go through EVERY SINGLE PIECE of clothing, including panties and those ratty socks, then divide them up. I found out that, as they got older, we had to start instituting the stretch test with t-shirts. If they raised their hands above their heads and the shirt exposed belly, off it went! THEY weren’t happy with their “old fashioned” mom, with a lot of eye rolling and whining “that’s the STYLE mom…geez!” and “this is how EVERYONE wears it!”….thank heavens they are now 16 & 14 and can do their own cleaning with minimal issues!

    And I do sympathize, in my head, my house is the paragon of organization and cleanliness! Outside my head….well, that’s another matter all together!

    Thanks for a good laugh!!

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    mama speak August 12, 2008 at 1:24 am #

    I do this like 4x a year. (My girls are growing so fast I have to.) We get hand me downs from a cousin (3 years older than my oldest)and then my girls are 3 years apart, so I save the hand me downs for the 5YO and hand me downs for the 2YO. I have bins coming out of my bins. I told my mom I was not buying new school clothes for the oldest (kindergarden) because she does. not. need. them. (Mom bought a couple outfits anyway.) I try to seperate out the times I do closets vs. dresser and not do both on the same day. I TRY. Inevitably my spare bedroom is always a holding ground for the lastest couple bins I’m working on.

    Oh, and I pass on the little ones clothes to my BFFs 10 month old. We get our money’s worth here in Nor Cal!

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    That Girl August 12, 2008 at 3:42 am #

    I’ll be living this tomorrow… so exhausting!

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    juliness August 12, 2008 at 8:01 am #

    Oh boy! Thanks for giving me that snapshot into the future, Mir. At this point I have TOTAL CONTROL over my daughter’s closet and realize I should be relishing that fact.

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    Crafty August 12, 2008 at 3:16 pm #

    It’s a good thing the house is nearly empty. Only my cats are staring at me like I’m a crazy lady (oh wait, I am…). I had to laugh at the Shoelace Reconnaissance. I’ve had to engage in such missions many times, although it’s rather easier for me – I’ve learned to look in my daughter’s pile of stuffed animals. She will grow up to either a.) conscientiously obey leash laws or b.) become a serial killer whose MO is to hang her victims. All the shoelaces, missing ponytail holders, ribbons, and anything else that can be tied around a stuffed toy, will be.

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    Astrogirl426 August 12, 2008 at 3:57 pm #

    It is a proven scientific fact that if cleaning is not done at the very instant that you have reached the limit of your ability to stand the effin’ mess, the universe will indeed implode from the rift in the space-time continuum. Also? There will be a very unhappy momma loose in the house, and that is most definitely even worse.

    Bunker Hubs laughs about how, when I get a bug up my ass to DO SOMETHING NOW ABOUT THIS MESS OR I WILL KILL SOMEONE, it’s usually 11pm. I have explained to him that the alternative is that I hack him into 18 little pieces and bury him in the backyard, under the garden, and I can assure him that all that anyone will say is, “My, your tomatoes are growing so nicely this year!” This is about the time he smiles ve-eeeee-ry nervously and goes to bunk in the kid’s spare bed. Our slogan? If momma ain’t happy, ain’t NObody happy.

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    Love Coach Rinatta August 13, 2008 at 2:46 am #

    Ah, I am glad I am not the only one that does the closet clean out, or as I call it, the weekend from hell endure twice a year. First we try on all clothing, which takes hours and than we deal with wailing over clothing that he really likes and can’t possibly let go off. And that joy is followed by mommy frantically running all over town for days getting all the clothing replaced because the child grows like a weed. And this weekend? I found out that he had a growth spurt and his arms and legs grew but not his body. So shirts that are long enough in the arms and pants long enough in the legs are toooooo big on the body and in the seat of the pants. Fun!! I am sending my child to school looking like a hobo.

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    Marissa August 13, 2008 at 12:27 pm #

    My great closet clean out is scheduled for tomorrow. This year my closet with be getting extra attention as I remove all the cheap “stylish” clothing I have acquired over the last 3 years when I transitioned from 29 yr old professional (and mom) with lots of clothes suitable for the office or a nice restaurant and exactly one outfit suitable for running errands or “casual wear” to a 29yr old law student surrounded by 22 yr olds that have nothing but cute stylish “casual wear.”

    I’m now a 31 yr old lawyer and mother in desperate need of nice lawyerly outfits, with a closet full of jeans and t-shirts.

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