Reduction.

I want to empty out my whole house and start over.

This happens to me every single month at just about the same time. (I also start craving chocolate and getting migraines around this time, too, y’follow?) I just get fed up with all the crap in my house and I want to put it in piles, throw it out, rearrange it all. For about a week every month, I’d be perfectly happy to just live in a house of completely empty rooms. But I know I’d eventually come to my senses.

The toys are my greatest conundrum right now. I know I can throw some out or donate some or return some to their rightful lender, but which ones? The ones he hasn’t played with a long time, but are old standard favorites? The ones we got before he was ready, but that might be just the perfect thing in 6 months? The ones that are basically duplicates of other toys like the zillionth fire truck, even though he loves them all and has different names for them all (“bigg’ole fire truck” and “actual fire truck” among my favorites)? How do I know which toys can go and never be missed and which ones should stay?

Same with books. And stuffed animals. And clothes. It’s very hard for me to let go of things for some reason. I solved the clothes problem by making a quilt out of all my favorites that he had outgrown, but I can’t very well make a quilt out of old puzzles with missing pieces, can I?

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ETA: Right after I wrote this, I was inspired to go pick through his toys and at least move some to the basement, if not directly out to the trash. I also organized what was left. I love Joe’s idea of asking The Who to go through the toys himself and will probably do that on the next go-around. I think he might still be a little too young to get the concept.

"Food" in the fridge and utensils collected neatly in a cup. Let's see how long we can make this last.

"A nice quiet place to read," a la Maisy and Caillou (in two different stories we are currently reading/watching.)

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5 thoughts on “Reduction.

  1. I can totally relate. My basic philosophy is if we buy something, we get rid of something because we have a limited space. I have also learned to control my buying impulses a lot and go with quality over quantity, which is really hard because I love toys. But the truth is, if my kid has too much, none of it gets used very much and makes her have shorter attention span. If she hasn’t played with somethings for a long time, I give them out to good friends. That way, the toys can have longer lives and I feel good knowing that they are being loved by little people you love. Like that Toy Story thing.

  2. you could ask The Who. You could say it’s time for some of your toys to be shared with another kid. here’s the toys you have….here’s a basket (or box or bin or whatever), let’s go through your toys and pick out the ones you love to play with the most….and let him pick a bunch to put in the bin. then later, when he’s not around you can prune the old toys he doesn’t play with much and maybe put some of new ones in. that way it’s a fresh start. you can tell him you will do it twice a year….

  3. Mom-hood requires that we make difficult decisions, doesn’t it? But, I must confess, Melanie will soon
    be 33 and I had stashed away in the attic her suitcase of Barbies, her My Pretty Ponies complete with dress-up clothes, and a tote full of books. When rummaging through the attic a few weeks ago she was quite gleeful when finding that I still have her Cheshire Cat (which my mom had given her before she passed away) and her old, ratty zebra that she remembers her grammy getting for her at a yardsale. I kept only a handful of items, choosing her very “bestest favorites,” as she put it when she was four. The look of surprise and delight was worth keeping them all these years. Her comment – “Oh, Mom, you remembered these!” I cannot give you any clues as to which memories to keep for Asher, but a memory box tucked away in your attic will provide him with smiles much, much later, down the road.

  4. I have the same frustration, 3.5 weeks a month. One thing that really has helped was following a suggestion to have cleaning up be part of my sons responsibility before he gets another toy out. He loves the responsibility and I love that he’s learning ownership. Plus my house is 20% neater.

    • Jamie, that is something we work pretty hard at here, too. The problem is that our house is small, so even when toys are put away, there’s still a lot of “stuff” showing.

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