One thing I love about Duck Head is the lack of clutter. I keep saying to Rod that I want to continue renting it for years to come b/c it makes us keep the cottage uncluttered, clean and ready to relax. I'm someone that always has about 101 to do lists. Rod loves to just hang at home on weekends but I want to get out and about so that I don't have to look around the house at all the things I want to do but haven't gotten to yet. Duck Head is teaching me how I like to live. And this lesson is carrying over to our main home.
Recently I've been cleaning house. Our youngest is 10 and while we still have little nephews I know that I don't need to have a playroom filled with a toy kitchen, blocks and toys. When the boys do come over they entertain themselves with whatever toys are available or with their cousins. Our girls have turned the playroom into an art room of sorts and they use the room as storage for their games that they often take up to their rooms or the attic when friends come over. We've entered a new phase of life and it was time to clear our attic, eaves, bedrooms, playroom, garage and basement of the little girl toys. Anyone that knows me knows that I get sad when I have to clear out my children's closets. Another outfit outgrown means my girls are growing up. I loved the little girl years but I am also so appreciative of the young women they are growing into. It is still sad to put the play kitchen away but it feels good to be surrounded only by things we love and use.
We kept a few of the more "classic" toys that make us sentimental and know that we would love to pull out when grandchildren fill our house. Those include that kitchen, blocks and animals, the dollhouse and furnishings my dad made for Kelsey's first Christmas. She climbed right inside thinking he'd made a little house just for her. We also chose a few other fun toys that we can tuck away in the attic and pull out someday. Only a few though. We didn't save everything. Likewise each of the girls has a memory bin where we have stowed favorite outfits, books, lovies and toys.
Facebook has some great yardsale sites that are easy tools to use when selling larger items like bikes, toy organizers and some clothes. My sister-in-law KT has also sold some things for me on eBay and we have dabbled a bit in Craigslist for more specific items like bike trainers and bikes that might cost more money than the yard sale site folks are willing to pay. It is hard to manage a lot of different sales at once so to truly clean house I am also participating in a consignment sale that takes place this weekend that my neighbor suggested. It took a few months to gather everything I wanted to sell together, tag it and get it all cleaned and ready to go. It felt so good to load up the entire pilot packed to the gills yesterday and come home with it empty. If the items don't sell they discount them to half off the last day and then donate them after that. I would tend to donate items to the local Women's and Children shelter, to friends and family (don't worry KT everything was super girly!), or to the library so any money we make from the sale will feel like a gift. The real gift is the lack of clutter.
It feels good to clean house and also to evaluate what is important to my kids. There are plenty of gifts that Santa brought over the years that they never played with more than once. With a pile of craft kits ready to pack up and sell Haley asked if we would please bring home the empty cardboard boxes we were bringing them all in so that she could make them into something. That is the kind of child I always wished to raise. Intrinsically motivated to create. To make something out of nothing. To explore the world through her own creations and ideas. Her sister's are slowly disappearing from the playing world of childhood and looking more and more like teens each day. But they still swing on the swingset before dinner, make elaborate forts in the yard, and know how to play. Their little boy cousins bring out the child in them and it's fun to see they still know how to get down on the floor and be kids. Even if it is with straightened hair, make up on and an iPhone at the ready in their pocket.