7 Quick Takes:

7 Quick Takes:

Just squeaking through to make this on Friday.


I think I need to stop buying things online.  I’m 0 for 3 on my last 3 attempts.

First there was the doll for Bella’s birthday. I thought I’d found the most adorable rag dolls. Perfect. I ordered one and Amazon shipped expeditiously. And I received the wrong one. But never fear the nice man at customer service apologized for the mix up and overnighted me a replacement, sure to arrive on the day of her birthday. And it did. And it was the same wrong one.

And so we gave her the wrong doll. And she liked it well enough for a few days. And then one day she declared, “I don’t like that doll.” And hasn’t touched it since. Though Sophie does seem to like it. Not sure what that’s about except a certain 3 year old miss is starting to get very opinionated about all sorts of things.

And then there was the camisole I somehow ordered several sizes too big, even though I thought I’d measured and calculated correctly. It looks like a tent and I’m going to have to pay to ship it back and have them ship a replacement. Not so fun.

And then today I got an email that for some reason the denim skirt I finally made up my mind to order has been canceled. Either it was out of stock or something went wrong with the credit card.


Did I mention our 3-year old has become opinionated? The girl who hardly noticed what she wore now has declared that she doesn’t like two t-shirts and refuses to wear them. Ever. I guess those shirts will just go in the to be donated bag.

And she now doesn’t like to wear blue jeans. And she frequently disputes with me about clothing choices. Oh yes, she has opinions.


Our newly minted three year old miss also is trying out the boundaries of obedience. Her new favorite phrase: I don’t want to do x.

So it goes:

“Bella, can you please pick up those toys and put them in the basket.”
“I don’t want to pick up the toys!”
“Please don’t tell me no. I asked you to pick up the toys.”
Shriek. “I don’t want to!!!”
“Well, I don’t want to take you to story time at the library. I guess we’ll stay home.”
“Ok, I’m picking up the toys.” She gets up and does it.
“Thank you very much for picking up the toys. Good job, Bella.”


Some of the tomatoes we planted are not looking so well. The peppers are almost all looking sad. I sure hope they survive.


I’m too used to driving around with a 3-year old. I got excited about a firetruck on my way to my OB the other day before I realized that Bella wasn’t with me. And I was taking mental note of school buses and motorcycles, things I’d usually point out to her.


One of the great high points of this week: cleaning out the minivan on Sunday. Dom took the seats out and vacuumed up at least a quarter box of cheerios and raisins and old cheese. Took a bunch of stuff in that didn’t need to be cluttering up the car. We were interrupted by a thunderstorm rolling in and didn’t wash it. Oh but even so it almost feels like a new car.


On a positive note about Bella: she put together a great color-coordinated outfit this morning and I didn’t even have to ask her to get dressed or supervise the process. Green pants, green striped shirt. It looked adorable with her green rain boots. Accident or does she perhaps have the beginning of a sense of sartorial taste?

As usual, visit the lovely Jennifer at Conversion Diary for more quick takes.

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  • Presents can be difficult, but if it is really something I don’t want in the house, my issue is getting rid of it without the giver knowing – if they find out I can feel guilty for a long time (yep – have been there). I dread someone asking about something I have gotten rid of but I do store some things and would probably remark that it might be stored in the seasonal turn of toys, or whatever – dishonest, but to avoid hurt feelings. If I think it is something the girls might miss, I will hide it for a while and see if they ask for it. So far Cecilia hasn’t asked for anything I’ve gotten rid of. I have a black garbage bag handing from the banister with some things to donate – clothes, toys, extra baby spoons (how did I get so many of those?) … no one has asked for anything in it yet. If, on the other hand, it is something I am on the fence about, I might see just how much the girls like it and then decide. If their interest lasts only a week, and I’ve had toys I’ve given them do that, then we will hide it and when they don’t ask for it, get rid of it.

    Generally if I have a hard time getting rid of something it is because I’m unsure if I will have a use or want or need for it later and would not want to buy it when I had previously had it. So I tend to save clothes, books, and (for now anyway) baby stuff. I’d hate to get rid of our baby swing to find we had a colicky little one who would only go to sleep in a swing – that kind of thing. But even then, stuff that gets saved for that reason, has a finite time to prove itself. I mean, even if I keep baby stuff 10 years, I won’t be having babies in my 50s, so I know it will go eventually and it isn’t “clutter” in the sense that I know it could be useful. On the other hand, baseball programs from games James and I went to when we were still living in Irving I have no problem getting rid of as I cannot remember the specific game, even if they were fun times. Maybe not having as good a memory is helpful in de-cluttering?

    I’m sorry if this is not an organized thought – my longest span of sleep last night was 3 hours, but I hope it made some sense.

  • I’m somewhere in the middle – not a packrat, but have a fair amount of clutter. Presents are not much of an issue here as we have very few gift givers (a function of having very few living relatives between myself and dh) – I tend to give the girls more to compensate, but these days I am quite careful to avoid things that will add to clutter.

    The older girls accumulate their own clutter, but they have now reached a stage where they are beginning to clear it out for themselves – every so often my brother takes them to a car boot sale (kind of like a garage sale, except that you sell your stuff from the back of your car) and they sell things they have outgrown or don’t want any more. Unwanted clutter of mine I either give to the girls to sell or give away. Larger ticket items or odd things I think may be useful to someone but are not really saleable I advertise on Freecycle. If someone wants them, great; if not, then I throw them.

    I definitely have things I should purge but can’t bring myself to get rid of. The two older girls collected beanie babies, and though we did thin them out at one point, I have kept far more than I should for Cherub. And books. I’m trying to get myself organised to sell a load of academic history books from when I was studying for my Ph.D and lecturing. I know I am not going to use them again, but because they are specialist I want to them to go somewhere they will be useful. I actually managed to send an email enquiry to a bookshop in Oxford, but haven’t got any further – partly because I don’t really want to let go of them, and partly inertia.

  • I am also somewhere in the middle – though dh would contend closer to packrat…A book that started me thinking was It’s All Too Much (Peter Walsh). I’d never heard of him, but turns out he’s been on the usual celebrity-show tour to talk about…stuff.

    His book got me thinking about a lot of things—- how much freer you are to enjoy the things you really love when your load is lighter, how you can use a gift once and think of the giver and then give it away if it only burdens rather than truly delights (do you love it enough to get rid of one other thing in it’s place?), what you would keep if you had only 1 large box for your most treasured possessions, etc.

    Also, having worked w/ someone helping to organize some estate/home sales, I’ve realized how much of the “stuff” is really just a burden. When one mother made her three daughters come home and claim everything of theirs that filled the parents’ attic, they wittled the stuff down to a very few boxes—- even though their parents had dragged the stuff from one house to the next.

    We get way too many gifts for the children (not tons – but still too many). We, the parents give way less as a result, move toys through quickly/rotate/bring things out months after the occasion when it’s more appreciated…

    Also interesting is how so much of the stuff wears thin with time—- stuffed animals saved seem dingy 3 years later, the toy truck pretty beat up… less is more…saving only a few real treasures is worth all of the hours saved across the years moving, sorting, looking at too much stuff saved.

    We need these kind of posts to constantly think about these things and lighten our loads….

    I hope to do more of the pitching, paring, sorting and ordering this summer.

  • You might find Don Aslett’s book, Clutter’s Last Stand helpful – it’s a bit repetitive, but helped me come to peace with getting rid of a bunch of stuff that I had long angsted over. His discussion of gifts was pretty good, I thought.

  • Well some real incite into the world of clutter.  I have lived with clutter all my 70 years, either my own or someone else’s and I finally gave it to God and said “Here you show me what I should do.”  He did!

    There I was standing in front of a pile of..? whatever clutter and I decided: 1. Have I or others in the family touched, worn or played with it the past month or year. 2. Was it a gift of sentiment or just to use.  3. Should I sell, donate or save.  4.  Arrange for three large tubs, bags or boxes marked in #3.  5. Place these all together (if you can) and when they are full (for as you mosey along someone can deposit them in the right receptacle), do what they are marked.  Any sentiment about gifts is in the hands of the receiver (store them away if you need to).  The givers are too busy with their own clutter and should they ask about such and such say “they are stored away to be appreciated or enjoyed again at another time either by this family and maybe someone else’s”. 

    Melanie you have to decide what is important.  Talk it over with God or the Blessed Mother. 

    Stuff is stuff!  Appreciate it when you are given it but possession is 9/10ths of the law.  Do with it as you want but yes, be appreciative.  It will all make for a happier household.  Children are happier with just boxes, plastic lids, wooden spoons and pots.

    Another thing, if there was ever a disaster and everything was wiped away, what would be the most important thing?  God, you and each other.  That’s enough stuff for anyone!

    Of course you need cooperation with others in the household too.

    Don’t get too hung up on the analysis of it all.  Talk to the Blessed Mother!  She was the ultimate housewife & Mother.

    By the way, if I have given you anything that you really didn’t need, don’t be hesitant to pass it along.  God Bless


  • I like your mother-in-law’s advice.  I used to be a packrat, mainly out of guilt when people gave me things.  I saved them because I didn’t want to offend.  My cure of packratism came in stages.  One day I realized the only time I saw these things was when I cleaned and reorganized my dressers and desk to get the drawers to close again.  The people who gave me these things generally never saw them anyway.  If I hadn’t been using them, and only saw them or handled them when trying to make them fit, I didn’t need them.  The next stage was when my mother died, and my siblings and I were in her home, dealing with her “stuff.”  It was there, but she wasn’t.  It was just stuff.  The third step was when I moved a great distance away and had to limit myself due to the cost of moving.  That whittled things down some more.  The last step was when I suddenly and unexpectedly had to move again and couldn’t afford to ship anything that wasn’t absolutely necessary.  It was similar to losing all one’s belongings in a disaster like a fire or a flood.  I lost my attachment to things.  Now I prevent clutter in the first place, by immediately finding a home for gifts that aren’t “me,” where they will be owned by someone who will appreciate and use them.  If I come across something in my home that hasn’t been used or missed in a year, out it goes.  Clothes go to the local thrift store.  Books, music, and movies go to the local used book store for credit on my account.  Gifts of lotions and perfumes (to which I’m allergic) immediately go to someone who can use them.  Junk goes in the trash.  Art is donated to charity auctions or thrift stores, etc.  The people who give me items to which I’m allergic or it’s the wrong size, or whatever, aren’t in my home at all or not often enough to know I’m not using what they gave me.  If they’ve noticed, nobody has let on.  From a practical standpoint, one can’t keep everything one has ever been given.  So, set some rules about how long to keep something and then stick to them.