Back when the rising accumulation of stuff started to drive us crazy (that was before the Maiden and her I Wants settled in– oh how naive were we!), the Man and I discovered a tactic to both empty our closets and relieve our frustration. It was simple: Get Rid Of Crap. Or, as we lovingly nicknamed it, GROC. Over the years, GROC has become a fixture in our home; I’m embarrassed to say that at this point, it’s even become a bit of a hobby.
At least it’s cheaper than scrapbooking.
A short time ago, spring weather and the uncomfortable memory of a yet unacted-upon letter from the Maiden’s school prompted me to introduce our dear daughter to the joys of GROC’ing.
I will never, never learn.
Now, the Maiden is an only child, with parents who love to buy her stuff. Hence, she has her own personal Toys R Us, which we also refer to as “the playroom,” even though she never actually plays in the playroom, but removes her toys and scatters them all over the living room. (Ironically, it was in the hopes of avoiding this that we created a playroom in the first place. So much for the simple life.)
Ahem. Although we have a pretty good toy organization system, the various bins have limited capacity. Their value as organizational aids becomes questionable when they become so full that they spill over into other bins, which causes the Maiden to have to dump several in order to find that one piece of blue Lego that she absolutely needs in order to make soup for her dolls.
So, in our preliminary GROC session, we decided to pare down the bin contents. We didn’t want to take items away, especially since the Maiden plays with everything, but we did want to make the system more manageable for her (and by extension, us). For example, who really needs five Mr. Potato Head bodies? Large extended families are nice, but maybe Uncle and Aunt Potato Head could go on sabbatical for a while. In the garage.
Then there was the Lego. The Maiden had a Mickey Mouse Lego set, but as it consisted of the bigger blocks which she deemed too babyish for her chubby three-year-old fingers, she never played with them. The big-kid set– “Daddy’s Legos”– was much more attractive. Plus, they had cooler accessories. Sure, Mickey had a car, but did he have a tree and flowers?
So we decided to put away the big Lego pieces and leave out only the kind that she currently used. Operation Brick Switch went down one night while the Maiden was sleeping. We whisked away one set and figured she’d be none the wiser.
Our house, 6:00 a.m. the following morning. The Maiden gets out of bed.
Our house, 6:01 a.m. The Maiden groggily enters her playroom.
Our house, 6:01:45 a.m. The Maiden flies into our bedroom in a panic: “Mommy, Daddy, where are my Mickey Legos? They’re gone!”
Our house, 6:03 a.m. The Maiden is once more the proud possessor of two sets of Legos.
Our house, 6:04 a.m. Mommy and Daddy acknowledge a failed experiment.
Our house, 8:00 a.m. Mommy and Daddy hold a ritual burning of the letter championing the minimization of kids’ possessions.
Our house, 9:00 a.m. Saturday morning, and the house is a disaster. Legos of all shapes and sizes are mixed together, along with action figures, dress-up clothes, costume jewelry, and several kitchen utensils.
All is as it should be.