Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Kids Clean Up and Clean Out!

**This is a post originally from April 13, 2007. It used to be posted on another blog I had, but I wanted to move it over here so that it can be seen. And also, I need to do it again, so it's good motivation LOL!

This, my dear readers, is how my front room looked this afternoon.

Today, at my house, we did a toy sort. Now, this was completed today for a variety of reasons:
  1. We have more toys than this house can hold without looking messy and uncluttered.
  2. I feel extremely motivated to thin the toys because most of them will be housed in the basement and since I am organizing my basement for the 30 Day Organizational Challenge, this went a long way to help for that
  3. My dh has been requesting I take time to do this for, oh, a month now?
I know it looks scary. I promise, it's even scarier in person, however this is the most effective way I have found to clean house with the toys so to speak. Is to start by creating a large pile of junk somewhere in the house. Preferable a place with space and room to walk around and spread out. You get the toys in a pile and you get boxes to help with the sort. You also get a garbage bag and a box for donations.

Essentially after we create the pile I say:
Okay, go through and find all the books! And they do.
Then I say "Now look for all the Barbie things" And they do.
Common things we search for: stuffed animals, books, polly pockets, barbie dolls, Little Man's toys, kitchen things, things that should really be in their room, the blocks, the cars, etc ...

It works quite effectively actually because when they see how much they have of, oh say, barbies, we can decide to throw away all the mismatched shoes, half of the brushes, dolls that have been broken, clothes that have ripped. I found if we just do this randomly they argue to keep things more. This way it's all there, in front of them, easy for them to see that they do have 15 brushes might be a bit much and really they could live with about 5.

Trying to get them to part with things just here and there when I see it tends to cause them to say "No! You can't get rid of it! It's my favorite!" or I hear "It's the only one I have." or the ever-used "No! It's very special to me!" Now, I still hear that when we do it this way .. however I can say "No, it's not the only one you have. We just made a pile of 23." or I can say "Well, this other one was your favorite too. So look hard, which one is really your favorite?" or I can say "This, this is special to you? I haven't seen you play with it in months and it sat at the bottom of the box for a long time. Is it really special? If it is you can keep it, but maybe it's not as special as the ones you've already decided to keep" Usually that gets them to part with things with less whining.

And then when you are all done, you can step back and admire: The finished product! How nice does that look? We have have a few empty boxes, which is amazing as all boxes were over-flowing when we started and they brought down toys from their room that weren't in boxes. The only thing that is not shown or the books which were taken to the book case straight away.
[Although, I must admit, we are not fully done. The one box on the floor next to the blue finger puppet stage, actually has the last bits we need to sort through. However, they did such a good job and Little Man was starting to make it hard, that when I saw how little was left, we put it into a box and will sort through it tomorrow and hopefully with daddy home, Little Man can be taken to another room!]

The bins with their items

And here, is our donation pile. That's a lot of toys we decided to part with today. We also had one bag of garbage, broken toys, or toys that were not in any condition to be donated!

And there is my toy sort. And it feels good to get it done. I have found homes for about half of it so far. Dh and I will be looking at other furniture soon and hopefully will buy a nice home for the rest of it! Most of them came from the basement area I am working on, and doing this goes a long way to helping me get the basement organized!

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