Sunday, January 06, 2008

The Post-Holiday Purge

As happens most days, I was reminded of our time in Europe again today, during a seemingly unrelated event.

You know how, after the after-Christmas sales, every single store seems poised to offer you the Ultimate Storage Solution and every other magazine and newspaper article is telling you how to "get in shape and get organized!" (see the AWESOME essay by Jeanne Marie Laskas in last Sunday's Washington Post Magazine in which she says "get organized: get a DUMPSTER!")?

Well, a few days after Christmas I was already thinking of how to do a major purge of all the toys the girls weren't playing with anymore. It came to a head last Thursday when we moved our rooms around so that the girls' bedroom and playroom merged into one larger room. The movers were tripping over the dozens of stuffed animals who, I'm sure, are procreating in the dark while we sleep.

In order to get their new room organized, the stuffed animals went into some trash bags for a couple of days. Our stuffed animal collection, I kid you not, filled TWO LAWN BAGS!! Enough is enough. I told them today that I was going to dump them out in a huge pile and JieJie and MeiMei were to choose their favorite ten animals. The rest would be divided into two piles: those that looked a bit too worn would go to Goodwill. Those that looked brand new would go into a bag to be used for gifts.

But here's where it gets back to the travel theme...guess which ones they kept? Remember when our train was pulling out of Antwerpen Centraal and the girls said "Buddy!" and we both went "OH NO!" and I was about to hop out of the train and meet them later in Amsterdam? And remember how we scoured downtown Amsterdam for a toy store and wound up buying Hema the cat (named for a chain of discount stores) and Pink Pony? Those two stuffed animals were first to be rescued from the pile. And also among the treasures: the cat that JieJie pined for as we watched the Macy's Parade in New York.

Let's hear it for taking trips, disasters and all!

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