Spring Cleaning to the Tune of the Garbage Whistle

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If you asked my mom if I was a “save it” or a “toss it” kid she would definitely tell you that I was a hoarder. I kept every rock, ball and rubber band…much to her pain and agony.

This changed once I started to move from home to college dorm, to apartment, and finally to my first house. This really changed when my parents and my grandparents moved to Florida. As we sorted through years of random Christmas decorations, piles of papers, and boxes of “we should really keep this, we might need this” we all came to a conclusion, we save too much!!! As my parents and grandparents downsized I got a first hand look at what was really needed in a house and what was just taking up space.

This thinking has been reinforced by the size of my house. It is what some might consider small as it was built in the 1800’s when storage was not a selling point and indoor plumbing reigned supreme. We have been forced to be creative with space and in a constant state of sorting out closets, and drawers to ensure that the stuff we keep is the stuff we use.

This concept only works so well when you live with two children who have rarely ever played with any toy in the way that is was designed to be played with. Every “toy” we have has been repurposed or stripped down for parts in order to create another, far more fun, plaything. My children also have always found great entertainment in packaging pieces, random pieces of plastic, string, and boxes. I have bins in their playroom full of just odds and ends. This is by no means a bad way to play but it makes cleaning a bit tricky as you try to remember if this piece of string was recently used for a rock climbing exhibition or if it is just a useless string that fell off of an old shoe. The similarities are subtle but astounding.

Today my girls got swept into mom’s mission to clean out their playroom. Luckily they were fairly agreeable to the process thanks in part to the promise that I would allow them to pick out one new toy or take them somewhere fun if they sorted out and donated the things they didn’t want.

We emptied every bin and every box one by one and sorted stuff to keep, toss, and donate. We also emptied every backpack and purse where we found toys we haven’t seen in what seems like months. It was like finding a gold mine of things we thought had gone missing.

If you saw my posts on Facebook (facebook.com/sweetbasal) or Instagram (@sweetbasaltype1) today you likely know about the garbage whistle. The garbage whistle was found in a drawer and immediately tossed out by me. It sat in that garbage bin no more than five minutes before I heard its shrill twittering coming from the other room. The whistle had been resurrected and the whistle karma was out to get me. That stupid whistle was played the entire two hours of cleaning as it was the accompanying the soundtrack to Mama Mia which was also blasting in the background. (This is the musical my Broadway obsessed daughters are currently head over heels for). I didn’t let the whistle or the tenth playing of “Dancing Queen” shake my focus. The kids were still in good moods and still sorting so I was not about to upset the delicate balance of the cleaning universe.

It will be playing in my dreams tonight…

Two hours later I was filling the back of my car and tomorrow we will be making a wonderful donation to Goodwill. I was personally shocked at what my kids were willing to part with. Stuff that I had been moving around for months or years, only to find out that they were ready for it to go. I still have bins and bins of odds and ends and this and that but I’m ok with that because I know these seemingly useless bits will be part of an elaborate imaginary world with their neighbors in the warmer months to come.

One of my favorite memories is when I looked out my kitchen window and saw my daughters and the kiddos next door taking turns running around carrying an empty peanut butter jar. At dinner I asked what they were doing and I was told with a look of total seriousness “the jar is our baby and we were taking care of her”. Awesome. That is imagination in hyper speed and that is a superpower. You go kiddos and your peanut butter jar baby.

So it was a great day as far as clean outs go and I have empty shelves and empty bins and this gives me great inner peace. As each year passes I realize my tolerance for clutter is getting less and less. I have also found that when I enter clean out mode, there is no stopping and there is no taking breaks.

Well, there are a few breaks for apple juice since house cleaning and sorting always takes my sugars low. It is one of the biggest diabetes annoyances. I want/need to clean my house but now I need to eat or drink something. I don’t have time for this tomfoolery diabetes!!!

Today I started after breakfast and as of 4:30pm have not showered or changed from my gym clothes from 5:00am this morning, but my house is super sorted out so I’ll count that a a win.

We celebrated our accomplishments with a hike at Retzer Nature Center in the sunshine and a treat from Kwik Trip. I have to keep my workers happy and they deserved the reward.

I want to know if I’m the only one that goes full blown into this mode. What is your cleaning style? Are you a keeper or a “there’s no dumpster big enough” kind of person? Do you fight the battle til its won or do you work in bits and pieces?

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Diabetic Mama of Twins fueled by my family, working out, eating, dog walking, getting lost in the woods and insulin. Writing to share the journey this Type 1 diagnosis has taken me on since 2007.

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