Can you smell it in the air? The holidays are coming! It’s time for baking, carols, shopping, and family gatherings. Also, a time for cleaning out those toys your kids insist they still need, but in reality forgot even existed.
Given our home’s modest size, I have no choice but to make an earnest effort to sift through and downsize the toy population. After all, jolly old St. Nick is about pay us a visit, and there will be gifts from family members. Now, I don’t want to sound ungrateful. I’m super thankful that both “Santa” and friends and family are able to provide these gifts for my kids. But they’ve grown up in the past year or two (or three or more years) since receiving some of these gifts. It’s time to make a change. They need it. I need it.
Thing is, I find this process brings on some feelings/emotions that can catch me off guard. Here are the six emotions of my annual toy purge:
Excitement: Leading up to the great toy purge, I look at the overflowing toy boxes and bins with contempt. Everything is disorganized. I’ve stepped on approximately 4263 Legos that weren’t stored properly. In short, I’m going bananas. With Christmas coming I finally have permission to do something about it without the kids flailing about with impending doom that I am taking away their precious race car that has been sitting untouched for months. Look, cleaning is usually not at the top of my list of fun things to do. But this is the one time of the year I am genuinely excited to clean and cut down on the clutter.
Bewilderment: As I start rifling through toys, I often wonder how some got broken or are missing parts. Were they poorly made? Are my kids really that rough with their belongings? Also, how is this puzzle missing FOUR pieces? How does that happen? Are there puzzle piece snatching gnomes stealing them? If so, do they hang out with the sock gnomes that are clearly pilfering one sock out of every pair that goes through the dryer?
Frustration: Oh, yes, we meet again hot new toy from 2 Christmases ago that I thought my son would love. The one for which I, and 20 of my closest friends/family members, fervently searched. When I finally got my hands on it, I felt as though I was on top of the world. That was until he only played with it for a week. We’ve barely seen it since.
Sadness: Without fail each year I’ll dig to the bottom of toy storage and I’ll pull out an old favorite toy of one of my boys. Soon I’m replaying memories of when my precious little one would constantly carry that soft sided, now chewed up book with him. For the longest time, we event tucked him into bed with it. He’s long forgotten about it, and I almost did too. Who knew a toy purge could also be a walk down memory lane? Cue the tears – the ugly kind of tears.
Accomplishment: At this stage I am feeling pretty good about myself. I’ve joyfully organized the toys to the sounds of my favorite Christmas carols. We’ve set aside outgrown items for donation and rid ourselves of the broken/incomplete ones. The bonus? My kids are so caught up in all the holiday excitement (likely looking for that damn elf) that they hardly notice the absence of some of their toys.
Trepidation: You thought I was done with “accomplishment” right? Nope. Now I can’t help but think that in a few short weeks the toy box will once again not close properly and my living room will be littered with toys. But as I look at the chaos and clutter I’ll be sure to remind myself that Christmas comes just once a year. This season of their lives will pass by before I know it.
So come at me clutter-inducing toys, the joy you bring my children is worth it. We can be friends for now. At least until next December….