It’s that time of year. The time of year for making room for new toys. And by ‘making room for new toys’, I mean throwing old toys in the trash while my kids are sleeping while stifling my ghoulish laughter.
The situation is pretty basic. I hate clutter, and while I tolerate a little toy clutter year round, when I know that a mass onslaught of new toys is coming in a week and a half from santa and relatives, it’s time to make some room by going through the existing toys and putting together a donation/consignment pile. This will leave spaces in bins and toy boxes just right for new loot and I will be thrilled to find that all the new stuff has a place in which to live.
For those of you who are new to this sneaky practice, I put together some Grinch-style guidelines for being effective when ‘making room for new toys’:
#1 Don’t Get Caught
“The Grinch had been caught by this tiny Who daughter, Who’d got out of bed for a cup of cold water.”
This one is simple. Don’t select toys for removal until you know your child(ren) are not nearby and won’t be for some time. I prefer nap time, but choose a time that works best for you and stay one step ahead or they WILL catch you and your plans will be foiled. Once you select toys for removal, move them out of sight where your children will not find them or you can be sure that the flapping vampire happy meal toy from a movie your child never saw will become their new favorite lovey and you will not be allowed to dispose of it until they are 27.
#2 Make Quick Decisions When Selecting Toys For Elimination
“He cleaned out that icebox as quick as a flash. Why, that Grinch even took their last can of Who-hash!”
When you are sifting through toys to eliminate, be quick. Think of whether your kids have played with the item in question in recent memory. If you find yourself answering that question in your head with ‘no, but maybe when they get older’ or ‘no, but it is such a nice toy, they might want it someday’, chances are it needs to go!
#3 Distract and Lie As Needed
“Why, my sweet little tot,” the fake Santy Claus lied, “There’s a light on this tree that won’t light on one side.”
There are a couple things to note here. First, use distraction to your advantage. As you are going through the toys, you will likely find some long buried treasures that you know your kids will enjoy reuniting with. Put these out in plain site for your kids to see the next time they enter that space. These will distract from any missing junk that they don’t care about but may notice with their keen sense of detail, which is absent in tasks like wiping their own bottom, but will rear its ugly head here, where it is least wanted. Second, if Cindy Lou catches you in the act of toy elimination, lie. When asked ‘where is [insert never-been-touched toy name here]?’, simply say “I don’t know” and change the subject. When she asks what the bag of toys in the mud-room is for (shame on you, you for not obeying rule #1 Don’t Get Caught), use one of these handy excuses: “I am going to clean them”, “I am rearranging and just set them aside until I can find a place to put them” or my favorite, the ever-vague “Oh I’m just working on something — is it snack time?”.
#4 Remove Them ASAP
“Three thousand feet up! Up the side of Mt. Crumpit, He rode with his load to the tiptop to dump it!”
Once collected, get the toys out of the house as soon as possible! Putting them in garbage bags in the back of a vehicle is a favorite plan of mine to buy some time, but plan according to your particular circumstance. Whether you are giving them to friends or relatives who could use them, seeing if your dr’s office wants some puzzles or other toys for their waiting room, taking them to Good Will or consigning them, get. them. out. of. the. house.
Most kids are pretty much ‘out of sight, out of mind’ when it comes to toys they are not used to playing with and you won’t hear much about them other than perhaps a fleeting question here or there about Mrs. Potato Head’s broken purse or the three-legged toy horse. When the new toys start rolling in from the holiday haul, you will be so glad you got rid of the unused stuff, that you and your kids probably won’t even be able to name 3 of the missing items within a week.
I will be carrying out this Grinchy little practice this week (it is an every 3 months or so chore for me) and turning my ‘Stink, Stank, Stunk’ into Room for New Junk just in time for Christmas!