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2009/06/25 / AoM

Detox Day One



I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: we have too. many. toys.  People are generous, and my family is truly blessed [spoiled].  We are overwhelmed by the sheer volume of Stuff.   Our playroom looks like Toys-R-Us exploded in it.   It’s a case of Toy Saturation.  When a kid has 50,000 options they have no idea what to do.  I’ve seen them spin in circles of confusion, trying to figure out what to play with.  I’ve also seen, way too often, every single toy being chucked into all corners of the house.  Nothing’s being cared for and, really, nothing’s being appreciated. 

From frustration comes radical parenting.  Last night we packed up every single toy basket and locked them in our walk-in closet.  Today, the kids have their books and special stuffed animal friends, some balls, and their art kits.  That’s it.




Looks a little empty, doesn’t it?   How about some tumbleweed gently drifting through the playroom?  and maybe a little of this too.

Over the course of the Great Toy Detox, here’s what we packed away:

  • Littlest Pet Shop animals complete with all the little bitty accessories
  • “Speed Cars” [a.k.a. Disney/Pixar “Cars” movie characters]
  • Rescue Heroes guys and accessories
  • Legos
  • Magneatos
  • A basket full of dinosaurs
  • Star Wars guys
  • Another basket of dominoes, matching games, and card games
  • Dollhouse full of furniture and dolls
  • Four Barbies and their wardrobes
  • Play food and cooking gear
  • A toy doctor kit, toy camera and Viewmaster
  • A basket full of baby doll gear

That doesn’t even cover the other stuff I’ve had stashed in the closet since the big move:

  • Tool bench and tools
  • Lincoln Logs
  • Giant Lego blocks
  • A box of other assorted toy vehicles
  • and probably a lot more crap I can’t think of right now

And I’m obsessed with organizing and ‘weeding out’ stuff!   

I’m laughing to myself now, but I’m sure at some point today we’ll all be getting the shakes.  An entire day without Fisher Price?  Whatever shall we do?!   I expect quite a bit of whining and crying today.  And I’m sure the kids will be unhappy too.   But somehow, some way, we have to wean ourselves off all this STUFF.  

I’m tired of things being mistreated, manhandled, lost and broken.  I’m tired of my kids being overwhelmed.   How did things get to this point?!  

Enough is enough.  The toys are going away for a little while.  We’ve got reams of paper and pounds of crayons, markers, and glue. We’ve got a backyard with sandbox and water table, a pool a block away, and a summer of hot sunny weather ahead.   The last time I counted we had something like 100 children’s books [while I might bitch about the toys, I believe you cannot have too many books].   We shall survive.

I don’t know how long this experiment will last, or who will fall off the wagon first.  I don’t know if taking a break from our stuff overload will earn me another nomination for Worst Mother in the World, or if it will be the best thing that’s happened to us.  What I do know is this:  my kids can’t learn to appreciate anything if it’s just handed to them in profusion.  They can’t develop great imaginations and expand their minds surrounded by masses of over-commercialized plastic crap.  And I can’t spend another hour picking up 100 little pieces of something I would just as soon toss in the trash.

And maybe – just maybe – without the mountains of stuff the kids will have less to fight over and more reasons to cooperate with each other.  Maybe we’ll find more time to chat with each other.  More space to create.  More opportunities to read a book together.   Maybe, with a little empty space, we will have room to grow.



Leave a Comment
  1. Jessica / Jun 25 2009 09:40

    You are the BOMB!!!! Please, please, please move into my house. I have wall to wall clutter and sadly, it’s the husband, not the kids. With that being said, I’m stuck with it even after we are empty nesters. Problem is, it will never be compelety empty. I try to weed out and every time, I mean every. single. time. I toss something, he “needs”it. I think he has clutter radar or something.

    I love your parenting style. Too many parents out there, myself included, don’t reinforce reading and the value of the imagination. You, my friend, are a rare bird; a diamond in the rough!!!

  2. smalvarado / Jun 25 2009 09:54

    I am lobbying for the return of the T-rex.

  3. smalvarado / Jun 25 2009 09:54

    …and something for it to fight.

  4. Kelly / Jun 25 2009 18:51

    I love it! Bravo!

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