Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Big Mess

These are my kids' toys. Most of them. More were added to the pile after this picture was taken. Why do we have such a pile of toys? It all started when one of my boys informed me he didn't have enough blocks to build his castle. Well of course he didn't because there were maybe 5 blocks in the actual block container. The rest were in various toy storage places around the house: downstairs where we keep the hockey sticks (spare pucks perhaps), in the drawers under his bed, in my handy dandy living room storage baskets and scattered randomly in the closet. We'd also started to run out of Duplo, couldn't find any of the doctor's kit and didn't have quite enough firetrucks to run the Fire Department. The toys were a real mess. A somewhat neat mess, they were all put away somewhere, but absolutely no organisation left to them whatsoever.
This is a thing about being a parent that other parents don't warn you about. You know your kids will have toys, what nobody tells you is how the toys start to take over. I looked at this pile and though, really? Really and truly our kids have this many toys? How did this happen? I also realise that more toys are coming (my son turns 5 next month).
So armed with baskets and containers (and the notion of a garage sale in mind), we (meaning mostly me) searched the house for toys...all the toys. My kids got a great kick out of the fact that Mama was the one making the big mess! And then we began to sort. A pile like this can look intimidating unless you have a plan in mind. We started with the Duplo and worked our way from there (brush blocks, regular blocks, airplanes, trucks/cars, animal/people figures, instruments, dress up, doctor's kit, tools, puzzles...). The kids really did dig in and help (especially as they realised that they could find long lost 'favorites'. At the end we had something resembling this:

This ring of orgnanisers went around the entire living room. It also included a pile of things for the garbage (broken toys and other various items that really had no reason to be). It gave me a good idea of what I'm going to grab at a later time (when the kids are not around) for the garage sale. We discovered that yes indeed we really do have a full set of wooden blocks (although we are still missing one piece of the Thomas track).
Something great that helped get my oldest ready to do something like this was read Too Many Toys by David Shannon. It's a wonderful book that uses humour when dealing with this.

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