Shake Your Groove Thing
The Snow Day Curmudgeon

Making Room

Over the weekend, I started cleaning up/clearing out my "sewing room" . . . which is technically not a room, but a designated corner in our basement (albeit a room-sized corner.)  Technically, it's not a "sewing room" either, because it houses much more than just my sewing stuff (like . . . all my yarn and stitching stuff is in there, too.)  

Anyway.  I'm lucky to have chosen this particular corner for my "sewing room" . . . because it has a built-in storage space along one wall with a small closet, several drawers, and a cupboard.  I should be able to keep my stuff neat-and-tidy with all that built-in storage space, non?  Ha!  Of course not.  Because that storage space is storing stuff that is (mostly) not sewing or knitting or stitching related.

And therein lies the problem.  In order to properly clean up/clear out my "sewing room," I first need to tackle that built-in storage space with a little Kon-Mari action.  

And therein lies the other problem.  Most of the stuff in the closet . . . is sentimental stuff.  The flotsam and jetsam of my kids' childhoods.  Old school papers and mementoes and art projects.  Stuff I've been dreading sorting through for years and years now (and especially since I took an initial pass through much of that stuff in preparation for their high school graduations; I'd seen the enemy . . . ).

Last Saturday afternoon, though, in the midst of a snowstorm, I plunged in!  It turned out to be quite a nice trip down memory lane, actually.  I culled the best and most representative samples of my kids' school papers and artwork and programs and awards to curate a little pile of memories for each of them -- and I recycled the rest.  Along the way, I photographed several things to share with them immediately, and together we decided on some items that were on-the-bubble.  It ended up being . . . not so bad.  And - BONUS - I have freed up a huge amount of storage space in that closet area.

Want to see a few things I found in the closet?  (3 things maybe . . . since it's Thursday?)

1 - I found lots of wonderful school papers and drawings, mostly from the elementary years.  Eventually I came to understand the folly of my ways in keeping all the stuff, and by middle school and high school, I was much more particular about what I saved.  But those early papers brought back so many wonderful memories -- and the kids loved seeing how they wrote and drew as young children.  One that brought laughs to all 3 of us is this gem from Brian.  He made an alphabet Mother's Day book for me in second grade.  Here is his entry for the letter R:


Yep.  I am the proud mother of a kid that doesn't reek.  (And that alphabet book made it into Brian's pile of papers to save.)

2 - I had several boxes filled with art projects from the elementary years.  Some were from school; some (especially from Erin) were projects they made at home.  (I will just say, in retrospect, it is amazing how many things kids can make from construction paper, cotton balls, glue, and glitter.)  Here is a wooden nutcracker that Erin made with my Dad in his workshop one winter:


Sadly, this one didn't make the cut!  Erin and I decided it was time for this guy to go.  (Along with a pottery "tray" she made that weighed about 30 pounds, and a matching "mug" with a handle heavy enough to deliver an upper body workout with every lift.)

3 - I also had stashed and saved boxes of memorabilia from various special events over my kids' school years.  Concert programs, academic awards, newspaper clippings, announcements, party invitations -- the kind of stuff that you think you're going to want to save forever, but really . . . not so much.  I kept the best and most meaningful of the bunch and recycled the rest.  I also found about 20 copies of the newspaper with this article:


Twenty years ago, Erin (along with her special "Fluffy French Toast" recipe) was featured in the monthly Grand Rapids Press Cooking with Kids segment.  It was a Big Deal . . . and I had (almost) forgotten about it.  I saved a copy for Erin, and the rest went in recycling.  (20 years . . . and Tom is still motified by the highlight of his quote.  "Did I really say that?" he asked when he saw it.  Yep.  He did.)

I'm glad I finally just got in there are tackled those boxes of kid-stuff.  It was quicker, easier, and way more fun than I expected -- and now I have all that room in my closet.

How about you?  Have you sorted through the sentimental memorabilia in your closets?  Or are you better at culling through that stuff from the get-go?


Be sure to hop on over to Carole's today for more Three on Thursday fun.


And . . . if you are interested in Erin's recipe for French toast, let me know.  I saved that, too.



Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


Oh yes. Yes Yes Yes! I was forced into doing this a few years ago when we decided to rent the upstairs apartment to non-family and had to completely retreat. (I call it "downsizing in my own home," but it's still a lot of work!) Anyway, I cannot believe all the crap I saved, and that was easy to toss. But, like you, there was plenty of ART and other cool stuff. I did exactly as you did, though photographed quite a bit and always had the intention of making a photo book (or three).


I’m in for the French toast recipe! My mother was a minimalist so my creations are quite sparse. I save everything that my stepchildren gave us! Making up for my childhood???


I can relate (and thank goodness I only have one child - lol). Several years ago I did weed things out and got rid of a lot. Guess I just need to do it in stages...I don't really think Colin is interested in any of that stuff. Though...on Monday while cleaning out cookbooks, I came across one from his 4th grade classroom - can't wait to show him that!


Downsizing forever, that’s what my hubby wants to do, I keep foraging and hiding.
Except going through his mother’s possessions at various times in her downsizing (from old house to new house, from that house to apartment, from there to assisted living, and now with her death the final) - it’s also going through that different time span of him as a child - how entertaining and sentimental that was.


Those are such great memories, thank you for sharing them with us. (Nice quote, Tom.) I'm pretty good about NOT saving papers and things but I'm married to someone who saves every-freakin-thing. Sigh.


How cute.

When we moved from our house in Orlando to an apartment in Jacksonville, we knew we had to drastically downsize. Our son is now the keeper of all things sentimental.


I did it a couple of years in a pretty closet-free house helps with these decisions! I saved a few things but pretty much got it down to a small tote. That said...I've still got unpacked boxes from 10/30/87...move in day! :-)


What fun and I love how you did this remotely with your kids!! This sparks so much joy! And, this sparks some ideas! I have boxes of stuff that I should do this exact thing with! XO


My mom gave us each a shoebox of treasures, which she gleaned through when she wasn't able to move around. To the last she made good use of her time. I still have that shoebox which with all the photographs and memorabilia of my adult years is about a 2'x2' box. If I'd had kids I would have been in the same boat as you! I love seeing what made it and what didn't. Good work Kym (and kids).


Seems like a lot of Kon Marie-ing going on!


I'm glad that ended up being a happy exercise for everyone (well, except maybe for Tom ;-) ... and yay you for reclaiming all that space! (and I'd love to see a few more letters from Brian's book!)

The comments to this entry are closed.