We went to see my husband’s identical twin brother and his wife and 3 kids recently. They live 4 hours away, so we make it a weekend and stay at a hotel with a pool so we don’t get all up in their space and intrude upon their lives with all our special needs and little kids.
After a tour of the gorgeous remodeling they’ve done, something hits me. It’s the ABSENCE of toys. Their house isn’t all junked up with toys. Even the kids’ rooms don’t have a million toys and stuffed animals in them. The basement has one of those multi-bin set-ups, but it’s not nearly as brimming over as ours is.
I think of all the time they and the kids must save in picking up toys and of all the creative things the kids do instead of digging through tons of toys. I mean, my kids are pretty imaginative and play outside a lot, but that just makes me notice even more how many of their toys are rarely touched.
Some toys I’m nostalgic about or worry they’ll miss if I get rid of them. But I have to suck it up and JUST DO IT anyway or the toys will take over the house. Sure, I have a bunch of little kids and we homeschool, which means we’re home all day, but that doesn’t mean we have to have SO MANY toys to pick up all the time.
And they DON’T get picked up all the time. I get lazy about it and just let their rooms turn into messy pits when if I got rid of a bunch of stuff, their rooms would be easier to pick up for them AND for their little friends who come over and help make messes.
The leather ottoman I got for the living room was genius. “Kids and Friends of My Kids, throw all the toys in the ottoman.” When it overflows, toys either go downstairs to the bin set-up or upstairs to their rooms. When THOSE overflow, it’s time for some purging.
Purging pre-birthdays and pre-Christmas is a good idea, also.
So when I pick up that Littlest Pet Shop igloo they never play with (it goes with the huskies), I need to get over the guilt or the nostalgia and just put it in a giveaway pile for some kid who may stumble upon it at a thrift store and freak out with excitement.
I have to work on teaching my kids about STUFF being only material, well, STUFF.