Day 95: Mementos – Not A Measure Of Love

9,500 things gone, only 500 to go

I desperately wanted to knock off Day 95 yesterday. I should know by now that being desperate about anything doesn’t serve me well.

I spent a few hours in the morning inventory-ing the family room and living room. The numbers were small (28 things decluttered) but it was massively satisfying.

Check out my toy pile before:

And after:

There is nothing on the floor but the furniture in this room. Woo hoo!

As the days dwindle (only 5 left!), my decluttering is slowing to a trickle. But my thoroughbred brain is racing right along:

If I finish Day 95 this weekend, I can do the last five days this week, run a vacuum around the house on the weekend, and I’ll be done! Forever.

Then the kids want to eat lunch or go to the skateboard park and my decluttering plans are foiled again. Weekends are bad for that.

I lay awake next to my youngest son Sunday night wishing him to sleep so that I could jump up, inventory the laundry room, blog about it, then go to bed. The trouble was, I was already drifting. I reasoned that I could skip the blogging if I finished the inventory. I woke up an hour later tangled in Star Wars sheets. Youngest son: 1 Decluttering: 0

I resumed my inventory in his room this afternoon. I found another 28 things to get rid of. At 56 things, I wasn’t even close to declaring Day 95 a wrap.

I moved on to the oldest child’s room and, one hour later, had only brought the total to 68.

Then I hit the decluttering jackpot  – a Winnie the Pooh box on the top shelf of his closet stuffed to the gills with mementos of his first two years.

I must have saved every piece of paper his little hands ever sprinkled glitter on. The bottom of the box was covered with the ever popular non-toxic toddler art materials – macaroni and lentils. More questionable things I saved: his certificate of completion of Gymboree, his first Build-A-Bear’s birth certificate, 14 copies of his birth announcement and 9 photocopies of the first ultrasound (in addition to the originals) in which he looked just like a tiny mummy.

These items launched me well on my way to Day 96 albeit trailing plumes of guilt. You see, I didn’t even announce number two’s birth let alone take him anywhere that involved macaroni and glue. By the time he arrived (difficult pregnancy, long birth) all I could do was breastfeed and weep.

So, 16-year-old number two, if you’re reading this and wondering about your birth announcement, you should know that, although we got off to a rough start – you and I pulled through. You were the child of my decluttering, my crayoned companion, master of recycling, tester of toys and batteries, puzzle piece finder – a veritable worker bee. And I loved staying home with you.

If you’re interested in the latest inventory (family room, living room, kid’s bedrooms) you can find it here:

family room inventory (spreadsheet malfunction noted – will fix tomorrow!)

What I tossed today: clothing, artwork, DVD’s, books, batteries, paper recycling, toys


22 thoughts on “Day 95: Mementos – Not A Measure Of Love

  1. Yep, any child after the 1st gets the shaft. As a 3rd child, I have pretty much no pictures. Surprisingly, there are things in my baby book, but I assume my mom guesstimated the days. For our #2, I did do a baby shower, birth announcement, pro photos, and part of his baby book. I’m still needing to put 4 teeth, which I too will guesstimate.

    As for saving stuff, I’m having a hard time with this now that our oldest is in preschool. He LOVES to save it all and cries if a single paper is in the recycling. How did you decide which pieces to keep?

    • I’d save it all (for the school year) if he’s attached to it. Maybe find a place where you can tack it up covering one week’s work with the next. Then, at the end of the year, decide what is special enough to store. I only save things I imagine the museum will come looking for when my sons become famous artists. Erin, at dreams you dare to dream, only saves things that don’t look like her neighbour’s kid could have done them. I take a photo of any of my son’s writing, especially if it says – I Love You, Mom!

  2. Awwww… sniff, sniff… You caught me off guard there, all teary before my morning coffee! All our second child has to show for his early entry to the world is a great story — born en route to hospital amidst mum yelling to dad, “Run the red!!” Kind of explains why he is the child he is, doesn’t it?

    • A great story is worth a thousand mementos. I caught myself off guard with this one. I wasn’t sure where I was going with this until halfway through when I found the box of number one’s treasures. Come to think of it “Run the red!!!” was a very fitting arrival for your second.

  3. Awww…sniff caught me off guard too…your little “worker bee” will never need to wonder about how much you loved him..the two of you have been joined at the hip (well actually he’s been attached to your leg) since birth! :o) Mementos are lovely, of course, but certainly not a measure of nor substitute for love…

  4. I think I was born before the baby book/scrapping craze. I have seen some momentos, but nothing that captures my every first thing and I feel none the worse for the lack thereof. And I’m an only child, so my mom has no excuse. I think what you wrote above means way more than a list of dates. 🙂

    Wow! When you take inventory you REALLY take inventory! I have spreadsheet envy. I admit, I want to do this, but am afraid, afraid it would take FOREVER. But maybe I would find more things I can part with, because lately my decluttering has come to a complete stop. And it makes me sad. Is that weird?

    • That’s not weird. Decluttering is exciting. I’ll be sad when it’s over, but I can’t believe how many things the inventory is unearthing. Holy Moly did I miss stuff when I did my first round. You might consider a photo inventory just for yourself. It’s like looking at your stuff with fresh eyes.

  5. So sweet to hear your little guy has been helping you declutter! And I can’t believe how close you are getting to your goal – almost time to celebrate!

  6. Dear Christine,

    I just discovered your blog through the HGTV website. Very inspiring. My favourite is that your one rule was “no organizing”. I always felt that was part of the job but while it will come later, the first job is to get rid of all the crap so you can at least see what you have left to organize. Wish me luck.

  7. It is SOOO nice to hear that I’m not the only second child in the world to be “un-recorded” so to speak. I remember as a 9 year old coming across the baby books that my mother kept after my older brother was born. HOLY MOLY! I mean there were like a dozen books full of locks of hair and pictures, and writing, and records of the first EVERYTHING! Seriously, I think she kept a record of the first time that kid farted! Me… well, I think there were a grand total of 5 snap shots of me under age 2. It always was a bone of contention for me as a child… somehow it helps to know this is a common syndrome.

    And as I look around at my home wondering if I’ll ever see horizontal surfaces again, I am struck by one thought… What will keep me honest once you finish your challenge? I mean, I’ve had some serious slip ups lately… the worst being the stainless steel water bottle that I bought at the thrift store because the thrift store was across the street from the dentist’s office… and I got there 20 minutes early because the snow wasn’t nearly as bad as advertised… and I had to kill time… and it was stainless steel… and I had some vague hope that it might fit in my bike water bottle holder and allow me to replace the plastic one… but it didn’t… and so now I have a stupid stainless steel water bottle that I’ll never use… did I mention that I already HAVE a stainless steel water bottle that I seldom use because I generally just don’t go any place that I have to bring water…. AAAARRRRRGGGGHHHHH!!!!!!!!

    At least I’m not collecting beer cans… at least I’m not collecting beer cans… at least I’m not collecting beer cans… at least I’m not collecting beer cans… I’ll just keep saying it until I feel better…

    • At least you’re not collecting beer cans…a stainless steel water bottle, that’s an honest mistake. 101 bottles of beer on the wall – that’s a syndrome. Really, what were you supposed to do waiting for the dentist in the “not as bad as advertised” snow?
      I’m so sorry you weren’t recorded. I’m a second too and I had considerably fewer photos in my album than my sister’s. I know from experience that it’s not personal, one child is novel, two are survival!

  8. Love 2nd photo. It seems the change of a life in a room. So clean. Organized. Minimalist. I would spend a good time there : P Good good work!

  9. It was a pleasure to be a witness to sweet C’s first years although I’m sure there is lots of other evidence! I’ve heard it say that the reason some marriages last for many many years is that each partner in the marriage wants the other to be a witness to their life…I think there’s some truth to this plust the fact that after a certain length of time, there’s just too much history! :o)

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