Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Stuff

We live in a normal sized house. Only about 2,000 square feet, including the basement. Our house was built in the 1970s before closet space was recognized as being important. Consequently, we have no coat closet and the rest of our closets are, well, wee.

One of the laws of parenting is that kids come with Stuff. They accumulate Stuff. And their Stuff grows and multiplies at an exponential rate until it threatens to take over the house.

Because our house is not large, we have to use every available square inch, plus get creative about storage. Our closets don't hold just clothes, there are other things tucked into every nook and cranny.

But the Stuff continues to expand and ooze into all parts of the house.

I try to stay on top of the situation. About every six weeks, a nonprofit group comes through and collects whatever Unloved Stuff we put on the curb. I do my best to sort through our Stuff and put out a bag or a box or eleven bags and boxes of Stuff every time. I'll go through the girls' bedrooms and throw out their collections of used bandaids and the cardboard recycling they have hidden under a bed where they think I won't find it. To my girls: That's the FIRST place I look.

But the Stuff still accumulates.

I go through my closet and dresser a few times a year, looking for Stuff to get rid of. I toss out dresses I'll never fucking ever wear again. I get rid of pants that make my ass look bigger than it is. I purge sweaters in unflattering colors. I pitch the shoes that are so ungodly uncomfortable that even my children won't wear them when playing dress up.

But the Stuff still marches forward and claims new territories in the name of the Queen of Stuff.

I convince Pete we need to get rid of Stuff. Skis boots that don't fit me? Gone. A table-top grill that we've never used in the decade we've had it. Gone. Various knick knacks and other assorted dust-catching crap? Gone. Gone. Gone.

One day, I will win the war on stuff. Our house will be tidy. Neat. There will be empty corners and gaps in the closets. Our home will be Zen.

But that will come at the cost of our daughters growing up, going to college, moving out on their own. There will be empty rooms where once the girls played with their dollhouse, built forts, and piled up comic books to read in a marathon of Richie Rich and Archie.

I'm not eager for that time and want to forestall it as along as is reasonably possible.

So, for now, I'll live with the Stuff and everything that comes with it.

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