It happens to everyone who has children. One day you look around to realize that the toys have overtaken your house. As you step on a minuscule piece of Strawberry Shortcake’s Berry Café Playset, you can't even remember the last time your daughter played with the set. You wonder how this little plastic piece ended up embedded in your foot, when the other 150 pieces have long been MIA.
You dread the next birthday or Christmas, when the mess of toys and their thousands of pieces that inevitably get lost and distributed around the house will compound and grow like some kind of mutant beast.
It’s time to take action. It’s time to purge the toy collection.
BEFORE YOU BEGIN
One thing you’re going to have to decide before you delve into the project of purging is whether or not your child is going to help you.
Purging toys can be a valuable lesson for kids. They learn about letting go of things they don’t really need or want. They also learn about keeping a tidy room and having a specific place to put each toy or book. If you will be donating some of the toys, it’s a great way to train them in giving to others in need. Allowing your children to help you with this project can be a rewarding experience for your both.
It can also be a total nightmare. If your child’s nature is on the emotionally nostalgic side, it may too difficult to get her to part with her things, even if she hasn’t touched them in 2 years. If your child is too young to understand sharing or giving to others, it may be a better idea to handle the project when he is not around, and chances are he will never notice anything missing.
Whether or not your child participates in the purging process is your call, and should be based on your own knowledge of your child’s emotional nature, maturity and the likelihood of finishing the purge only to find that everything in the “discard” pile has mysteriously migrated back into the “keep” pile.
This project typically takes a good chunk of time and space, so be prepared. Attempting to tackle it for a few minutes here or there is rarely effective. More than likely, you will need to carve out a few hours during which you can have a room to yourself with as few distractions as possible. If your children are not participating in the project, try to have them out of the house. It will not help your progress to have them running through the room rearranging all your piles.