Week 16 – Clothing, boxes, and coupons.. Oh my!!

Books for donation

Last week was quite fun nearly killing myself in the garage.  So now I’m going back to cleaner pastures back upstairs.  I have decided to start wearing a dust mask since I have gone home feeling absolutely horrible every week after I’m in the house.  My nose starts running immediately when I walk in and I can’t imagine the air I’m breathing is healthy.  I also had a weird musty/woody smell affixed to me that would NOT go away after working in the garage, so I’m avoiding that area for now.  I’m guessing I will also have to wear gloves in the future when working with the dirtier items.

While I was at my parent’s house over the weekend for the hazardous waste drive, I decided to spend a little extra time digging further into the attic room.  As I was rumbling through the room I was shocked when my mom asked if I wanted a grilled cheese sandwich for lunch.  Um, what?  I thought this could be a ploy to distract me, but in the end it was a nice and welcome surprise.  I guess she doesn’t hate me as much as I thought.  Either way, spending the extra hour or so helped because I was able to organize a bunch of items for later in the week.  I figure it will cut down the amount of time I spend going through things and I can basically go in, load my car up, and leave.  I was surprised to find more bags of coupons and cardboard boxes for almost anything we ever bought as children.  I basically spent most of my time breaking down boxes!

I went back later in the week and as always, as soon as I walked in the attic room, my mother comes upstairs.  She asks “so what are you doing today?”  I respond “same thing as always, mom.”  Surprisingly, she actually helped me carry everything downstairs today.  I think this is more so she can see what I’m taking out than actually wanting to help though.  I have learned to hide certain bags from her and take them out to my car quickly so she can’t go through them.  I got caught this time as she asks “what did you take to the car that you didn’t want me to see?”  I had to laugh a little at the fact that I was caught.  I explained that it was all paper and I didn’t want her to see it because she would have gone through everything and it’s frustrating after I spend so much time going through it to begin with. 

Clothes for Goodwill! I don’t think any of these clothes were actually ours.. Hmm..

As I go through these extra rooms, I am still surprised when I find bags and bags of clothes.  I have come to the realization that we have so many clothes in the house.  Since we were younger, there have always been 3 big boxes of clothes stacked at the top of the steps.  They make it so hard to get stuff out of the attic room, so I decided to take one into the other room and go through it.  Most of the clothes with elastic in them are so old that they are no good.  This is almost a relief as I don’t have to fight about getting rid of them with my mother.  She helped go through the box with me and was happy to separate the  clothes for recycling.  Unfortunately, I don’t think any will be good candidates to sell since they have been sitting in boxes for almost 25 years and smell like cardboard.  I ask her to help me get bags of clothes out for goodwill and she helps me sort two bags, so I’m happy with this.

The boxes of clothes at the top of the stairs. They are frayed at the edges from our cats used to scratch them. And yes, those are bags and bags of napkins sitting on top. Why? I don’t know

A few weeks ago I exclaimed that there is one thing my mother loves more than newspapers.  That is money.  I had made her pinky swear that she would owe me $100 if she didn’t have 4 bags for me the following week.  I was really happy when she kept up with her side of the deal and delivered 4 bags the following week.  Unfortunately, I have had problems getting newspapers consistently from her since then.  I figured I would try the bet once again.  This time she would owe me 6 bags or $100.  I had high hopes since she was able to follow through with this a few weeks ago.  I was quite disappointed when I asked and she only had one bag for me.  She stated that she felt overwhelmed by the thought of 6 bags and said it wasn’t a good way to motivate her.  I guess its back to the drawing board!  Overall, I was happy because I was able to take a box of old books, a bag of misc. papers, a new kids on the block poster, some small rugs, tin cans, a bag of plastic, and a bag of styrofoam out.

This week

Cardboard boxes – (27)

1 bag newspapers (mom)

1 large bag papers

3 bags coupons

1 nkotb poster

1 bag garbage

2 small rugs

1 bag tin cans

1 bag plastic

1 bag styrofoam

For Donation:

1 box books for the library

2 bags clothes for goodwill

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Week 15 – Watch out for hazardous materials!!

Hazardous Items – Ready to go!

This upcoming weekend the city we live in is having a hazardous waste removal drive.  I see this as my chance to clear all the hazardous things I can find from the house.  Entering the house, I make a beeline to the garage because I have to imagine there are so many hazardous things swimming around here.  As I walk in, it becomes clear that everything I need to get to is on the other side of the garage.  I start by clearing a walkway through the garbage so I won’t kill myself attempting to walk across all of the trash.  Having a clean path will make it easier to take things out as well.  I get rid of a bunch of newspapers and garbage that are in my way to start.  Then I come across a bunch of my father’s “organized boxes.”  These are normally filled with the most random things ever.  Magazines, papers, pencils, screws, tools, whatever you can imagine.  I have already found a few of these boxes so far and they are so annoying to organize because they are always a random hodgepodge.

I’m pretty sure my dad got this out of the dumpster in the first place. I definitely tried to get rid of this about 10 years ago. Now it’s GONE for good!

One box is filled with magazines so I put them in a bag to try to throw them out.  Of course my mother stops me and tells me they might be worth money.  I take the nice ones out and put the rest aside for now.  I will figure out if I’m really going to try to sell them at a later point.  Of course I get a call from my mother the following day stating that she went on ebay and saw some of the same types of magazines for sale for $12.  I double checked this and noticed that most of the magazines she was referring to didn’t actually have any bids and were never sold.  I went to the trunk to see what magazines I had left and realized that I ended up throwing out the bag of magazines by accident anyways.  Oops!  I don’t think anyone would want to buy these things since I had taken them from an area that was full of mice/squirrel feces.  Yuck!!

Old turpentine and paint stain cans

So, back to cleaning up!  After I got through that mess, I finally made my way to the other side of the garage where there were plenty of hazardous things for us to take out.  Yes, I am saying “us” because my mom actually helped me today.  She helped carry a lot of the garbage and hazardous items through the house!  I was shocked to find that the 15 or so paint and 6 turpentine cans were actually empty!!  My father used to paint doors on the side when he was involved in construction, so they were probably used for that.  That was about 20 years ago though!  I am happy to see they are empty because they will be much easier to dispose of!  We ended up pulling about 4 boxes of wood stain, paint, turpentine, and other random hazardous items out.

At one point my father was watching as I pulled out container after container of stuff and he commented “wow, that’s a lot of junk!  It used to be good, but now it’s a lot of junk!”  I looked at him annoyed and dumbfounded.  I responded “Yes, this is all of your junk!!!”  I shook my head and proceeded to go through more of his piles of crap.  We finally filled up my car and I left as quickly as possible.  I would have pictures, but I was a filthy mess and my mother was around the whole time so I couldn’t let her see me take any pictures!  I did snap a few pictures as I was waiting in the car for my mom on Saturday though.  Sorry for the poor quality!

Paint? We’ve got tons of it!!

Saturday (hazardous waste collection day) came around and I called my mother.  I said “hey mom, I’m coming to help bring stuff to the hazardous waste collection thing.”  She said she had already loaded up the car and was ready to go.  I told her I wanted to check out the house across the street for more stuff, so she told me not to take too long.  This is the same person who says she is coming over in 10 min and shows up 1 to 3 hrs later.  I head to my grandmother’s and grab a few things.  I also asked my mom if she got rid of the paint in the basement.  She acts like she doesn’t know what I’m talking about.  I go downstairs and find about 5 boxes of spray paint my father used for making die cast model cars.  I started packing paint away to take to the hazardous waste drive and my mom comes down.  She hurriedly states that some of the paint has never been used.  Mind you they have a sheen of dust over them, so they aren’t very desirable in their current state.  I ask her what she’s going to do with them and she says she is going to put them on freecycle.  Great, she got that excuse from me last week as I said we could get rid of some things from my grandmother’s house on there.  I throw as many cans in the box as possible (prob about 40 cans) and leave back another 40 or so as my mother is getting more and more annoyed.  At least I can say I tried.

2 Bags garbage

6 bags newspapers (2 mom)

8 bags paper

1 stuffed animal

15 empty paint cans

6 cans turpentine

4 boxes hazardous paint/stain/chemical cans

Week 14 – On a roll…

Another Week, More piles!!

This week I went to my mother’s house and she didn’t have any newspapers for me.  I am not happy about this and now she will owe me 5 bags next week.  (2 for this week, 2 for next week and 1 extra bag since she didn’t have any for me.)  I also told her she would owe me $100 if she didn’t have them since this seemed to work last week.  It’s frustrating because my mom is doing the bare minimum to help clean up her own house.  I thought that since she had done so well some other weeks, she would try to achieve for more.  But instead she is practically giving up and it seems like she is almost trying to defy me.  It is frustrating because I show up and work my butt off every week.  I have a full time job and a busy social schedule outside of all of this, but I still find time to clean up their house, list items on ebay, and keep up with my blog.  Meanwhile, she spends two days a week at my brother’s house and takes my dad to the doctor once or twice a week.  Even though she has a significant amount of time on her hands compared to me, she can’t seem to find ten minutes to pack two bags of newspapers.  I have always known that my mother is horrible at time management, but maybe having too much time on her hands isn’t the best thing after all??

Plastic…

I let it go and head upstairs to the attic to continue digging away.  I was really excited leaving last week.  I felt like I actually accomplished something for once as I could actually see my progress.  Today my goal is to dig a path leading to a door that opens into a room under the eaves of the roof.  I had organized this area years ago so I am excited to have a nice organized space to work with.  I dig my way through and open door.  I am shocked to find the room to be filled to the brim and completely blocked!  I look in the boxes that are blocking the entrance of the doorway and they are filled with items from my grandmother’s house.  I start to dig around the boxes and find lots and lots of presents from when my mother was a teacher.  Now you might think your favorite teacher really wants that pretty wood apple pencil holder or an apple picture frame, but please don’t do it!

A slight roadblock..

I must have uncovered about 4 shopping bags full of gifts, all still in their boxes.  I put these aside for now and asked my mom to choose one item I could sell on ebay.  I started going through everything else in the back room of the attic.  I found a lot of plastic microwave containers that my mother was probably saving for school projects (this was always an excuse when I would try to get her to throw things away.)  Otherwise, I found lots of old clothes from the WHOLE family.  These are clothes from when my brother and I were smaller, clothes from my mom and dad, and my grandmothers and great aunt.  I was able to get a bag out this week for goodwill, so I’m happy with that.  It was a bit hard to get rid of some of my paternal grandmother’s clothes, she has been gone for 16 years and seeing some of the clothes brings back such nice memories of her.  I put them aside for now because I want to hold onto them for a little longer.  I know this isn’t helping the problem, but it’s only 1 or 2 items.

And more plastic!!

Going through the attic I also find an old computer and printer.  Mind you this is the same printer that I urged my mother to get rid of years ago when we bought them a new one.  My mother and I got into one of the biggest arguments about the printer because she seemed to think she would need it again in case the new one broke.  I also was able to throw away styrofoam from two old computer boxes that they hadn’t thrown away.  I have learned from prior weeks that I need to hide certain bags of paper and plastic from my mom so she won’t go through them before I remove them from the house.  I doubt there is anything in the bags that she would want.  It is so frustrating to watch her wasting time going through bags I spent so much time packing, it’s just easier if she doesn’t go through them.  She normally ends up taking out stupid things like coloring books or other papers that add to the mess downstairs.  In reality, she doesn’t need them and she will never use these papers she takes out.  If I take that step out of the process, it saves me time in the long run.  I let her go through the clothes for goodwill before I take them out and I leave.  I feel like I got pretty far, but I can’t believe how packed the back room is.  What a disappointment!!

This week:

No newspapers

1 bag paper

1 bag plastic

1 box Styrofoam

1 computer monitor

1 printer

1 large bag clothes

Week 11 – We’re heading outdoors!!

The back patio AFTER I cleaned it up a bit this week..

Before I headed back to work in the house, I had to get some dirt off the compost pile so I could plant some flowers on my balcony this weekend.  I was more than ready to go back to work in the garage, but the back patio caught my eye.  As soon as I walked by the porch I ran over, grabbing a bunch of planing trays for recycling.  My mother started to freak out and took the trays out of my hands.  She claimed that they weren’t clean yet, so I couldn’t take them for recycling.  I argued back and forth with her for a while and tried to start cleaning them myself.  In the end, it wasn’t worth the fight.  I didn’t want to have the wet plant trays in my car and there was so much junk everywhere I looked.  Even without the plant trays, I had enough items to fill my car tenfold.  As I started to uncover more and more layers, I couldn’t believe what was back there.  Multiple filing cabinets, old soccer balls, empty mulch bags, propane tanks, paper, the list goes on and on.  Every time I picked up something there was more of a mess underneath it.  I guess there was no more room inside the house??

A filing cabinet and other items that have been left outside for years

Even though I removed a car full of stuff, there is still a lot back there including a lawnmower, another filing cabinet, wires, and kids toys that my parents either found on the side of the road or at the recycling center.  I’m guessing the toys were supposed to go to the grandchildren, but haven’t made it there yet!  I tried to take the kids toys for Goodwill, but those weren’t clean yet either.  Right.  Enough of that!  Going back inside the house, my mother only had one bag of newspapers filled.  Actually, I’m being nice when I say it was actually filled.  I walked over to a pile of coupons that were obviously expired and again my mother freaked out because she wanted to look at the ads for items you can order by mail.  Mind you, my mother has NEVER ordered anything from any one of these ads EVER.  She quickly produced two more piles of papers to add to the bag of newspapers.  So amazing that she can jump out with more papers out of thin air, but she couldn’t fill the bag for me ten minutes earlier.  I grabbed some cardboard food boxes(cereal/microwave food/snack boxes) from around the room to fill another grocery bag up.  I also added some magazines from the floor when she wasn’t looking.  Overall, she was NOT happy!  In the end I was able to push her out of her comfort zone and help her get rid of some things she didn’t want to part with in the first place.  Success!!

Old balls anyone?

This week:

1 bag of newspapers

1 bag of other cardboard

5 assorted soccer balls

15 empty mulch bags

1 filing cabinet

1 planting trough

plastic planting trays

1 bag garbage

Assorted plastic

2 small propane tanks

Week 10 – What am I going to do with all of this sh!t?!?!

My challenge for this week: The garage. This picture was taken after I have removed 16 bags of newspapers in the past few weeks!!

I woke up this week and took a good look around my own house.  I became angry with myself as I realized that I have brought home more of the hoard than I’m comfortable with.  I have sorted through everything that has come into my house, but I really need to start getting rid of things.  I don’t want to bring anything back to my parents house whatsoever, even though I’m going to have to at some point.  We have inherited some items that we would like to keep, but my little house doesn’t have the storage space for any of it.  In the mean time, I would like to get rid of some of the items my mom has agreed to part with.  Therefore, I have joined the world of selling on Ebay!!  I figured I would begin with an easy item so I sold a video I received for free when I went to see a talk show being taped.  I didn’t pay for it, so I wouldn’t mind if it didn’t make too much money.  I don’t know if you have ever tried to sell anything on Ebay, but these stupid auctions take forever.  A week seriously feels like a year!!  I “patiently” eyed my Ebay listing about 5 times a day (at least) hoping someone would bid on it.  It sold the first time around and I actually earned a good amount of money after all the fees.  This might be a good thing after all because I can also get rid of junk around my own home!!

Upon entering my parents house, I decided to head to the garage.  It looks like they threw a lot of garbage in here, so I should be able to get rid of everything immediately.  Nothing to go into my own house!  Upon entering the garage, I immediately noticed a bag or two that were covered in urine.  I also saw some nuts and animal droppings near a box of cracker jacks that was opened and eaten.  I alerted my mother to this and she didn’t seem bothered by it at all.  I on the other hand am grossed out and really bothered by this.  I keep picturing a rabid animal jumping out at me every time I move a bag.   I am also convinced I will find a dead animal sooner or later.  I cleared out some garbage and a bunch of newspapers and it actually looks like I’m finally making a dent!

Before leaving I grabbed a bunch of old shampoos, lotions, and fragrances from my bathroom.  It has been 5 years since I lived here, some of these items might still be good and it will save me a trip to the drugstore!  Yes, this does count as bringing things into my house but I’m going to use anything that is still good and recycle the rest.  I look at it as saving money, so it’s OK (and it was mine in the first place.)  My mother was definitely watching over me this week, but I don’t think she’s too worried about anything from the garage.  I asked if she wanted to donate any towels to the veterinary hospital as I eyed a pile of about 20 towels neatly stacked in my bathroom closet.  She said she had to see which ones my dad uses before I could take any.  There is always an excuse!!  Oh well, I tried!

Tally this week:

10 Bags of newspapers from garage

2 Bags of newspapers from mom

4 bags of garbage

Week 9 – Feelin Fine

More Dishes!!!

Before heading to my parents house this week, I stopped at Walmart to grab some plastic bins to store anything I bring into my own house.  You see, I have two kitties at home and they are not happy about the cat smell on the boxes from my parents house.  Therefore they have been marking (aka peeing) all over my house.  Not cool!!  I also decided to pick up a travel coffee mug since my mom was saving at least 10 used paper coffee cups so my dad could have coffee on the go.  How often does he need coffee on the go?  I would love to know this as well!  There is always another excuse, but I’m trying to eliminate them one by one!

In with the new..

In with the new..

Out with the old!

My mother was right on my tail as I walked into the house.  This isn’t going to deter me because I have a plan!  Even though I moved out about 5 years ago, I still have some items left in my brother’s old room.  A few of the dresser drawers were still pretty full, so I emptied them and declared that we would use them for gift wrap storage.  There are still numerous bows, gift tags, and ribbons scattered all over the room, so I started to put these items away in the drawers.  Surprisingly, my mother was quite helpful in organizing all of the wrapping paper and ribbon.  Of course, this didn’t come without a few hang-ups like the fact that she would not let me get rid of any scraps of gift wrap or a particular Santa Claus balloon.  My mother’s ability to have such a strong attachment to the most mundane and ridiculous items never ceases to amaze me.  It’s as if she won’t be able to survive another day without this deflated balloon.  I tried relentlessly to get the balloon out of there, but realized it wasn’t worth my energy.

After we got over the Santa Claus balloon debacle, I was surprised when my mother allowed me to get rid of a bunch of empty boxes that were sitting around the room.  My attention moved to a few computer screens that were sitting on the edge of the bed as one nearly crashed to the floor.  It was barely saved by a few boxes that were sitting next to the bed.  I looked at my mother and said “do we REALLY need the computer screens.”  These dinosaurs don’t even work with my parent’s current computer!  She agreed to let me take one, then two, and also an old TV.  I am shocked!!  I took them out to my car immediately in case she decided to change her mind.

Clothes from my great Aunt’s house. Most were from my uncle who died about 24 years ago and the other clothes were from goodwill when my great Aunt had to go into a nursing home.  Half are going straight to recycling and half will go back to goodwill!

In the end, I got a lot of bulky items out of the house and my mother actually helped me!  We had to have an important conversation though.  After this room was “done”, we would have to move to another room.  I commented that maybe we could move on to my parents bedroom next.  Immediately, I could tell that my mother was 100% against me going anywhere near her bedroom.  I made the point that we had worked together so nicely this week and I hoped it could continue to be a positive experience for both of us.  On my way out of the room I grabbed a bag of my great Aunt’s old clothes even though my mother said she would “like to go through the bag first.”  I think this is her favorite expression ever.

Unfortunately, for every positive there is still a negative.  My mother didn’t have any bags of newspapers for me this week, so asked her to pack up some random cardboard boxes that were lying around the house and grabbed a few pre-packed bags from the garage.  In general, it was a very positive week and I’m happy my mother helped me out.  She even made comments about putting a working TV into my brother’s old room after we clean it up.  It’s nice to hear she has high aspirations for her house, but I have to face the fact that my mother doesn’t know how to curb her hoarding tendencies.  Therefore, I doubt any of these dreams will ever happen since she really is her own worst enemy.

This week:

6 Bags of newspapers (only 1 bag from mom)

8  Bags of other items (plastic, papers, boxes)

2 Computer Screens

1 13 inch TV

2 Bags of clothes from my great Aunt

1 Box misc. plates

1 Stuffed bear (taken from the dumpster by my father)

1 bag of my stuff

Week 8 – Still Going..

These are some blue glasses/bowls that my mother put aside for me. I absolutely love them and I’m really glad I found them again!!

Sorry for the delay in posting this week!  I was about to post this up yesterday and realized that I wanted to include a few extra pictures.  I was super exhausted last night and didn’t have the energy to take the pictures and put them in the post!  Not like I have any more energy right now (I literally went to post this and the stupid system reverted to my old draft.  I might cry)..

Anyways, I’m feeling WAY under the weather this week, but hoarding never stops, so I dragged myself to my parents house.  Upon walking in, I saw my mom and began to express how awful I was feeling.  She cheerily replied, “you can take the two bags of newspapers and go home then”!  NOT SO FAST, I told her I would still grab some other stuff while I was there.  She then went off to watch dancing with the stars (yes I am a bit behind since I started a journal a few weeks ahead of my blog and I’m referring off that).  This was good to note for the future since she was COMPLETELY distracted.  I proceeded to go upstairs to my brother’s room and found there wasn’t much to take aside from a large box of blue dishes and a box or two of tea cups.  My house is filled with boxes of plates, glasses, and other items waiting to find their ultimate destination, so I decided to leave them behind for now.

I grabbed a box of my old stuff, two boxes that had been sitting at the top of the stairs, and a bag of old clothes.  This didn’t take very much time so I decided to go back to the garage.  Upon entering, I am stopped by the fact that there are a bunch of bags and boxes on the ground that are ultimately preventing me from going any further.  I look in the bags and find old food which I’m guessing is from my grandma’s house.  Then I come across a few bags of old garbage that I threw away years ago while I was still living with my parents.  I am surprised at the amount of anger that arises when I see my old garbage still sitting in the house.  When I was younger, my brother and I used to get into huge arguments about the fact that my mother would go through our trash.  Coming across these bags, It still feels like she is invading my privacy years later.  I decide to let the anger go and move on.

I finally dig my way to a pile of previously packed newspapers and one falls from the bag.  I look at the year and it says 1992!!  Ugh, really??  I grab a few bags of newspapers and then decide to clean the hallway since there are a mountain of things blocking the garage door.  I literally feel like I am going to fall over them every time I try to walk through.  My mother finally breaks herself from the TV and helps me sort through items for recycling.

This is the British Float. I had to do a bit of research to figure out what it was. Normally it has rope around it, but it was in bad condition so I took it off. Miles decided he had to be in the picture.

I get home and look to see what was in the boxes at the top of the stairs.  There are a few blue glass bowls that my mother had put aside for me years ago, but I wasn’t sure where the box had disappeared to.  I’m quite excited to find these items again!  The bag of clothes ended up having a lot of yarn and fabric in it.  It smells awful and there doesn’t seem to be any easy ways to recycle fabric, so this stuff is out (I have since found a few clothing/cloth recycling programs in the area).  I put together another box of items and find a British float.  I had no idea what that was, but I am excited about it.  Not too bad.

In the morning I get a call from my mother.  She angrily asks “WHERE IS THE WEED KILLER THAT WAS BY THE DOOR!?!?  WHY DID YOU THROW IT AWAY???”  I tell her that I didn’t actually throw it away, I just moved the box to the garage.  My mother wearily replied okay.  Then she was upset because I threw away a bunch of used paper coffee cups that my father normally takes to appointments with them.  My mother comments that he used one on the way to the doctor just the other day.  I told my mother I would buy him a travel coffee mug even though I swear they have a bunch in the house already.  In addition, I decided to buy my mother a compost bucket to replace the six milk containers she won’t part with.  She won’t get rid of the milk cartons in case she needs to use one as a new compost bin.  Of course her excuse for not using the new compost bin that I bought her is that “it’s too big.”  I get it.  I will never win.

There really wasn’t anything interesting this week. Except the animal scarf in the middle. I will include that on a later post when I’m having an un-eventful week. It’s quite the fashion accessory!!

I figure I am done at this point, but I get another call a few hours later.  My mother immediately states “you took the tea cups!”  Mind you they were teetering on top of some other boxes of junk in the middle of the floor.  I replied that I just moved them to the corner with the rest of the tea cups.  My mother replies “oh. And the bows, did you take the bows?”  This was in reference to a few packages of decorative bows that were laying on the floor.  I reply that I placed the bows in a box with the rest of the bows.  Again, my mother replies “oh.”  I’m obviously doing a good job so far if I can prove her wrong at every accusation!

I must also mention that my father freaked out because he thought I was taking his empty boxes out of the garage.  Mind you they are in a damp garage and covered by dryer dust, so I doubt they are useable.  I told him not to start with me as well and he left me alone after that.  I definitely don’t need two people on me!

This week –

5 Bags of Newspapers

1 trunk full of random garbage (cardboard, old plastic, lotion bottles, shaving cream cans, actual food, and a kid’s ride on toy

Fabric

Misc dishes and trinkets