My niece has returned home.  She arrived safely back in Wyoming tonight.  Boy will we miss that girl, but we made her leave some of her items here (okay, so truthfully, she didn’t have room for them) so that she’d be sure to come visit… AND I’ve told her mother that she and her other daughter are to accompany Star on one of her trips back for a ‘girls few nights out’ event.

In the meantime, we’re trying to clear our house out to sell and I’m frustrated with the slow going.  Between tearing my mom’s kitchen apart to get rid of some pesky bugs whose home base we located… (don’t trust Tupperware spice racks… I have no more to say!) and continuing to do so in order to spray it down with home defense, since we don’t know if we got them all… between coughs and colds and periodic lack of a van… between kids’ nap schedules, I’ve averaged maybe an hour and a half of work in our house this entire week.  Hmmm… at this rate, it will be ready to show in 2010.  I think I may ask Matt to give up his only non-work day tomorrow to attack the house with me.  The kids can pick up toys, he can do heavy lifting, and I’ll stand there stupefied by the enormity of the task ahead.  Sorting clothes and deciding what things are important enough to pack, valuable enough to sell, worth enough to give away, useless enough to trash…. there are just SO MANY decisions.  I don’t do well at multiple choice decisions when it comes to stuff.  I can do "yes/no".  But after the "Yes/No" comes, Yes, where do I put it, is there room there.  No… what do I do with it then, where should I put it till then. 

The whole give away, throw away, keep pile thing helps, except that then you have to either hold on to all your give away piles until you go to Goodwill or, worse yet, sort through them and find out who it belongs to and make a point of returning it, find more things that actually belong to my sister who doesn’t want it back YET because she is also trying to clean house and doesn’t want extra junk to sort either. 

Ugh.  Decisions. 

Cleaning is much easier when everything already has a place.  Oh… AND the place is accessible.  I can’t tell you how tempted I am to never save another child’s clothing item… instead of trying to store them for the next kid, we’ll do clothes for Christmas and birthdays and I’ll continue to buy very nice 99 cent dresses and pants for my kids at Goodwill or $15 lots of clothes on ebay that will take them through the winter season.  And if we take up gift-giving with clothes… well, that eliminates the toy sorting/putting away problem too. I think I would have thrived in those societies and time periods that had three outfits, a ball a truck and a doll.  No more decisions, see? 

As an example, I’ve had alot of people ask what Asa wants for his birthday (tomorrow) and for Christmas.  Except for the gap in boys clothing between 12-18 months that  is probably substantially filled as of tomorrow’s gift unwrapping and my last Goodwill run, the kid is set for the next three years!!  His brother’s old clothes await him.  We have all the cars and balls a kid could want.  I’m half tempted to tell people to just buy for the oldest of each gender and we’ll wrap up their old things for the younger ones.  As a point of fact, we will probably do exactly that when we get Orion’s booster.  Clean up the other two big-kid car seats and present Lithany’s to Asa and Orion’s to Lithany.  Everybody gets a new seat, nobody is left out and we purchase a single item.  Sounds happy to me!!!

With all my grumping out of the way, I have to confess that we are truly blessed to have clothes to store for the next child.  The fact that we had purchased almost nothing for my first son his first two years due to hand-me-downs from my sister’s boys and generous friends, grandparents, aunts, uncles, great granparents and great aunts… that’s pretty amazing.  I think we purchased his carseat and socks.  That was it!  Last year when he turned three I was required to purchase pants.  I think I paid $15 on ebay for the lot of jeans that saw him through the winter and are stored away waiting for Asa’s turn.  Lithany’s winter wardrobe this year, except for the tights and one or two 99 cent bargain dresses, was brought together solely by very nice hand-me downs from other girls at our church. 

I have drawn a few lines, however, the first is that hand-me-down underwear… especially that of little boys… is just not going to happen. 

God truly blesses our socks off.  Now if only he’d bless me with organizational skills to match.