I spent more than seven hours this weekend cleaning out my kids’ playroom. It’s a thankless task. When it was over, I felt like I had completed a marathon: exhausted, sweaty, dirty, and a little bitter that no one else cared about finishing as much as I did.
I only do the playroom cleanup purge about twice a year because I know the energy and time required. I’m like an anthropologist, digging through the Matchbox cars, puzzle pieces, action figures, and art supplies that once had a home, but somehow migrated into overflowing baskets of chaos.
There is a great sense of satisfaction in throwing things away and gathering usable toys and games to donate. But I always have a twinge of sadness at the symbolism. Seeing the stuffed Mickey Mouse and giant fire truck puzzle being carted away for some other toddler boy reminds me that my kids are growing up.
Was it all the dust from the emptied shelves or nostalgia causing that welling in my eyes? Nothing I can do about it, so I focus on the order I made. I take my kids on a tour of the new and improved room, explaining where things go after they play with them. Yet we all know that I’ll be right back there in six months when the clutter returns, singing the playroom cleanup blues.