How is it that little people can accumulate a staggering amount of stuff, and not just little things? While there are a lot of items for this list, I’m choosing the top 5 that I see in my clients’ homes most frequently.
This week’s list:
1. Plush Toys: Does this sound familiar? The overflowing bin of forgotten stuffed animals and beds piled high with plush toys so it’s a pain to change sheets. Don’t forget about the webkinz, beanie babies, and pillow pets all gathering dust in the back closet. Yes, it can be difficult to get rid of these guys–so many memories–but the truth is that they can take up a lot of real estate in a home. Keep a few special ones unless your child plays with them all the time. I must admit, these are especially sentimental for my own kids and my husband likes to torture me by winning those massive (and highly flammable) plush toys when we go to the Fryeburg Fair every year. We really do have a 4 foot tall “Reggae Banana” that is stuffed into a closet (it’s 3 against 1 over here on this giant + fuzzy styrofoam-filled environmental disaster).
2. Plastic thingamajigs: Sigh, another birthday goodie bag loaded with plastic, treats from the dentist’s “treasure chest,” and all those cheap Tchotchkes that make their way into your home even if you do not want any of them. There are a lot of reasons out there why this plastic crap is so bad. It’s often the smallest little things that compound the clutter so pretend your child’s room is a garden and make sure to weed often (and ideally, with them helping you out!).
3. Missing puzzle + toy pieces: Whether it’s the Caillou puzzle or the little figurines from CLUE, it’s a good time to get rid of games and puzzles with lots of missing pieces. Keep a box for all the missing pieces in your home in case they are hidden elsewhere–but if you don’t find them, then it’s time for them to go. If you really are having a hard time with this one, here are some DIY ideas for those forlorn pieces.
4. Broken stuff: This goes for non-functional markers + pens, broken crayons (you can give your crayons a new life this way), ripped paper projects (recycle), and those items that are never ever going to get fixed…really. If you’re a gung-ho DIYer and have a hard time throwing out your broken stuff, then this is the link for you.
5. Artwork: Another blog post on this coming this Friday (with detailed “how to” instructions), but this one is a biggie. Depending on your child’s age, you may have paperwork marching into your home on a daily basis. Keep your favorite ones, take digital photos before you toss the “tier 2” ones out, use artwork for wrapping paper or make a gallery wall for displaying the most current pieces. And please do not feel guilty about recycling your child’s artwork… just don’t get busted!