Wow! Can I just rant a minute about how toys are packaged these days???
My little one, 3 years old, got a rude amount of Littlest Pet Shop (LPS) animals and play sets for Christmas this year. They’re very cute, and most of them are small and compact in opened state. But the boxes they came in - oh my GOD! Can I just tell you how much those clear elastics, tape, and plastic wrapped wires annoy the bejeebers out of me? In a reasonable world, it does not take 20 minutes to open a child’s small toy! Especially one that doesn’t require assembly! In that same reasonable world, it doesn’t require heavy kitchen scissors and a paring knife to remove the tiny plastic accoutrement from these finger slicing menaces. Who thought up this madness, anyway? Corporate marketing twits whose only objective is to make it impossible for parents to return these items to the store (if something happens to be broken or non-functional) since the required packaging must be destroyed in order to get it out! Sheer genius, of course, from a marketing standpoint, but as a parent I’m compelled to stick “evil” in there as well.
So it’s a couple of days past Christmas now, and the toys are starting to make their ways to the corners of the living room, bedrooms, etc. Unfortunately in my house, it means every room, but we don’t need to go there.
These evil boxes of LPS were the last to be tackled, and finally, bleeding from my many lacerations, I have finished removing the final bits of pink plastic from it’s impossible packaging. Now we’re finally removing the last remnants of crumpled paper, torn cardboard, wire tie downs, used up tape bits, and shiny clear plastic. A pile bigger than the gifts themselves, I might add. Recycle bins doth overflow. eth. Surely, in the spirit of making the world a better, cleaner, healthier place, we could make packaging less obnoxious? I challenge all environmentally concerned parents, individuals and companies to tackle and campaign for that in 2008.
Recycling falls into the spirit of the true Garagesaler, which is where I’m headed with this post (in case you were wondering…). Not only am I a Garaging Guru, but I’m also a winter Freecycler as well. In most cases you can find your town or city on freecycle.org to join and participate in when you’re not in a position (or climate, mood, etc.) to do the Garagesale thing. Yes I know - the Guru herself, advocating an alternative the the sacred Garagesale! What has the world come to?
Past getting rid of the packaging and wrapping, you must realize that a cluttered home serves to clutter the mind and distract you from living your ideal life. It’s very much along the lines of what Marla Cilley (AKA FlyLady) preaches on her crusading organizational website flylady.net. Worth visiting, by the way. The link will open in another window if you wanted to click it, so you can go read it once you’re done here.
Since we’re approaching a brand-spanking new year, right now would be a fabulous time to go through your home and gather up all the bits and pieces laying around everywhere that aren’t being used, aren’t appreciated anymore, or have been outgrown by your kids. Sort these items into boxes, and if you’re not in a climate that would work for a garagesale just now, and can afford to give things away, offer them up on Freecycle! The beauty of freecycle is that people will come to you and pick up the things you don’t want anymore. It’s a way to give and feel good about yourself, all while ridding your home and lives of the clutter that surrounds you. You’ll feel great knowing these things are going to people you choose, too. I try to choose folks who are in need, as opposed to the people who pounce on every offer just to get free stuff. Hard to tell sometimes, but if you enclose a note with your offer that stipulates you want the items to go to deserving families, and that you reserve the right to choose the recipient, you will find you get better responses and can go from there. For example, before Christmas as I was “decking the halls”, I realized that I had a large amount of holiday decorations that weren’t going to be put out, that I was tired of, or that I had replaced with newer and/or better items. So I gathered several boxes of still-good items and after posting to my local Freecycle group, chose a family who was having some financial difficulties as the recipient. They got some great stuff, and I felt really good about it. Plus I got several freed-up tote boxes and less clutter. Win-Win!
So I don’t have a one-track mind… who woulda thunk it?