Yesterday we got around 20 inches of snow. School got cancelled the night before which is always a treat. My kids are happily playing outside, so I race upstairs to get rid of old toys.

I can’t do this while anyone (including my husband) is watching because it will go like this, “Oh that! I forgot I had that. Don’t get rid of that. I love that!”

On my way upstairs, I pass a large tote filled with hats and mittens. I dump it out on the floor in the dining room and bring the empty tote with me. Now in my son’s room, I pull out games from his closet and sort them. I find stuff no one is ever going to play with again. Candyland, Headbands, and Qwirkle all make their way into the tote.

All this money wasted, I start to think, but quickly stop myself. It is what it is at this point. We buy things for Christmas or whenever hoping we’ve hit the jackpot and sometimes (apparently a lot) we’re wrong.

By the time I finish, his room looks incredible and the tote is overflowing. I don’t want my kids to see this tote. I drag it down the stairs. Bump, bump, bump, 18 times. I click the metal handle on the front door and it whips open. Over two feet of snow rush into the front hall. I pull the tote out and drag it down the front steps. I am wearing boots, but no jacket, hat, or gloves. I pull on the door to close it behind me, but it won’t shut. I use my bare hand to dust off the snow stuck in the frame. Again I try to close it. Nope.

My heart starts to race. There is only so much time. Someone, a child or husband, will eventually come into sight and see what I am trying to do. I close the door as best I can resolving to come back after hiding the evidence.

I wade through 24 inch drifts of snow, as I pull the tote towards my white Volvo sedan. My hands began to hurt in the manner of a thousand pinprick torture system but I can not stop now. I know what Shackleton must have felt like. Getting to the car and opening the trunk should be a victory, but as I lift the 50 pound tote––it wont. fit. in. the. trunk.

Suddenly, I hear voices. “Mom! Where are you?” I must not let them see these toys. I flip the blue tote on its side with the open part inside the car and started banging on the bottom so the stuff dumps into the boot of the car loose and completely unorganized. I feel sorry for the Goodwill employee who will have to sort through this to make it sellable, but I cannot let this sadness hurt my mission.

Loose playing cards blow down the street. The trunk closes, the job is done. Only a yoyo string hanging out the trunk seam tells the tale of my mission.