Lately, I have gotten Hulk Smashy a lot more frequently than I have in the past year or so and quite frankly, it’s because my house is a disaster. There are toys, with teeny tiny parts, all over the floor, in every room, and in every place.
I don’t even know how it happens.
I swear I constantly throw away toys and yet, WE KEEP GETTING MORE. And apparently, the only place to put them is ON THE FLOOR.
Just when I think I’m getting a grip on all our crap and stuff and have finally cleared out spaces in my house so it looks tidy and if not clean, at least neat, we have a birthday or a family visit or SOMETHING and BOOM! My house is exploding at the gills again.
Do houses have gills? That seems weird.
The front room looks like a craft store vomited a thousand bits of construction paper. (Boooooo on my kids being obsessed with cutting and gluing lately – I mean, ummmm… yay on creativity and non-screen time?)
Why do my children seem incapable of putting their crayons/markers/stickers/glue sticks/scissors in their rightful containers and instead, THROW THEM ON THE FLOOR?
WHY DOES GLOW WORM (4) CEASELESSLY TURN THEIR CHAIRS UPSIDE DOWN SO THEIR DANGEROUS CHAIR LEGS CAN BE HANDY SPIKES OF DEATH?
I have all these questions and no satisfactory answers.
I have tried culling and getting rid of markers and crayons and stickers but again, THEY MULTIPLY. Is there some type of asexual fission going on that I don’t know about?
And now, Glow Worm, bless his heart, is obsessed with all my expensive Taiwanese logic games and he takes them out and plays with them (not in their actual usage but I guess I should just be happy that someone is playing with them) but then he LEAVES THEM OUT SO ALL THEIR EXPENSIVE PIECES GO MISSING.
Ok, I get that he is four. And I do make them clean up after themselves. But quite frankly, we have too many toys. TOO MANY.
OMG SO MANY.
Clearly, the only solution is an Angry Toy Purge. In fact, the solution is multiple Angry Toy Purges.
And because I’m a giver and because I both hope that I am not alone but wouldn’t wish this verklempt on anyone, I have conjured up the instructions so that you, too, can have your very own Angry Toy Purge.
1) Become enraged at the thought of your home.
When the sight of your house in its current state makes you long for lighter fluid and a match because dealing with arson investigations, insurance, and possible prison time is preferable to being in your house right now, you have reached the point where an Angry Toy Purge is in your near future.
2) Emit an odd combination of strangled sputters of fury and unleashed bellows of cursing.
Indiscriminate throwing or kicking of toys is a bonus. Background weeping and cowering from your children is also possible.
3) Get several giant garbage bags. Start filling them.
One is for straight up throwing away shit. Because OF COURSE there are calcified fries in the DUPLOS box. Are there toys that are cracked and broken and missing pieces and cannot be salvaged?
Throw them away.
No, seriously. No one else wants that garbage either (and it is garbage).
You will be amazed at how with each damnable item you throw away, your shoulders will feel lighter and that clenchy feeling in your under parts (and not the happy clenchy feelings in your under parts) starts to lessen.
4) Give away all toys or books that make you angry.
I posted about this at length last year, but in short, any toy that makes you mad, GET RID OF IT.
I don’t care if your child weeps and gnashes their teeth. GET RID OF IT.
Okokokokok… perhaps don’t toss your kid’s favorite toy, but it really has to be an actual favorite. Like, there will be untold trauma and therapy bills in the future if you throw away their lovey.
Don’t throw away their lovey.
But, if your house is full of tertiary, quaternary, quinary, or even senary toys, PUT THEM IN THE DONATE BAG. (I am just super pleased to use quaternary in a sentence.)
GET THAT SHIT OUT OF YOUR LIFE. OUT OF YOUR HOUSE. OUT OF YOUR ZIP CODE.
Chances are, your kids may put up a brief protest because hey, they haven’t seen that toy in awhile. But after repeated cullings, your kids will wise up and gladly, nay, joyfully, throw their lesser liked toys in the sacrificial pyre as an offering to appease the Angry Toy Purge gods.
5) Give away (or sell) all toys, clothes, books your children have outgrown or no longer play with.
This is admittedly a little bit harder. After all, what if you’re not done having kids? Or what if you have kids in multiple age ranges?
Or what if your kids don’t play with these toys because you have too many other toys and they forgot about these toys?
By all means, don’t donate the high chair if you’re still using it. Or the bouncer. Or whatever it is that is useful and needful.
However, be honest.
I have about eleventy-million teething rings that not a single one of my four children played with. I am only just now, giving them away. I also have rattles, baby toys, crinkly toys, stacking toys, and who knows what else that somehow survived my previous Angry Toy Purges. I can only surmise that they are still here because we ran out of garbage bags the last few go-rounds or that they were buried somewhere and only recently unearthed.
I also felt guilty about purging toys my oldest played with all the time that my third child rarely played with because he leveled up to what the older kids were playing with and that my youngest child will NEVER get to play with because I am selling it as I type.
Case in point, after years of debate, I am finally letting go of our train set. I have spent close to $900 over the first few years of Cookie Monster’s (~8) life collecting trains, tracks, and special pieces. I got most of them used and second hand so I can’t even fathom how much this would have cost if I got them new. (The $900 includes a ride-on train and train table, too.)
The only thing that pains me is that I’m selling them at a deep discount because my children ruin everything and have broken things and played HARD. Also, I want them to exit my house with great expediency.
Is it an end of an era? Yes? But truthfully, these train tracks have been sitting unused for at least 3-4 years. Wouldn’t it be better to free up the space and let other kids enjoy these toys? Haven’t we learned anything from Toy Story 3?
Again, be honest with yourself.
Are you actually going to sell this? If so, TAKE A PICTURE NOW AS YOU ARE PURGING AND LIST IT.
Otherwise, you are just delaying the inevitable and lying to yourself. Get it out of your house.
6) Include your children in the process.
First, to have them feel as if they have agency and choice in which toys will be among the soon departed. This way, you take into account their feelings (OMG WHY DO THEY HAVE SO MANY FEELINGS?) and spare the toys they love (and they’re ever so grateful so MILK THAT).
Plus, you might be surprised by the toys they are willing to forego.
This year, over the course of many purges, Gamera (6) and Glow Worm (4) told me they no longer wanted any princesses, dolls, dollhouses, or My Little Ponies. Gamera came to this conclusion earlier, but she allowed for Glow Worm to keep them because he wanted to play with the dolls. He has since moved on.
Second, I involve them because THEY MUST EXPERIENCE PAIN.
Yes, I am a petty, petty person.
I don’t know WHY I am such an asshole, just that I am. But whatever the reason, I want them to experience some loss and super minor suffering.
Granted, they are practically immune to the pain because we have so many toys that they really aren’t giving up anything precious to them.
So, you see. I have not only built up their resilience, but I have inured them to future hoarding. #parentinggoals
7) Remove these items from your house ASAP.
Throw your bags away. Take your bags to the thrift store. Put it on the curb for those curbside charities. Drop them off at your unsuspecting friends’ doorsteps. (NO! Don’t do this unless it would bring them joy. Otherwise, you’re just spreading the anger. Don’t do that!)
8) Somehow, magically accumulate more shit you don’t need until you explode once more.
It’s inevitable. It makes me sad, but it’s true. I mean, I still have Christmas presents from at least 2-3 years ago that I still haven’t given my kids. This is in addition to the toys I already bought my kids for Christmas.
It’s a vicious cycle.
The only way to truly break it is to not buy any more things. But until I commit to that, Angry Toy Purge will have to do.
Now, go! Angry Toy Purge away and come back to post before/after pics and tell me all about it.