I have seen all the posts on Facebook. Everyone is talking about spring break and posting pictures of themselves in warm, relaxing atmospheres. But they are not alone.

I am also in a warm environment. It is in the low 70’s here and dry with no breeze. We are getting plenty of exercise. My family is spending quality time together and I know that at the end of the week, I will feel refreshed. The best part about this spring break – it has not cost us any more than our regular expenses.

What are we doing for spring break? We are home. Cleaning out closets.

For many of you lying on beaches, this may seem like the worst vacation ever. Like you, I looked forward to a week off from work and school. This was my rare opportunity to purge the house.

The whole family is pitching in. We are cleaning fingerprints off walls. I am vacuuming up dog hairs that try to hide in the darkest corners of the house. We are emptying closets of clothes that no longer fit, games with missing pieces, and things we no longer use. There are piles for charity, piles for our garage sale (blog for another day, I’m sure!) and tons of garbage. I didn’t realize we had so much STUFF! If you ever feel like your closet space is small, start pulling everything out. It’s amazing how much crap you can fit in such a small space.

Now I wasn’t kidding about the quality family time. I have been warning my kids about having to do this for weeks. They were mentally prepared. The kids are going through their rooms with a surprising amount of enthusiasm. They are happily stuffing clothes into bags and filling garbage bags with widowed socks and stained shirts.

My kids helped me clean out the closet under the stairs, too. This is a closet of “out of sight, out of mind.” We have toys in there that my kids have outgrown years ago. We have two large Barbie houses and a box of Barbies. There are boxes of plastic food, dress up clothes that no longer fit, Lincoln logs and large sized Legos. We have books that haven’t been opened in years and enough “play school” items to start our own school district.

They had a great time going down memory lane. We laughed at the journal entries my 12 year old made four years ago. They listened intently as my 15 year old read her favorite childhood book and showed them the pictures as if she was reading to a classroom of kindergarteners. They happily parted with toys that another child might enjoy. The girls tucked their dolls nicely in the cribs. (Thanks to Toy Story, we were unable to get rid of a doll missing her arm, lest she wind up looking like the ones at Sid’s house.) I honestly think they bonded more in that hour than they have in weeks.

I even got my husband in on the fun. Earlier in the week while we were both trying to pick out clothes in our walk in closet, I complained about the wasted space in the closet. The builder only put in one shelf and rod lining the inside of the closet and there is easily room for two. I complained about the closet 16 years ago and probably every year since, but something else always got in the way of improving it. I guess my husband had heard enough.

So, on Friday afternoon, the two of us and my handy Suburban headed to Lowes. We picked up everything we needed for a weekend of closet expanding fun. My husband even offered to paint the inside of the closet and put in a brighter ceiling light. This is going to be the best souvenir from any spring break we have ever been on!

On Saturday, I emptied the closet onto a couple of folding tables and filled every empty spot on the floor. To say our room is a disaster is an understatement. We look like we can rival the best hoarders on TLC. There are shoes and blankets and boxes and general junk all over the floor. The clothes are heaped precariously with hangers shooting out in several directions. It is quite a sight. I hope I can stand up to the temptation of putting it all back in after the extra shelves go in.

I have to say, at the end of my first day of vacation, I already feel refreshed. I ate a delicious steak dinner (prepared by my painter/electrician/carpenter husband) and shared a nice bottle of wine. Unlike my beach going friends, we slept soundly in our own beds without having to shower off the sunscreen or the sand.