8:24 am , by
Category: setting up a budget
Our two little boys have tons of toys that were mostly given to them by friends and relatives. Sure, we have bought them toys, too, but I would estimate that our contribution to their stash is less than a quarter of the total.
Over the past couple of months almost all their toys have ended up in the family room. When you consider the cleaning skills of a 4 and a 3-year old, I am sure you can imagine the mess we had to wade through in the family room.
This past weekend my wife and I decided to clean up. First we added to the mess on the floor by dumping all other toys kept in boxes or in their rooms on the floor. What a mess that was. We wanted to make four piles. (1) Toys or things we needed to throw out. (2) Toys we could give to the day-care center. (3) (Two piles of) toys we wanted to keep, one pile for each kid.
When we first started cleaning we looked at the mess in total shock and did not know where to start. But we just got to it by sorting out one item after another. We tested battery operated toys and replaced batteries, collected together toy pieces that somehow became separated and assembled disassembled toys, counted stacks of cards and game pieces to see if they were complete, etc. In short, we slowly but surely cleaned up the mess.
What an accomplishment! Let me list the benefits of this exercise.
1. We cleaned up the family room. – Makes mom and dad happy. After all, it is a family room, not just a play room, and we grown ups are part of the family.
2. We gave away toys that are no longer age appropriate for our kids. – Makes lots of kids happy.
3. We got rid of broken toys that just cluttered our space. – Makes mom, dad, and the boys happy.
4. We gave our boys tons of “new” toys that they did not know they had. These are toys that had gotten lost in their own mess and couldn’t be played with because they were incomplete or inacessible. – Makes the boys happy.
Next up, cleaning up our junk drawers in the kitchen. There, we have useful stuff that has been buried under tons of non-so-useful stuff. I am sure that we will end up with lots of “new” stuff again.
Where in your house do you think you can get new stuff “for free”?
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