Our kids have way too much crap. There’s crap in the play room, there’s crap in the basement, there’s crap in the office, there’s crap in each of their rooms, there’s crap in the kitchen. CRAP CRAP CRAP EVERYWHERE! You cannot escape it. I understand that this is just the way life with kids is going to be for a while. So I truly don’t mind the box of markers and coloring books that have become the centerpiece of our kitchen table or the fact that the Man Cave looks more like a Fisher Price play den. Easy for me to say since it’s not my man cave, but you get the point. The point being that until they reach a certain age (or at least I’m hoping) our house is just always going to look like kids live in it. Or that a small boutique toy store lives in our house. Either way, there’s stuff.
That said, does there have to be so much stuff? Isn’t less actually more? I’m starting to reach a point in my life where I have zero tolerance for our house becoming a graveyard of toys never played with in months. The crowning jewel of this cast-aside collection is the Hot Wheels Ultimate Garage. Sigh. This was AJR’s mega bribe for learning how to poop in the potty before he turned 3. He worked so hard, crapped five times in the toilet without an accident, and sure enough Amazon delivered that thing and he spent a solid year entertaining himself with it. I’m talking hours of lining cars up, sending them up the elevator, into the mouth of the shark, etc. It was glorious. Then it started to get played with less and less to the point where it felt like it should be collecting cobwebs with all the inactivity. This year, we did a post-Christmas purge and I was ready to chuck it in then and there, but of course AJR freaked out and spent 45 minutes playing with it in an attempt to convince me that it needed to stay. Telling myself that we had room for this toy’s massive footprint, I gave in. MISTAKE. One time, maybe ONE TIME, after that fateful day it’s been played with.
Then, this past week, I was playing with the kids in a cluttered toy room where there was barely any room on the floor to actually play. Toys lined every part of the wall. Things that they rarely touched. It was my breaking point. I’ve been doing my best Marie Kondo around the house and I decided it was time for The Purge 2.0: A Reckoning. Toys that either because of emotional attachments or fear that the kids would ask for them one day were quickly bagged up while they were away at school. I felt emboldened. Annoying toys that maybe got a little play, but not enough to warrant keeping around due to mental anguish (Melissa & Doug Wooden Pizza set with 1,000 pepperonis, peppers, and mushrooms, I’m talking to you) were casualties of the purge. As the kids have gotten older, their interests have changed and I think this was the time for me to start accepting that. To realize that the cars, trucks, and garages that AJR was obsessed with were something he had simply outgrown. And even Olivia’s younger toddler toys were something she was phasing out of in favor of art supplies and things with smaller and smaller pieces. It was time to downsize our toy supply and donate it to those kids that would give these toys a second life.
This is the pile that I managed to amass. Now, realize that this is already after a January purge of toys, clothing, and miscellaneous household items. If you walk into our playroom you would honestly doubt whether I did anything at all. But I swear, I did.
Now I’m left with the Herculean task of trying to organize all of this stuff. I am not very good at organizing, but I am the type of person that likes the idea of organization, invests in storage, and then watches it all go to hell within a few weeks and the realities of life and my personality begin to set in. There is something magical about stepping foot into Home Goods or The Container Store. You’re filled with a sense of possibility and easily get swept up into an organizational system that costs more than the things that you were starting to organize. In our home, I probably own at least five bins that have the words “stuff” or “miscellaneous” on them. I am an absolute sucker for a storage container with some ironic phrasing and I think Joe may have words with me if I bring another home.
But perhaps the biggest issue is finding a storage solution that allows my kids to easily access the toys. My kids have never been the type to walk into the playroom and start upending bins and boxes to discover what’s inside. They have other shortcomings, but that is not one of them. If it’s not out in the open where they can see it, then it doesn’t exist to them. There-in lies the rub. I’ve tried consulting Pinterest, which, why do I even bother? All it does is foster unrealistic aspirations. These playrooms probably cost a fortune and there is no way in hell they look like that even 24 hours after that photo was taken. So, I turn to you people, and I ask you, how do you organize everything? Any tips or tricks? I know that some people actually rotate the toys where they pack certain things away and bring them out at a later date. I see the wisdom in this, however, my mom brain would probably lead me to forget that I even stored away some of the toys and they would be discovered years later. Plus, it feels like a lot of effort to make when I feel like I’m making more than enough efforts on a daily basis.
Anyway, I’ve purged and I feel good about it. Our playroom is still a hot mess on a plate, but I am working on it. Until they mess it up again.