I think the nesting instinct might have kicked in just a little this weekend. You didn’t find me wiping down a nursery or washing little boy onesies, though. Oh no.
I decided to take on the out of control toys.
I swear that the toys in our house multiply overnight. I rarely buy my kids toys. They’ve been gifted some wonderful things and they’ve been the recipients of lots of hand-me-downs, but I’m also pretty militant about what I allow into the playroom in the first place.
I realized the other day, though, that I’ve let the toys take control. And that makes me feel terribly out of control, like the walls are closing in on me.
I’d say by some people’s standards, I’m already a toy minimalist, but I believe there’s still plenty of work to be done. The tell-tale sign for me that there are too many toys around is when my kids, despite having plenty of toys to occupy them, are so totally bored that they need me to entertain them.
I took a good look at the playroom the other day and made some observations. Aside from things being strewn everywhere, there wasn’t a whole lot of actual playing going on. Instead it was lots of fighting between the two of them. Lots of begging for me to play with them. Lots of “I’m bored,” “Can I watch a show?” “Can I play on my LeapPad?”
I decided it was time for an intervention.
Without the kids realizing it, I filled three paper bags with toys to donate. I also filled half a trash bag with broken toys/missing pieces, etc.
I put a few toys in each of their bedrooms. I took a bunch of toys to the basement for safekeeping (to rotate later) and brought up the trains and tracks for a change. I put the blocks and Legos in clear view.
I put all the boy and girl dress up clothes in a big bucket that they can play with whenever they want, but have to get in the habit of putting away correctly.
Because this is their idea of putting toys away:
Finally, I let Lucas go through some toys and decide whether he wanted to keep them, give them away, or put them away in the basement for his baby brother. He did a pretty good job and I was pleased with what he decided.
Except for this one Little People police car. He never plays with it, but every time I’ve tried to get rid of it in the last year, he acts like the very idea has broken his heart.
“Are you sure you don’t want to give this to someone who doesn’t have any toys? Another little boy might really enjoy it.”
“No, it’s my favorite toy.”
“Lucas, I don’t ever see you play with it. I only see it sitting in this bucket.”
“That’s because I only play with it on Wednesdays.”
Needless to say, the police car made the cut. He still hasn’t played with it, but I’m sure all that will change on Wednesday.
At any rate, I’ve already seen significant progress. The kids entertained themselves for hours yesterday.
The walls have given me some breathing room.
And the intense desire to nest went away just in time. I almost mopped the kitchen floor. That was a close call.
All those baby clothes will wash and hang themselves, right!?!
Life happens when we de-clutter.