Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Great Pre-Christmas Purge

“Toys have taken over my family room. I watch Mary Poppins, and no matter how many spoonfuls of sugar I eat, action figures won’t march into a bin with the snap of my fingers.” ― Barbara Brooke

Yes, it is possible to have too many toys, even with just one child and not-that-big of a toy budget.  I swear they multiply, somehow.  So every year before her birthday and before Christmas, there is a great purging of spare toys.  There are a few simple rules: if it came from McDonald's, it's out.  If it hasn't been played with in two months or so, it's out, unless a deeper level of attachment is apparent. If it's designed for a child much younger than herself, it's out.  If it makes a ton of noise and Daddy and I have secretly despised it for months, it's out.  If our lives would be immensely improved by its disappearance, it's out.

That sounds like we're carelessly getting rid of a lot of toys, but we know what she loves, what we love, and we would never get rid of those toys, even if they meet those guidelines.  We're looking at toys that are on the border, toys that are on their way out of favor.  And those guidelines help us decide one way or the other.

Some toys we give away, some we just put away on a trial basis, some we resell.  And we're not totally ruthless about it, otherwise we wouldn't need to do purges in the first place.  But it does mean there's a place to put those shiny, gleaming toys that will be under the Christmas tree in a few weeks.  I highly recommend doing regular toy purges, to prevent your children from accumulating too darn much stuff.

I try to thin out her bookshelves from time to time, too, but that process is much trickier.  Just because it's beneath her interest level right now doesn't mean it won't be right at her reading level once she starts reading in earnest.  So right now I just drop topical books we don't need anymore; books encouraging the letting go of pacifiers, for example, are not needed around here anymore.

But we do have a hard time getting rid of stuffed animals:

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