11 May 2011



I like to purge.  But my kids do not.  I mean Really. Do. Not.  They keep things I would absolutely categorize as


It drives me insane.  I have this nice calm house, peaceful, tidy.  

And then I catch a glimpse of my boys' room.  How are they even related to me?

My oldest is really The One with the difficulties.  The younger one just rides the bandwagon.  But the oldest really has a hard time parting with stuff.  

We recently discussed how if you sell some of your things, you make money and room for new things.  He was all about it, and walked around and around and around looking for something to sell.  But he is so attached to his things that it ended in tears.  

Don't think I was forcing him to sell stuff.  I wasn't.  He wanted to, but he couldn't bear to part with anything.

I understand to a point - we move around so much I'm sure he wants as much comfort and stability as possible.  I try really hard to give him his space and his stuff.

But we only have so much space, so sometimes I have to take action.  Here's what I do:

Their room is their own space.  They can keep what they want in there.  I do occasionally go through it looking for trash (no food or gross stuff allowed in there...the trash is almost always paper or cardboard discarded from some creative project), but most of the time I leave it alone.  They are expected to clear the floor when I ask them to, and they must find places for their things.  If they can't find space, then we talk and work out a solution, but so far this rarely happens.  They do have a play area with community toys, which their sister also has access to.  But theoretically, the stuff in their room is special or too small for her to play with and so stays out of her reach.  Although this is becoming increasingly difficult as she can now open doors...

Toys left downstairs after bed will be confiscated.  They are pretty good about this rule, so really only cheap freebies are the ones left out, and I am happy to throw those away.

If we really get overflowing, or if I notice games or toys that have been neglected for a while (or outgrown), they get moved to a hidden place in the guest room.  I keep them hidden for a month or two. If, in that time, one of the boys asks for a specific toy, I magically find it, and it goes back into rotation.  If it doesn't get mentioned, it gets donated.

Does this sound cruel?  Bear in mind that the kids get toys as gifts at least twice a year for birthday and Christmas.  Add into that the fact that the boys are very close in age, so any gift received usually gets shared between them, and we have a steady stream of new toys and games coming into the house.  They buy their own as well, so almost always whatever toy or game I donate is never missed.  

As for the toddler, I just rotate toys between the small box in her room, the small box in the playroom, and the two small boxes downstairs.  I pull out anything she's outgrown whenever I do the rotation.  Every time I do it, she looks through the box as if it's all new.

As I weed out the neglected toys, I am slowly introducing the concept of donation or selling things we no longer need.  The concept is clear, but the practice is still difficult.  We're working on it.  But for now, this system works, so we'll stick with it.

I would like to add one last note, mainly for my dear sweet husband.  I do not ever go through his things, ever.  I'm still being blamed for a t-shirt mishap 10+ years ago, so I don't want to run the risk of being framed for a crime of purging when something shouldn't be purged.  Love you!

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