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If I have been cleaning for days, why isn’t my house clean? I haven’t really been cleaning as much as rearranging and purging and thinking. Rinse, lather, repeat. It’s Heath’s fault.

He was working from home. I was about to start the next step on the skirt I was sewing. Somehow we got talking about rearranging my office with the invisible walls. We’ve been discussing it for a while now because we need to reclaim the dining room as a dining room. Little table or big table, we don’t fit in that miniscule breakfast nook anymore. The kids can no longer slip into chairs that are against a wall and maybe an inch or two from the table. I was hoping we had more time but it’s obvious the time is now. So I blame Heath for the last few days because he was the one who had the idea of moving all the bookcases into the upstairs hallway. That was all it took. The skirt was put back on the backburner while I attacked a new project.

First I peeled off all the homework station vinyl from the wall. All the fabric covered cork boards were removed. The multiplication poster that maybe only Gavin ever used was pulled off the wall to be donated. In between calls Heath laughed at me and said the bookshelves would be in the hall before the end of the day. If I had anything to do with it they would! Books were piled up all over the floor in our bedroom and the living room. Heath moved the big bookcases for me and I moved the little one. Unfortunately I had to stop what I was doing to pack up stuff for Gavin’s last cross country meet. Off we went to the meet. When we got home that night I didn’t even think about blogging. I had books to arrange.

I have rearranged the living room furniture at least ten times in the last two days. I am determined to keep my furniture. Realistically we should lose the furniture to move the office into its place. Then we would have a full dining room. But I can’t lose my furniture! The couches are so pretty and have served our family well for the last eleven years. I can’t believe we only paid $1000 for the whole set – sofa, loveseat, coffee table, two end tables, and two lamps. Heath tried to talk me into selling them before we moved to California. I couldn’t do it and I count my blessings every day that we found a place to live that has two living spaces. I can’t lose my furniture!

On Monday we wandered into Pottery Barn to look for a TV tray alternative. No luck but we did find a brochure for office furniture. The front cover design was everything we needed to have the office stay in the dining room and I could keep my living room furniture! We are still working on a solution. We have measured out how far a desk would stretch into the living room so I have been trying to fit the living room furniture into those new parameters. Home Depot has some kitchen cabinets online that may work for our new office needs. We went to the store and felt deflated. None of it looked right. The lady immediately blew us off when she found out we wanted cabinets for a home office. Pottery Barn is hello expensive and not the right finishes for my taste. Not knowing what else to do we may go back to square one – Pottery Barn. At least until we can figure out a creative solution.

Today I sat in kids’ rooms supervising while they cleaned. With the bookcases in the hall the art desk was displaced. Gwen is the one who uses it most so she gets it in her room but she needed space to do that. We took out her card table and put it in our room permanently. Found a TV tray! The same table we had been borrowing all along. It folds down nicely under our bed. Next weekend we’ll sand and paint the art desk for Gwen. She loves to play teacher so we’re painting the top with chalkboard paint.

Christmas is coming and I have all these grand ideas for the kids. The problem is they have so much stuff. It felt like a good time to have them go through their toys and decide what they could donate. I thought they would give me a hard time about it. I have always gone through their toys for them, tossing the toys I hated and donating a few here and there. Gwen was super excited about finding toys she doesn’t play with anymore to donate to kids who would love them. Parker was all over it too. Right away they were grabbing things to put in a donate pile. They purged so much. Parker found all the accessories for his Iron Man action figure. He was beaming with pride all day over that donation because I made a big deal out of it. That toy was in great condition. Some little boy is going to love it.

Gwen helped me fill another garbage bag with donations. She told me she felt good. When I asked her why she said because she was giving toys to other kids. Seriously? I still couldn’t believe how easily the kids took to this idea. They totally got the message without me even having to say anything. They very easily decided whether something was a keep, donate, or toss item. The only questions they had were whether something was worth donating. We decided fast food toys were automatically garbage. The rest of the stuff we did quality checks on.

Parker told me he wanted to donate his CD player. That was hard for me until he explained that they never use it. Gavin likes to fall asleep to silence. Parker likes to listen to music. Months ago Parker compromised by listening to an MP3 player with earbuds. It’s exciting as a mom to see my kids solve problems, compromise, and think of others. The CD player was added to the donate pile and we made our third trip to the DI trailer. I know we have to make a fourth trip. When we got home I realized there was a sack full of toys that Parker had pulled yesterday. I completely forgot about it so it didn’t come with us this afternoon. Four trips to the DI trailer! I feel lighter having given away clothes, toys, shelves, and other miscellaneous items. It does feel good to donate things we no longer need to someone who can use it.

Now that the dust is settling a little, I can get pictures of the kids in their Halloween costumes. Maybe my skirt will get finished. Maybe I can even do regular housework. I still have small piles of things here and there that need to find a new home. Of course the office still needs storage solutions. I don’t know, maybe I’ll just drink a Diet Coke and read The Martian instead.

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