I don’t even know how much I have to say on the topic (turns out it was quite a lot), but it was something to came to mind as I knocked over—for the 7th time — an office supply holder thingy that I’ve got on my desk.

This friggin’ thing

Correction: it’s under my desk, like on one of the shelves that has no walls.

My leg must have grazed against it and here’s what fell out:

  1. A little baggie with a pair of earplugs AND some earphone adapters (like to use when your ears are bigger smaller than the earbuds)
  2. A pen from the company I worked at in 2016
  3. A pen from Fred Meyer (have I ever been to one…I don’t think so)
  4. Four USB thumb drives…no, wait…six USB thumb drives
  5. Two SD cards
  6. A SIM card from gawd knows which past phone of mine
  7. Earhooks, to put on AirPods to help them stay in your ears (problem solved with the AirPods Pro)
  8. A PopSocket, including the sticky part
  9. A PopSocket top (which is interchangeable)
  10. Another pen (Bic Clic Stic, medium)

This isn’t even scratching the surface. It’s just indicative of just how much random and needless crap we have in this house.

We Have Two Kids and Three Dogs

Ok, it’s not ALL their fault, but let’s be honest here. If my wife and I lived alone and had no kids or pets, we wouldn’t have this m̶u̶c̶h exact stuff.

Sigh. I caught myself mid-sentence. We’d probably still have more stuff than we need but (I’d like to think that) it wouldn’t be all over the place.

When we travel, without the dogs (but with the kids) we realize how much stress is lifted from simply being in an environment that isn’t cluttered, messy and dog-filled.

They’re adorable and we love them, but they need to be fed, they bark, they wrestle with each other, we have to put them in a crate when we leave the house, we have to gate off parts of our house so they won’t chew things, we can’t leave food on any surface they can reach, etc, etc.

You get the idea.

So without mess and without dogs, we actually feel pretty alright taking care of our kids in a strange house. “Strange” as in, not familiar to us. Not like we seek out weird houses on Airbnb…usually.

At Some Point, You Just Hide Things

We recently had family over for Thanksgiving, which meant clearing out some space and making things look nice. While we did manage to actually put stuff away and toss out things like cardboard boxes, loose papers, etc. there were definitely some items that we just hid.

Like, put them somewhere that they can’t be seen but that is most certainly not where it belongs or should live.

In the laundry room, in the guest room, in the garage, in the hall closet, in the corner behind the couch. I mean, we’ve become quite good at it.

And it’s not just when we have guests that we shove stuff into random nooks and crannies. Sometimes I just take everything on the kitchen table, put it in a box and then put it somewhere out of sight (usually in the garage).

The same goes for toys. I’ve started just taking the toys that are on the floor, and boxing them up. I don’t want to see them, the kids probably won't miss them, and it makes them gone.

Sure enough, they rarely ever ask for something that I’ve tucked away in a cardboard prison.

The Garage…The Friggin’ Garage

I don’t even know if I should go down this path. I’ve got some PTSD (Post Trash-Sorting Disorder) related to it. I have Tasmanian Deviled that garage so many times, hoping that somehow it will remain clear of crap.

It does get better with each subsequent clearing out, and we did just get rid of a LOT of bulky items today to help furnish my parents-in-law’s new 5-bedroom house (take all these mattresses and box springs, please).

And soon we can add one of the bikes to that list, also going to the in-laws’ house.

Hmmm…come to think of it, a lot of the toys, games, and books that clutter up our lives will probably be welcomed to help create child-friendly spaces in their new house.

My wife bought some home gym equipment and for a while, we did manage to keep the area clear so she could work out. But then, inevitably, the crap crept into the crypt.

Now that we’ve rid ourselves of several queen-sized box springs and a mattress, we’ve opened up a corner of our garage.

Quick, let’s stack this box of…ummm, what the hell is in this box anyway?

It’s got a salt shaker, a plastic water cup, some legos, school worksheets, a sheet of paper with a leaf glued to it, a kid’s book, 5 Cheerios…ohhhhhh, it’s one of my “get all of this BS off my kitchen table” boxes!

My 2020 Vision (See What I Did There…Huh?)

In the new year, my goal is to finally go through this house with a critical and unforgiving eye and decide whether we should..

  • Keep the thing
  • Donate the thing
  • Trash/recycle the thing
  • Return the thing to the store (sometimes just the act of buying something is satisfying enough…then return it)

Of course, it’s not enough to simply get stuff OUT of the house. We have to stop bringing so much stuff INTO our house. That probably starts with me and my wife. If we can set an example for the kids, maybe the whole family can finally sit at the kitchen table without wondering where the heck the salt shaker went.