Mommy probably threw it away!, the kids accuse whenever something goes missing in our house.
And I’ll admit it: I love to purge—it’s its own natural high. The problem is finding the time and motivation to do it. I feel like I’m forever throwing things away, yet more and more stuff accumulates. It’s a war on clutter, and I’m losing. Was it this way before we had children? Am I alone here? I think not.
When my kids were in preschool, I multitasked during parent-teacher conferences, separating their gigantic stacks of artwork into two piles. There was a dumpster at school near where we parked, and on the way out I would keep the handful of pieces I legitimately liked and then hoist the hundred other scribbles and dried-macaroni sculptures into the trash. (Fighting the battle on junk before it overran our doorstep far outweighed the guilt.)
Now the kids are old enough themselves to bring their projects home in vast piles; at the same time, the gadgets in their playroom have grown more unwieldy. I’m talking a standup punching bag, the 48-piece microscope set, and the Crayola crayon “maker.”
In this issue, we share secrets to purging, organizing, and even smelling fresh (yes, there is an ongoing fancy-soap boom). I don’t believe any mom will ever attain the neatness status she desires—personally, that’s what I’m saving old age for—but we all could use a little inspiration. I hope you find it in this issue.
Catherine Merrill Williams
President and Publisher