love thursday motherhood

Love Thursday: The Things We Keep

Yesterday I took away all of my son’s toys. All of them. At some point during the course of the day I hit the point of no return – watching the way he abused his belongings had irked me one too many times; putting his toys away for him either because he wouldn’t or because he wouldn’t do it right… I may be asking too much of a three year old but the thing that really bothered me happened after I took them away. He didn’t care. Guys, I’m serious – I took ALL his toys away and he didn’t even whimper. He seemed to think it was funny. And apart from asking for one stuffed animal before nap time, he never asked me for a single toy. And the rest of our day was pleasant. Awesome even. What the frig?

When my husband came home and saw the empty toy room he was a bit astonished. “Do I even need to ask how your day was?” I believe was his response. When I told him that after I’d taken the toys away it had been a great day and that his son didn’t even seem to miss all the great stuff I’d put away… He was a bit surprised, too. I’ve often thought that MM has too many toys – sometimes it’s hard to really appreciate something when you have it in mass quantities. But whenever we’ve tried to weed through his things and donate stuff, we never get very far because it’s all great stuff, you know? Where do you draw the line? Last night we played hard ball. Sort of. We went through all his toys and got rid of well over half of it. Except, by got rid of, I really mean we put it in our storage closet downstairs. And looking around his toy room there is still a ton of stuff, but the difference is still huge. Instead of having several dozen stuffed animals on his bed, he now has six. And those are the only stuffed animals in his possession, there aren’t any in the toy room. So what’s left in his toy room now you ask? Let me show you…

We left all his train accessories and of course the terrific table my dad made for him.

Likewise with his awesome tool bench – an old Christmas present from his auntie – honestly the big toys are the least of our problems and this one is in constant use.

This used to also house all his little stuffed animals, which are now in storage. He loves to dress up in funny hats and put his worldly possessions in fun bags. Now these things are front and center in the Dress Up Bucket and the stuffed animals which used to mostly just get dumped on the floor when he wanted a fun hat… yeah those are gone.

Dan and I are huge nerds and we wouldn’t have the heart to get rid of great educational toys. The puzzles, abacus and the wooden “foods” all stay. These are also favorites of the boy’s so I know they’ll be used frequently. Hopefully now they’ll be used MORE in fact.

These are in addition to a bunch of little matchbox cars that live with his train set. Like any boy, MM loves “things that go” – we kept most of his trucks and cars out (though not all of them).

Of course the great Mega Bloks have to stay and the blue bucket has a couple toys we deemed worth keeping…

We used to have two buckets filled to the brim with small toys, some things in multiple, like he needs that many. This is probably the part I’m proudest of. I feel a little silly having such an empty forlorn looking bucket, but then I remember Christmas is always just around the corner…

There was no chance of us getting rid of the great pull out couch, his “baby sister” doll and blanket. Likewise with books and the things above the bookshelf. NO books were gotten rid of – because well his parents are book fiends.

Like we’d probably be shot if they went missing. His prized possessions to be sure.

The bottom line for me, and the part that makes this a Love Thursday is that I want my son to LOVE the things he has and in turn, take marginally good care of them. When we moved we got rid of so much of our own clutter (maybe not enough, but a LOT) and our main method for selection was, “Do we HONESTLY love this thing?” We were brutal but it was worth it. It was liberating. And MM has been happy as a clam today, playing with the toys which remained – not even a second thought seemingly going to things which are gone. At some point we may donate a bunch of the stuff downstairs – and if he asks for it and we are feeling nice we may bring some things back up. But honestly, I think he still has plenty and it’s all stuff we all love.

Love Thursday is the brain child of Chookooloonks. Check out her post today for more thoughts on love, and the comments section for other people playing along.

family fun

Tackle it Tuesday: De-Cluttering the Chaos

So I don’t think I’ve ever done a Tackle it Tuesday for the simple reason that I sadly don’t seem to tackle very much – at least not much worth blogging about. But there has been this little issue that has been driving me a little insane for oh say 2 years now. My son, love him though I do, has too many toys. I know there are a lot of kids out there with more toys than him, but for us, it’s too much. Namely because he just plain doesn’t treat them with respect – he’s not content to actually play with the toys, but would rather have a toy throwing bonanza of wisking several toys into the air, so they fall like confetti around him – at least, that’s what you’d imagine from the look of our apartment. It drives me insane. And I keep saying, “One of these days, I’m going to get rid of HALF these toys,” but I always manage to fall short of that goal, and simply tried to find new ways to organize the junk – I mean toys. But the problem is, I can organize till I’m blue in the face, it won’t make him stop making messes – he’ll take them out of whatever container I put them, no matter how cute the container is (maybe especially if it’s cute). It was time to buck up and make a cut.

I gathered all of his toys into the living room while he was napping on Sunday and started making piles – first, simply of what went with what so that any toy had all it’s pieces, regardless of where it was going next. Then I talked with my husband, through the pile, about each toy – who had given it to us, how many other toys were like it (I started organizing the pile into categories here), and how he treated the toy – was it a favorite or just something to throw into the wall? Some toys were harder to decide with than others – maybe it was a toy, I personally picked out just for him – but for various reasons it had not caught on. Maybe his grandmother had picked it out just for him, but it wasn’t a great fit. And so on… we showed no mercy until all of his toys fit neatly in two baskets, which we’ll rotate whenever he seems bored with the current collection. Even with both baskts emptied onto the floor of our living room, it looked immensely better. He still had lots of toys, but they were the GOOD ones. Some we are keeping for when he’s older, some for when we have another baby.

Bags Filled with Toys for Friends
Bags Filled with Toys for MM's Friends - what lucky kids!

The biggest thing we cut, were the little toys – all the little toys with little pieces that didn’t do much other than take up space, despite their small size. The box of clutter we got rid of was not big, but when the contents were spilled on the floor it was massive – like spilling a drink, the contents could cover a lot of ground. We also put some good toys that were just not a good fit for MM into three bags for some of his friends, who might appreciate them more than he did.

After the Storm (getting rid of old toys typhoon)
After the Storm (you know, the getting rid of old toys and clutter typhoon).

My living room is a mess, still, but somehow this mess is one I’m willing to live with – it’s toys he loves, and toys that  don’t look like a cluttered disgusting mess so much as an assortment of his favorite things, left in the middle of a very fun morning of playtime. And you can see from the look on MM’s face that he isn’t very torn up over the loss of those other toys, which didn’t make the cut…

Did you do something recently that you’re hella proud of? Something truly Tackle it Tuesday worthy? Write about it in your blog and then link up with other Tuesday Tackler’s at 5 Minutes for Mom.