A year ago I wrote a post about my kids playroom. At the time, we had just sold one of the largest items in the room and I felt like we were beginning to reclaim the floor. Sadly, it was a temporary victory.
This room has been a sore spot for a while. Every time I looked at the mess, I began to feel a bit of a panic attack. The last time we sort of cleaned it up was because we were having a lot of family coming to stay for the weekend. Then, it immediately went back to having every square inch of the floor covered in toys.
It was ridiculous to have toys well below any of my kids’ age level, especially when all they wanted to do was play video games. I finally grew so tired it, I decided I would have to take care of it myself.
I had two main goals: get as much off the floor as possible, and remove anything that the kids have outgrown or lost interest in.
I realized our first problem was how we all viewed the room. We had been referring to it as the “toy room” for almost 10 years when really it was a “family room“. I did my best to explain to the kids that we had a massive family room attached to the house that was being completely wasted by storing toys no one played with. I threatened to get rid of everything if they didn’t at least help a little. First, I had the kids put away the largest item; a reconfigurable tent that covered about a quarter of the room. Then, I got them to put away the hex bugs and magna-tiles.
Once I had a bit of space to work with, I was able to dive in. One of the first things I noticed was that things weren’t consolidated. Puzzles over here on this shelf. More puzzles over there next to some games. But wait, there’s more games over here and here. I began pulling out toys that I thought we no longer needed and making a big pile in the kitchen.
To sum it up, I’ve now been at it for almost two weeks but I’ve made a lot of progress. There is still a pile of toys in the kitchen that need to be sold or donated and a lot of the toys my kids outgrew are in the basement to be sorted further. Here are a few pictures of where I’m at. As overcrowded as it still looks, believe me when I say it was much worse before I started.
In my recent post about exercise, I mentioned running a couple 5K races this summer. For each one, I made room in my dresser for a new t-shirt proudly proclaiming that I participated in the race. My kids also have acquired a few new shirts this summer for camps and sports they’ve participated in. This has been going on for a while. I’m reminded of it when I see my youngest wearing handed down t-shirts from things his brother went to 6 years ago.
It seems the old saying “been there, done that, got a t-shirt” continues on.
But what do you do with them all? Do you continue to stuff your dresser drawer with another and another? People don’t really keep all of them, do they? I’ve only done a couple of races so I can’t imagine what a serious competitor does with all of the t-shirts they collect.
I also cringe when I’m at a baseball game with my family and they start shooting t-shirts into the stands. I always hope that one doesn’t come our way. Oddly enough, we did catch one not long ago. Of course, it was way too big for my daughter. The crazy thing is that someone actually stole it later as people were leaving the stadium.
So what do you do if you’re drowning in free t-shirts that you never wear?
Remember that just because you received a free shirt for something, you’re not obligated to wear it or keep it. At one time I owned a drawer full of t-shirts from my college fraternity that I never wore. I finally took them all out and piled them in my closet. I thought I would mail them to the fraternity house or something but never did. Eventually I donated them along with a bunch of other clothes and I haven’t missed them.
There are companies who specialize in making quilts out of t-shirts. One I looked at online is called Project Repat and it seems to have good reviews. They can make a 16 shirt lap-quilt for about $75, up to a 64 shirt king size quilt costing about $240. Another is called Campus Quilt. They seemed a little more expensive, but claim to be faster than others and pointed out that they actually quilt their blankets, not just sew them around the edges. If you’re interested in this route, you may want to read a few reviews of each and see if that’s what you’re interested in.
My recommendation is that if you go this route, you should actually plan on using the resulting quilt and not just store it in a closet. In that case, you might as well have just kept the shirts.
Do you have a first aid kit at home?
How about in your car? If you have one, when was the last time you looked at the contents? You might be surprised at what you find if you haven’t looked at your first aid kit in a while, especially if it’s been sitting in your car for a long time.
The bandages in a first aid kit will degrade over time no matter the environment but the temperature fluctuation in your car will accelerate the process. The paper that seals the bandages and keeps them clean will separate exposing the bandage. When you need it, you may not be putting a clean bandage on that cut. That can lead to infection. Also, if you use any of the items from your first aid kit, you need to make sure you replace them.
What do you really need?
What do you really need in a first aid kit anyway? Well, it depends on the activities you are doing and the kit’s intended purpose. It would be great to have a separate kit for home, hiking, bicycling, hunting, etc. but that’s not always practical. I did a little research to see what some of the experts recommend. To compile one big list, I pulled together three different lists I found on the internet. I combined them and eliminated duplicates. Then I attempted to group them for convenience. There are no quantities because it will depend on how many people you are preparing the kit for. In full disclosure, I don’t know what everything in this list is for.
WebMD mentioned that contact lens solution can be handy for flushing eye injuries and can be used on other wounds too. You can get small bottles for portability. They also noted that the best place to store a first-aid kit in the house is in the kitchen. That makes sense since many injuries happen there anyway and it tends to be sort of the center of the home. The humidity in the bathroom can shorten the shelf-life of your first aid supplies.
One item on the list that I had never heard of was the tooth preservation kit suggested by Kidshealth.org. Here’s a link (yes, an affiliate link) to one on Amazon. It has some sort of salt solution to store the tooth in until you can get to a dentist to have it re-implanted. This one has a 2 year shelf life.
Of course, you should modify this list if you are packing a first-aid kit for a specific activity but this should give you a good foundation. Also, you can always purchase a ready made one. You can find them all over, but a good place to get one is right from the Red Cross website. There are also a few affiliate links to kits on Amazon below. Thanks and stay safe.
Outdoor first aid - Outdoor Life
Copyright Dave Lubke and www.davelubke.com, 2017