Because I don't have anything else to do this time of year and because I'm generally bored and idle....ahem, I have decided that this would be a great time to pare down around here and get rid of some things. I have mentioned previously that I have recently read quite a few books on living simply, and as I anticipated yet another round of much-requested but little-enjoyed christmas gifts, I decided we would do some "thinning out" beforehand and make things a little easier on December 27 when I'm taking down the christmas tree and trying to find a spot for all the new "favorites".
So.......with some inspiration from the internet, I informed the kids of "The VeStrand 200". Because I knew there would be groans and whines and choruses of "You NEVER let us keep anything!", I decided to make a game of it, complete with a reward upon completion. I told the kids that if we could get rid of--and by "get rid of", I mean sell or donate not throw away--200 things from our household by the end of the year, we would go out for ice cream or another special treat they would enjoy. The only rules: 1. Every single item counts as one thing--every video game, every baseball card, etc. I'm not being picky here folks. 2. Mom or dad must give final approval before anything makes the cut (the family job chart and cleaning supplies are off limits!). And, in order to keep track of our purging, I made a "poster" (term used very loosely as evidenced by the photo), hung it on the fridge, and said "Ready, Set, Go".
Boy howdy, I should have tried this years ago! I'm not sure if they are more excited about getting rid of things or writing those things on the poster, but you wouldn't believe the things my children have decided they can suddenly part with. Video games that haven't been played in years but just had to be kept just a few weeks ago have suddenly appeared for me to sell on craigslist. A ridiculously scratchy amusement park stuffed animal that was a "favorite" earlier this year is now on the way to Goodwill. Of course, we've also had sibling's names added and crossed off--because the love just flows here at the VeStrands!
And, the kids haven't done all the purging! Mom and dad have parted with several things on craigslist and are now planning how to spend the tidy sum we've made in the process. (Anybody need a sturdy, fireproof, lateral filing cabinet??) And....if you look very closely at the photo, you might be able to see that the fake dog poop, fart putty, and burp master have all made it into the donate box. Who says we aren't sacrificing around here?? My boys' sleepovers will never be the same!
I just checked the list and we are up to 82 things--since yesterday! I'm pretty sure we'll make 200--we might even make 300 or 400! I'll keep you posted!