Little Man has been growing out of some of his clothes (as children tend to do when you feed them), and he kindly received some new clothes from his grandparents over Christmas. The drawers on his dresser were over-full of a mix of small and just-right sized closed and I had left a pile of the new clothes on the floor in front of it. I had been avoiding a clean out since before Christmas - I just didn't want to spend the time, nor did I feel like I had the time to do it. But yesterday morning, I decided it was time.
|Little Man's dresser, on it's third generation.|
I've gone into several clothing clean-outs now. You go through far more than you really expect in just 4 years, and somehow it becomes simultaneously easier and harder to do. The first 3 or 4 clean outs are the hardest. Kids grow quickly. Sometimes they only fit into those "newborn" or "0-3 months" sizes for a few weeks, and the other sizes through 12 months feel almost equally fast. It seems like 600 little onsies all fit into a single drawer and they're all hardly worn. It's in the beginning stages of your time doing clothing clean-outs, you want to keep each and every piece you pull out of the drawer, and it is frustratingly hard. Because every piece is just so cute. Because you're probably sleep deprived and still hormonal when you do the clean out. Because the clothes are full of "firsts" - the first outfit worn going to the doctor, the first pair of shoes worn going to a friend's house, or the pair of pajamas worn during that first inexplicable full night's sleep. But after a few rounds of this in the first year, you learn to curb the impulse to keep EVERYTHING. You generally have fewer things to go through and the clothes are more worn in. It's easier to see what should just get chucked, what can be donated/passed along, and what you want to hold on to.
I've gotten better as the cleans outs have gone one. I keep less and don't feel the need to reminisce over each shirt and sock. And yet, as the span of time between clean-out grows, I find myself getting more reflective. Yesterday's clean-out was still hard. Because I can see that while some days may be long, the years are short. Because we already noticed that it's getting harder to tell his small, colorful socks from my smallish, colorful socks. Because the dresser drawers fill up much faster with far fewer shirts. Because suddenly, his button down shirts can fit on adult sized hangers. Because I know that sooner than I think, it will be harder to tell apart his t-shirts from Mark's t-shirts.
Children are supposed to grow up, and it's amazing to witness. I'm blessed to be part of it. I can think about the not so distant past and the not so distant future and what that has meant, does mean, and will mean. Little Man's dresser has seen plenty of clean-outs - it was my mother's before it went through her cousins, and it came back to go through me and my brother - Little Man's clean-outs are just one more step along the way. And while I may not enjoy the process of the clean-out, I take heart that the story keeps getting a bit grander as more people fill it up and empty it out in more locations than any of us would have expected.