Trash Day

There’s a running joke that the day after Christmas all the moms blow their stacks. Let’s face it, we all know the feeling of waking up to the piles of empty boxes, wrapping paper, and new toys that don’t fit anywhere. That’s why this year I can’t wait for Trash Day.

I don’t mean the day the trash can gets picked up, although that’s pretty important. Actual Trash Day requires an empty can ready to be filled. Before all the empty boxes get thrown out, the house gets purged of all the old clutter. The kids will sort through their rooms for unappreciated or broken toys and “treasures” that no longer hold value to them. Mom and Dad will declutter closets and corners that hold unnecessary collections.

This year the clutter seems worse than ever. Perhaps less space is available as the kids grow; clothes do take up more and more room. Perhaps we’ve simply hit several developmental leaps at once as we leave preschool for good, discover hidden talents, and surge inexorably toward adolescence. I’m leaning toward the latter, as most of the piles seem to be supplies for various growing interests.

As much attention as I am paying to physically cleaning out old things, the things represent something much more to me. The last few years have delivered many struggles along with the lessons to be learned from each. As a result our lives seem to be cramped and overflowing inside trappings and constructs that we have outgrown. As we physically fill our trash can with discarded things, we mentally shed our old selves in order to make room in our lives for new ideas and new beginnings.

Many people make New Year Resolutions in an effort to set their lives on track. Most find themselves unable to keep such contextless promises to themselves because they have no room. We make no special resolutions here; instead, in Trash Day we experience a completely fresh start.

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