Alright, here I go, I’m Purging the Toys!. Anything that is clearly trash or broken and unfixable is going. I’m working section by section, a little every day. To aid my efforts, I set up a big bin to toss all the toys that were not put away when I found them. This way I didn’t have to stop and put them away myself, but while I work they are out of the way.
The first area to get purged was the books. My children love books and people love to give books to them. I can hardly object because I love books, too and have many, many shelves of them. But they’ve outgrown many of the books on their shelves and Bip the Baby is too young for them still. Those well-loved-but-outgrown books are going to get packed up for a few years. Already the shelves look better. The top three shelves in the playroom were actually my books. I straightened them up and was able to shift things around a bit and confine myself to the top two shelves.
Next I hit the puzzles and games. Most of the puzzles have been outgrown. That was easy. Again, the good ones (Lauri puzzles) will get packed away, the others will be given away.
Then the toy bins. These were mostly OK, with only a few items out of place. The toys here are probably their most used things. I just straightened them up a bit. I did have to take some time to go through Pumpkin Girl’s personal bin. She had a lot of stuff just thrown in there that really belonged somewhere else.
I also went through the dress up clothes. Again, lots of little things at the bottom of the box that don’t even belong in there. I moved the clothes into a larger, sturdier Rubbermaid box and I will have to have the children help me sort out what fits and what is too small before I am finished. I think I will get little bags for all of Pumpkin’s tiaras, another for her bead necklaces. That should help her find them easier.
The craft bins were next. They have one craft tote that holds pencils, crayons, rubber stamps and stamp pads. This is one item that actually works for them! They know how to use it, like using it and so I had nothing to fix. But we also have a small 4-drawer rolling cart that holds coloring books, paper, notepads, stickers and a stationery set. This needed a lot of purging! Most of the contents of the drawers were co-mingled. Part of the problem here is that the drawers are not labeled. I got everything all sorted out and purged. I even left them one drawer for any artwork they feel like keeping. It’s one of the smaller drawers, so by necessity we’ll have to empty it on a regular basis. Another drawer is for coloring books. We have a lot of coloring books. I kept all of them because I want the children’s help to purge them. Pumpkin Girl has a subscription to Hidden Puzzles and I found several books in there, completely untouched. I have canceled her subscription and will see if she notices. When and if she finishes up the puzzle books she already has, we can talk about starting the subscription back up.
Which brings me to another problem area: magazines. We have 5 years worth of Ladybug magazines and 2 years of Spider magazines!!! We all love these magazines and past issues are read over and over again. Throwing these away would be like throwing away favorite books. I thought and thought about this situation. What would be the worst thing that would happen if we threw these out? I think we’d all regret it very much. However, I have been noticing that lately Pumpkin Girl likes to read Boo’s Spider magazines. I checked the age range of Spider, and sure enough, she’s right there at the lower age. I checked the age for the level up after Spider, which is Cricket. Boo is 6 months shy of that age, but a very strong reader. It occurred to me to bump both children up one level, essentially canceling Ladybug, keeping Spider and adding Cricket. I don’t mind these magazines coming in the house one bit. I enjoy reading them to the children, even past issues. We will take our beloved Ladybug issues, repair them with packaging tape and save them for Bip. When he is ready for them, I think Pumpkin and Boo will be just as excited to share them with him as I will be. It’ll be like finding old friends! I discussed this with both children already, and Pumpkin’s only request was that she be allowed to pick out her favorite Ladybug issues and keep them. I thought was reasonable and agreed. They are both looking forward to being bumped up to the next level magazine.
The biggest culprit of toys not put away is Pumpkin Girl. I found a pile of toys that were stashed near her bed on the Day I Closed the Playroom. I told her to return them to the playroom, then put them away. Her idea of this was to stash them behind the baby cradle. This is a recurring problem for her, which is why her job is to clean their bedroom while Boo takes care of the playroom. She does understand how to put things away and is physically capable of doing it, so this is a character issue for her. We’ll be working on that, too.
This second bookshelf was hiding behind the cradle. It’s hard to see in the before pictures, but it was a prime area of dumped toys. It was overflowing with books, games and other junk. Keep in mind, this room is still a work in progress. My next challenge is to evaluate what this room needs to make it work. I hope to involve the children in this part as much as possible. They need the room to organized in a way that works for them. Which isn’t necessarily the way it would work for me. We’ll just see how it goes…