Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Project: Simplify -- Week Three -- Kids Clothes and Toys

I am really showing off my procrastination skills with this project... REALLY. Not meaning to. We're in the middle of another round of being woken up every. single. night. by a little person who comes crawling into our bed from a bad dream, a full bladder, just waking up, something undertermined,... and likes to snuggle up right next to me and proceed to elbow me in the face or knee me in the back until the alarm goes off and it's time to get up and go to work. So, I'm tired. I'm really tired. And, I'm spending my time on the things I have to get done before the morning comes, rather than these fun little projects!

I am still working on J's closet (slowly and sneakily, though he did willingly hand over a stack of older-than-us t-shirts--score!). And, the boxes of paper are still waiting for me next to the new DVR that I am having way too much fun with...

Week Three was actually last week. Oops, again. The thing about the project is, I go through Anastasia's clothes on a fairly regular basis and always find something to donate or pass along to a cousin or friend. So, I'm not really feeling the need to do that. I have, in the last few months, come up with a system that allows her to pick out her own clothes for school without my having to really get involved and make trades in the middle of the night. We still have her changing table/dresser in her closet and the dresser that is part of her bedroom set is out in the bedroom. The dresser in the room contains clothes that she can wear to school, i.e. no logos, sparkly distracting things, etc. This requires a bit of help on my part when it is time to fold clothes and put things away, but it definitely helps in that she can pull anything out and have an outfit that will meet the dress code. Weekend clothes go in the closet dresser, i.e. logos (particularly those of a certain Kitty that all the little girls seem to love), sports teams (Go Bears!), sparkly flashy stuff, clothes with writing on it, etc. If you ever have to battle your child when it comes time to get dressed for school, I would highly recommend trying this system--I love it!

Now, the toys part of this project... Well, that is a different animal. I can't exactly go in and just do that myself... Or, can I?! There are many things that I haven't seen in quite a while, and she hasn't either, and I'm wondering if I remove those things from her room, if she'll ever even notice they're gone? Have you ever done this before? I have with one thing at a time, but this could very well be the entire closet floor, or the entire contents of the toy chest that she recently forgot even existed. Hmm... Thinking about it. Because, otherwise, this will require working with an exhausted girl (see note on our recent sleeping troubles above) to say goodbye to toys... She has her favorite things she likes to do, and is it really necessary to hold on to things that she only plays with when I say it is time to give the things away?


  1. Oh Tavia!! Honey, as the MOM, you HAVE to sort the toys yourself and purge without A. This is not a decision to be left to the child, because in their limited time frame reference, they can't see that the future holds greater, more marvelous toys and experiences.

    What I did (uh, still do upon occasion with the boys, mostly to find all the half eaten sandwiches hidden in odd places) is send the kids off on an all day adventure with Dad and get down to business. Go into each room with two LARGE garbage bags, one for throw away and one for give away. I would sort through all the toys and games - anything broken or worn beyond saftey went into throwaway. (There's no market for broken toys. Sad but true.) Everything outgrown, either physically or mentallly, went into the give away. Mentally outgrown? Yes. Toys have short life spans as our children grow up so quickly! Baby toys, duplo blocks, toy kitchens, doll houses, books, art supplies, lincoln logs, blocks...our kids outgrew them and I gave them all away - blessed someone else with them. The general rule I used was if the kids hadn't touched or played with something for more than six months, it was out of house, because something else had already come into the house to capture the kids' attention!

    After the purging - and this is a very important step - you must take everything away from the house before the children come home. So yes, your Fling Boogie day needs some planning. Where to take the toys? Our larger play set sort of stuff, like the kitchen, train sets, doll houses, lincoln logs, duplo, etc., our school and church were delighted to have them for the preschool and kindergarten class rooms. I was so happy to see them go to homes where they were well loved. Books went to the Half Price Books Children's Library and to Cook Children's Hospital library (again, places where books are well loved and they are always looking for replacements!). Other toys went to younger cousins and friends, and all the leftovers went to Goodwill.

    I think it was more sad for me to say goodby to the toys that it was for the kids. They hardly noticed. I, however, realized that my babies were no longer babies, that they were toddlers, then tweens, then teens and now adults. I also recognized that our house has limits, and as the kids got bigger, they needed more space so the "stuff" had to go. Just remember, the toys and books are just things that only have meaning because your child once held them in her tiny hands. You get to KEEP the child and make new memories!

  2. I am torn. I have gone into Willie's room, and "hid" old toys in a black garbage bag to await AMVETS pick up. But, I have also sat with him (for a short chunk of time) and sorted through a pile of toys/books, asking the question, "Do you love this, AND play with it...OR should we give it to {insert name, or a little boy who doesn't have any toys to play with}? He most often was ready to share things with others, when I likely would have kept them for my own sentimental reasons. Then, I know he won't be caught off guard IF the day comes that he happens to be looking for a particular toy that was long gone.

    It worked best when he knew who the toys were going to - i.e. a younger family friend. But, I think toddlers are still sensitive to the needs of other kids, and I think Anastasia would be happy to share in the wealth of toys that she is lucky to have received.