I Don't Save My Kids' Stuff Because It Gives Me Anxiety

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Walking into my daughter’s room this morning, I caught glimpse of her school project lying on the floor — there were colored pencils, scissors, and glue sticks strewn about.

Half-empty bottles of perfume and body lotion were scattered on her desk next to Tupperware containers bubbling over with glittery slime. There was a Barbie she hasn’t played with in years with its hair cut off and said hair was sitting right next to a few mismatched socks.

Instead of walking by, pausing at the door to notice the sunshine streaming in the windows (which reminds just how fucking dusty her room is) and marvel at her project and the homemade slime, these are the thoughts that went through my head:

For fuck’s sake I can not deal with this. We just purged this place. We just carried out a truck load of crap. Where did this come from? I swear kids’ shit multiplies. Are broken toys capable of reproducing? What the hell smells in here? If she gets any more slime stuck in this carpet, she’s going to see 50 shades of me going to the bad place.

Then I realized that was the same Tupperware collection I couldn’t find this morning as I was on my knees on the hard kitchen floor looking for something to store the cooked bacon in while yelling to my kids, “Where the hell did all the damn Tupperware go?” In return, all I got was silence.

Yet, here they were strewn about my daughter’s bedroom floor.

Nothing gets me in the mood for a good purge party like a few lies and denial. You fill my new Tupperware with sticky slime that dries like cement in the kitchen sink and on the countertops and it’s going to find its way to the trash with a slam dunk.

Then I’ll probably do a dance because purging the hell out of a room brings me the kind of joy money can’t buy.

I know I should keep more school projects and papers. There was a time when every drawing my kids made me was filed away in an big Rubbermaid tub along with their report cards and every leaf and stone they brought home.

OK, that’s a huge lie — I’m a purger at heart, but having kids makes you feel guilty about tossing all that crap in the garbage. But I was born this way, and you can’t take the purging instinct out of a woman.

All this stuff taking up space in my house is a trigger for me. I’m not my best self when surrounded paper, toys, and random shit. I’m not an organizer either; I’m a tosser. Clutter makes me go from calm to “pass me another fucking trash bag and let’s get this party started,” in under 2 seconds.

I realize some things I’ve thrown away are sentimental, and there’s a chance I have done damage to my kids by getting rid of their stick and feather collections. But in my defense, those feathers were from a germ-laden seagull and whether those long brown things were actually sticks is still in question.

Am I going to regret one day that I didn’t save every toy, every picture, or every piece of moss from every flipping walk in the woods we’ve taken?

No. Not bloody likely.

But you know what I would regret? The way I would act if I just let all the stuff that’s peppered around my house accumulate. No can do.

My house is a happy house after I purge. And somehow my kids have adjusted. They’ve learned to hide their valuables and keep that shit hidden away. And they know that if they have so much shit that it starts seeping out of the closets and drawers, it’s gonna go bye-bye.

And since this saves us all a shit-ton of stress, I’ll just keep on purging.

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