Friday, October 8, 2010

The War on Toys

I am frustrated.

I am frustrated by my messy house.  It's not that I don't clean.  I clean up a lot of messes.  Every day.  I clean up messes that I've already cleaned and then clean it up again.

Today each one of Joey's toys was out of place.  Every block, every tea cup, every piece of Mr. Potato Head.  Toys were scattered throughout my house and yard.  And it wasn't just toys that were all over the place.  I was finding kitchen utensils in the beds.  Dirt in the bed.  Birdseed in the bed.  Books and movies all over the living room floor.  Outside toys knocked over.  And to top it off, Joey was having a "naked day" and would not sit on the potty.  Today's mess was not the kind that you can pick up in a few minutes.  This girl can trash a house quicker than a frat party.

It sounds like I should probably do a better job of entertaining my two-year-old.

Instead I instituted a war on toys.

Months ago, in an effort to be more organized, I bought several clear plastic bins for Joey's toy shelves.  I sorted her toys by type and then half went into the closet.  Every few weeks I would rotate her toys out.  Kids don't tend to miss their toys when they're out of sight, and the toys seem new again when they're put back into the rotation.  But after a while she caught on to my ruse and wanted all of her toys to be accessible all the time.  So today when Joey emptied each and every bin onto the floor, I was compelled to reorganize.  Half of her toys are again neatly organized in the closet. 

While I was sorting through the toys I had a trash bag know, for all of those "crap" toys.  I took no prisoners.  I threw away (recycled, thank you) old plastic bottles that Joey liked to play with in the bathtub.  I tossed Happy Meal toys.  Paint swatches.  Bubble wrap (where did that even come from?).  Broken toys.  A broken-beyond-repair book.  Why did we still have these things?  I got rid of all of the non-toys, such as spent paper towel rolls and Mardi Gras beads (strangulation hazard?).  I felt so wasteful for throwing so much in the trash, but it was junk!   

I should make it clear that I don't think there's anything wrong with kids playing with empty cardboard boxes or peanut butter jar lids.  Non-toys are great for fostering a child's imagination.  But once the kid is done with it, throw it out.  Do not put it in the toy box.  It's lost it's luster.

My house is half-way clean now.  I'm sure that it will be back to normal by tomorrow.

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