Little kids like to make messes. It’s fun for them. I have discovered that children don’t know what decluttering or organization mean. I don’t like messes. It throws off my zen and moves me towards the Dark Side. When I notice how messy an area is, I can’t unnotice this fact. Consequently, a few times a week, I become a cleaning tornado where I take 10-15 minutes to pick up random Cheerios, throw away junk mail, pick up toys, and put away clothes. Afterwards, I look around and say “This is good,” and my OCD self is again at peace. I’m not sure if Mrs. COD finds this humorous or disturbing. Both? I’m afraid to ask.
This is my problem to solve, not my kids’. Admitting I have a problem is the first step. Some organization keeps me from going crazy or at least as crazy. Me not feeling crazy = better parent. So what default have we changed to limit the problem? A couple things. Kids don’t need access to every toy in the house at all times. This doesn’t mean you don’t love your kids or you’re a bad parent. We Limit Maximum Disaster Potential (LMDP), perform strategic rotations, and other toys are primarily on a request access basis.
Limit Maximum Disaster Potential (LMDP)
We learned to LMDP by not having all toys available at all times, especially blocks, colors, or any other items where there are dozens or hundreds of pieces to pick up.
Some donated toys from family and friends have remained securely packed away in our basement. We have given the boys some of these toys for birthday and Christmas presents. Of course, we wrap them up and they still get a boatload of new gifts from everyone despite our pleas. Then we rotate old items back to the basement for our youngest or donate them to a charity.
Not all toys are within toddler reach. Some loud annoying toys, colors, markers, toys with small pieces, pianos, etc. are out of sight, out of mind. There are safety concerns with some of these because of the baby. We also want him to learn to ask for things and not have instant access to everything. It also works to Limit Maximum Disaster Potential.
How do you manage your toy landfills? How many toys are too many toys? What do you do with old toys?