I don’t remember exactly why I did it.
I think I may have said, “Margaret, if you don’t clean up your toys, I’m taking them all away.” (I don’t like taking things away as punishment, but I apparently wasn’t too patient that day). She said to me, “Take them away!” Begrudgingly, I began to pick up every little thing. I wasn’t thrilled about cleaning up her mess, but I had to follow through. (Okay, to be fair, I didn’t take ALL of her toys away. She still had her blocks, coloring books, and a few little trinkets).
As I began picking up her toys, she didn’t seem to care. Then I found her on the floor in her room, sobbing, “Don’t take my gym shoes away!!” That kid. I said to her, “Margaret, your shoes aren’t a toy. I’m not going to take them.” She continued to fuss for a bit, terrified that I would take her precious gym shoes away. It was adorable. No really, it was pretty cute. Of all things—gym shoes.
When Margaret finally comprehended that I wasn’t going to take her shoes, she set them down and began handing me her toys to take away. Not putting her toys away— giving them to me so I could take them away. “Here, Mama, take this.” “Mama! You forgot this one!” What??
So this was…over a month ago. I had tossed the toys into a toy bin and put it in my husband’s and my bedroom. I figured after a few days Margaret and I would have a little chat and then I’d give the toys back. But she hasn’t asked for them. Every once in a while when she comes into our bedroom she’ll see something and ask for it, so we’ll give it to her. But other than that, she doesn’t care. She probably doesn’t even remember what’s in there. I certainly don’t.
So what have I learned from this?
Even though we had already purged a lot of her toys, Margaret still had more than she “needed” (wanted). It kind of makes me want to just toss that whole bin without looking at what’s in it. Her blocks and coloring books are plenty to keep her perfectly happy. (Just kidding, Jeremy!). I’ll be putting some of it back, but definitely not all.
It has been amazing to see how my daughter’s interests and her play have changed since we cleared out a lot of her stuff a few months back and recently when we chose to stop watching TV. She is more active during the day and is more engaged with her brother (1 year). Her favorite thing to do is play in his crib with him. And he adores her. I love hearing the shrieks and giggles coming from his room.
I encourage you to take some time to evaluate all the “stuff” in your house. Do your kids really need all those toys? Books? Clothes?
If you’re ready to clear out and clean up, check out my course “Clear Your Kids Clutter: How to Ditch the Mess in 3 Hours or Less.” This course will get you results crazy fast. Click here to check out the promo video. Even if you have no intention of buying the course, go watch the video. Margaret is in it and it’s pretty stinking cute.
What are your thoughts? Do your kids have too much stuff? What’s one action step you can take to eliminate some of the clutter in your household?