I can't stand a cluttered house. Let me rephrase that, I can't stand clutter in my house. Everyone knows I'm anal retentive, and in my home there is a place for everything and everything in its place. It doesn't help that Matt is the same way. While he appreciates organization, he insists on cleanliness - especially in the kitchen and bathrooms, though he takes it to a whole new level. He also likes simplicity. An open room. Clean lines. He can smell crumbs a room away. However, having a clean house and keeping a clean house are two different things (need I remind you that Swan is still gone? PLEASE come home soon! My house, I mean, I miss you!). So until my maid's return, guess what I'm doing on almost a daily basis?
As we move every few years it's easy for us to pair things down. We're not collectors. Matt doesn't like figurines, we don't have large amounts of stuffed animals for the kids. We keep excess to a minimum. We like art and always buy a piece or two wherever we go, we also buy a few souvenirs everywhere we live that remind us of our time there. We each have a our hobbies; Matt's is anything "gear" related - workout equipment, law enforcement paraphernalia, scuba diving, electronics, and of course, watches. I enjoy my sewing "stuff", photography, endless cookbooks, and jewelry (bracelets to be specific). But even with both of our hobbies, we don't have that much stuff where you would walk in the house and say, "SO, it looks like you're into ......."
Over the past few months I've been slowly watching Riley squirrel things away. She'd play with toys from the playroom and then they'd disappear, never to be seen (or shared with her sister) again. She would fill purses and backpacks with her stuff and cart it around as if she was a 90 year old lady. I never paid that much attention to it until today. As I cleaned her room this morning, and took everything off her nightstand, I discovered how much of a pack-rat, a collector of all-things, dare I say, a hoarder she really was.
Inside the nightstand drawer ... The top of the nightstand
I always knew that she liked "stuff", that she never wanted to throw anything away, but didn't realize the extent of it. The drawer on her nightstand is actually difficult to open, so I don't venture in there very often, and clearly not often enough. In this drawer were: hair bands of all shapes and sizes for her, her dolls, her princesses, her horses, and her sister. She has necklaces, rings, barrettes and bracelets. There are combs, brushes, chap sticks, baby bottles, doll clothes, and even wrappers. The top of the nightstand isn't much better. In the front of it are two picture frames of her cousins which mask the rest of the stuff hiding behind... a can that she uses to put on the bed so Libby won't jump on it when she's not there, a postcard that she kept from Locks of Love when she donated her hair last June, more jewelry, her clay pig, and a toy magazine that she's been looking at day in and day out for the last several months.
This weekend before our pack-out we're going through the last of the drawers, closets, and play room. We'll be throwing out a lot of "stuff", organizing everything for our move. Hopefully Riley won't notice if we throw away old hair bands, wrappers, and broken jewelry. I'll gladly replace it this summer at Target.
I think I also need to buy her her own little treasure chest to store the rest of her tchotchkes that I'm sure she'll continue to collect in India. The nightstand is clearly too small.