Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Dominant Dumpster-Diving Gene

I can’t throw an empty can of tomato paste away without my children knowing about it. I can mix my colors and whites, clean the bathroom naked, and drive to swimming lessons in reverse and my kids won’t say a thing. But if I toss a Spiderman-themed candy wrapper in the garbage, I’m going to hear about it.

Just last week Leah removed a flower arrangement from the trash. Just plucked it from the top of the can and placed it in front of our house like a sad little monument of my anti-domestic prowess. Unfortunately, the arrangement was from my birthday, which was nearly two months ago.

So when I toss something that I’m afraid might get discovered, I hide it under the empty soda can full of bacon grease, behind the junk mail, or, if I’m smart, in a Walmart plastic bag, tied in a double knot at the top.

But I have to admit, I’m usually not that smart. And I’ve managed to throw some cherished items away in that heartless, mean-mommy manner of mine. Things like completed homework assignments, an empty Pepsi can with Indiana Jones on it, hair ties covered in dust found under the living room couch, little plastic weapons, a half-eaten bag of melted Skittles, the DVD case for Leah & Stitch that’s been missing its DVD for three years, broken Happy Meal toys, a rainbow-colored shoelace, and one Barbie leg.

You wouldn’t believe the drama that ensues once I’ve been discovered. Wailing and hiccupping they ask, “Why, Mommy? Why would you throw my Barbie leg away?” There’s no reasoning with that. I’m evil and that’s all there is to it.

But as I write this I have a nagging feeling that dumpster-diving is a dominant gene that just may have come from me. The only difference is I have yet to throw my stuff away. Because as I look around I notice that in the pass-through between my kitchen and dining room I have three, count them—three bowls full of change, keys, business cards, paper clips, a handful of marbles, screws, nails, and an assortment of washers. At what point did one bowl stop being enough to hold all that stuff? And how did I justify allowing the overflow to fill two more?

On my dining room table is a laundry basket filled halfway with unmatched socks. It’s not a new basket, but one that I’ve carried to and from the laundry room for about 6 months now. I don’t know where the mates have gone, but they’re obviously not coming back.

As I mentally travel through my house I’m quickly realizing that I have enough garbage displayed inside my home to fill two garbage cans. And believe me, these things are just as valuable as Barbie legs.

So this weekend I will purge my home of all trash, trying to encourage my children to do the same.

That, or we’ll have a yard sale.

14 comments:

SuburbanCorrespondent said...

It's hopeless, actually; but we must keep fighting the good fight.

Rachel said...

Well I seem to remember the path to somewhere or other is paved with good intentions. I am so hopeless in this area....
I can purge tolerably...it is that very purging that gives me permission to get more stuff, though.

Tari said...

LOL I can't even tell you how well I relate to this post, if it wasn't writen so well I would have thought it was my post.

Thelissa said...

I throw out toys or set them aside to go to the DI, but if I am not quick on the draw to get these things out of sight everything comes back out again. We are due for de-trashing day as well.

Eileen said...

I started hiding trash, or what I viewed as trash, when the kids were little. One pathetic day, I had to pull Melanie out of the garbage can. She just knew I had thrown some of her treasures out. The beauty of them being older now, I can do it when they are not home. They never miss it. Not once. I feel so good after I have purged. It is healing on some level.

Happy purging my friend! Don't rule out the yard sale, Hannah and Chrisite made over $200.00 in 4 hours. Stuff I considered crap.

XOXOXO

Gustogirl said...

You GO! I don't hold on to much at all, but unmatched socks I am definitely guilty of. You never know when one might show up right? And socks are something that I hate to spend money on, so that makes me want to hang on all the more! Good luck!

shawn said...

After a long long long TWO moving adventure ... I can look at this posting in a very different way ...

The MOUNTAIN of recyclables and garbage that we tossed paled in comparison to the TWO 26' van loads of STUFF we had to move ... but it has inspired me to KEEP PITCHING ... the thrift stores and recycle depots won't KNOW what hit them by the time I'm done ...

I'll delete that dumpster diver gene from my family by FORCE if necessary ...

... oh ... and the 'clean the bathroom naked' bit !!!

You could hire yourself out ... ;)?!?!?!?

Dawn said...

How funny is this? My kids are 12, 12 and 9 (and if you count dear hubby, 40). I am forever hiding things in the garbage... And just this week, there was a kid's meal cup on the counter from some restaurant. I had thrown it in the garbage - but must not have "hidden" it very well. It had reappeared and was full of liquid. Did she wash it before filling it up again? Doubt it... yucky!!!

My husband and I have a term for "purging" the kid's ginormous collection of stuff. It's called "crapfest" and we get out the crap from everywhere... (parents included) and we throw out the junk, pass on the good but old (to Salvation Army) and keep the rest. Crapfest days are always accompanied with wailing and gnashing of teeth, but so worth it!

Carrie Wilson Link said...

Thank you for the many LOLs in this post! I needed them!!!! Love the one Barbie leg! My daughter is 14, and I finally braved doing just that, tossing out all the amputees!

Anonymous said...

Oh, I am a packrat too. I hide the goods in the attic so that my husband doesn't get too upset about it all. But I am having trouble hiding the thousands of books. :-) Can you have too many books? I say no.

Mary

Chris said...

I think that might be the story of many moms across america. Kudos for showing the humor in it. :-) My kids fish things out of the trash as well. I can even relate to the flowers. My son flipped out when I threw out the old flowers. Now if I could just find a way to purge my own world of that same clutter. Good luck~!

Shonda Little said...

I forgot my son's pinata, which was stuffed with random candies, in my closet. The party was over before I realized I left it at the house.
Before I could remove it from the home, the boys found it. It was crushed before I knew they had it, as it is.
Now I'm still trying to purge our home of scattered junk, weeks later. If they spot me throwing out even one of the thousands of pieces, a spitting fit ensues.
God Bless You.

Tracee said...

Hello - I have the same problem. Excavated my daughter's room and then boom, looked around my office and thought gee I wonder where she gets it? duh.

jen said...

Oh, junk bowls...can'ts live without 'em. We have a whole drawer in the kitchen for this stuff. Not just a little drawer, a full size drawer. belive me, sometimes it is just easier to throw everything away...yard sales are over rated. How much time do you spend outside on a weekend waiting for someone to pay you a dollar for a box of crap. If it is really worth something go for craigs list. I'm all about craigs list. love ya