This morning was the only Saturday we had left before we leave for Maine with nothing on the schedule. No altar boy practice, no Boy Scout event, no Little Flowers, no running race, no ballet recital. So, I woke up with a clear agenda: to clean the children's rooms before stuff started growing underneath the beds. We started with the girl's room, crammed full with 2 twin beds, 1 toddler bed, 2 dressers, 1 enormous dollhouse, and all the normal stuff preteen girls accumulate.
Maggie almost got stuck underneath her bed after pulling out a wall of trash, food, papers, enough hair doodads to stock a beauty parlor, and enough pens, pencils, and crayons to supply an entire art department. After 2 hours of cleaning, sorting, pitching, and sanitizing (including throwing away a moldy yogurt container, even though we have a food-allowed-only-in-the-kitchen rule) the place looked and smelled wonderful. Luckily the boys had taken most of their work on themselves and all I had to do was sort the last bits in the closet (thank you Charlie for the gift of a slice of bread I found) and vacuum.
Now the house is clean and tidy, at least for the next 12 hours, and hopefully I can keep it relatively good shape for the next 6 weeks. There is something to be said for having less "stuff," the house in Maine is much easier to clean, mostly because it has been a toy and TV-free zone for the past few years. While I don't want to throw away all their toys and American Girl doll clothes, I am grateful for the few months of the year when I don't have to organize and pick it up so much.