Let’s talk about toys! Honestly, kids will play with anything and everything. If empty boxes are the only things you have on hand, they will be just fine. Why do we accumulate so much? Let me explain how it happens in our house.
By Nicole Nowitzki
First, we have been very fortunate to have been gifted or handed down almost everything we have, but when things arrive, all other toys become obsolete because these new toys are so new and different. Then, after a day or so, they just get mixed into the jumble, and it is back to square one, but now there are more than we started with.
Toy chaos can actually make kids bored, nervous, and rambunctious. I firmly believe in the bucket system! When toys are sorted and organized by type, it makes them seem fresh and new because they don’t get to see them all the time. I feel like one large toy box is only fun to dump out, and then the luster of playing is suddenly gone. Although, when I’m busy making a meal/cleaning/changing a diaper…, they are now old enough to drag down every single perfectly sorted bucket, dump them onto the floor, and mix them all up? It will make you want to burn the house down and start over! The time has come to find a hiding place for the buckets!
When the toys are cleaned up, it is this unbelievable feeling of euphoria and happiness, but 98% of the time, I’m walking around thinking, “WHAT A MESS!!!” and “How did all of this stuff get upstairs???” It is so hard to keep everything from being spread around the house. My oldest drags around books, costumes, and any type of blocks. My twins drag around anything with wheels and sports balls. The baby just usually sits in a mound of toys and plays with whatever he can get his hands and mouth on.
I am thankful for the Barney song that inspires my children to clean up because when I get frustrated and start throwing toys down the stairs, it doesn’t really set a very good example. Another thing that helps is a huge push broom. Once all of the toys pushed into a pile, it is much easier to pick them up and sort them. I developed this genius plan when I was pregnant (and bending was not an option), but I have since owned up to the fact that it is a much better system. Also, yes, it does work on carpet because you know I’ve tried it. I pull the toys into a pile or turn the broom upside down and push.
Also, purging toys should be easy because 9 times out of 10, if they are out of sight, they are out of mind. If it is something special, it may be remembered, but chances are, we wouldn’t get rid of something that important. It’s so nice these days because you can either give them away, have a yard sale, donate them to a daycare, or take them to a resale shop. Although, the resale shop may cause us to come home with more than we donated, so also take your willpower with you.
Either way, I’m thankful every single day to live in this time period because I feel like I have the option to give my children as much or little as I see fit because we have so much at our fingertips. The most important thing to remember is that toys don’t make memories. Playing with our children, long conversations in the car or at the dinner table, singing, dancing, imagining, building, adventures/vacations/camping, and exploring are more important that anything we can buy!