Home » Crammed In Like Sardines: Just One More Thing I Thought I Would NEVER Do. . .

Crammed In Like Sardines: Just One More Thing I Thought I Would NEVER Do. . .

Having children is a humbling experience.  And I’m not just referring to the part where you actually have the child and no fewer than 15 doctors and residents are fishing around inside of you for two days straight like they are inseminating a cow. . .

I’ve mentioned it before, but because I’m always amazed and humbled by the experience, here’s another example of things I thought or said I would never do. . .but have since Mac popped out.

Delusional Quote #24 – “My House Is NOT Going to Look Like a Toys R Us After a Tornado.  Kids Don’t Need That Many Toys and They Should Be Kept in A Bedroom, Playroom, or Family Room.”

Ok. . .In theory part of this statement isn’t completely delusional.  I still firmly believe children do not need that many toys.  And Mac really doesn’t have that much stuff.

One thing I’m noticing is the actual lack of control I have over his toys.  I’ve been able to keep the grandparents from going bonkers on big-ticket plastic monstrosities that could over-run our small home in one fell swoop.

Still, the adorable kid junk creeps into the house in the most well-intentioned ways:  party favors, little presents from the neighbors, a plastic Easter Egg that the kid seems to be obsessed with at times. . .

Most of the items are small and resemble dog toys, so it MUST be contained.  So far, I’ve been having great luck amassing the stuff in baskets.  When Mac gets bored with one basket, I offer another. This has been working well – so far.

The other problem with all this shit is clearly where to PUT IT.  I began by keeping it all tidy on a large book-case we purchased for his bedroom.  However, as he approached 6 months I began to realize this wasn’t going to be a long-term solution because DUH his bedroom isn’t near my kitchen or laundry room – which is where I spend the majority of my pathetic and desperate days.

At first I was stubborn and every morning, I dutifully drug toys from the nursery to the kitchen and living room for him to play with.  And every evening before dinner, I put all the junk away.

At some point laziness set in and I began leaving a few books and toys in the living room in a large basket.  Predictably, Satan’s Lap hound had a lapse in judgment one afternoon while we were out and laid waste to several wooden toys.  The toys were forced to flee again.

This time, I decided I would dedicate a small shelf we already had which fit perfectly beside the fridge for the items.  I’m so clever I thought to myself.  Yes, the shelf was ugly, but I figured I’d sew a cover for it.

The shelf performed beautifully for about 3 months.  Of course I never got around to sewing that cover for it, but still, the items were easy to put away and easy for Mac to access.  I was also enjoying watching him play on his own while I made dinner and folded laundry.

That little shelf was very sturdy.  Yet, still in the recesses of my mind, I knew that there was a possibility Mac would try to pull himself up on it one day and it would likely tip forward.  I considered asking Chris to tether it to the wall, however, since the shelf was hopefully just a temporary fix until the kid got a little older, I hated to make more holes in our 100-year old plaster.

And then Mac was gifted this:

And now that he can ride along on this sucker, all sorts of stuff that is mostly just for “looking” not “touching” is at his eye level.  Like this:

Which means now, part of my living room looks like this:

Which is very reminiscent of Toys R Us after a tornado.

Never say never.

How do you contain your kid’s clutter?  Do you have your children help you tidy up each evening?  Do you relegate toys to one or several spots in your house?  How often do you purge?  What do you do with Legos?  I’m dreading Legos!  They hurt like hell to step on barefoot!  

No Responses to “Crammed In Like Sardines: Just One More Thing I Thought I Would NEVER Do. . .”

  1. When my kids were little – we had a laundry basket in every room. Classy right? We’d dump any toy found in that room in the basket. My original thought had been to be able to then take the baskets to his/her room and put things away. In reality – we just had a laundry basket of crap in every room – which we called The Bucket-O’-Crap. This went on for approximately 4 years. You just give in. On the “purge” part….I was a nazi-like commando. A cold hearted, unsentimental thrower outer of things. Can’t help it. I’m still like that. Ask my kids about the numerous times they’ve dug out their drawings from the trash (I have to keep and cherish all of them??? come on).
    Legos….oh lord….legos. Expensive, small, full of creative potential. My boy is 8 – and he can still spend an entire day on them. Solution – a Bucket-O’-Legos.

    • Deni Lyn says:

      Ha! Bucket O’Crap! I’m also a ruthless purger. . .My own mother has these sentimental hoarding tendencies. I’m dreading the day she asks me where X, Y, Z is. . .um. . .at the Goodwill. Ack. She will be appalled.

      As for the artwork, I’ve heard of people taking photos of it and then ditching it. That way, you have a digital copy. I was thinking about making Mac little photo books for each year with his most special artwork in as he gets older. Right. . .as if I’ll have time for that!

  2. locololo says:

    I gave up on pretty about 10 years ago..and decided functional was more important to my sanity. We own tons of those clear plastic tubs in various sizes with the snap on lids. Toy are divided by category or how they like to play with them, etc. Each child may only have ONE open at a time. If they want to play with something else..they pop the toys back in the bin, snap the lid on, and get another bin. It works..for us, at least. But just wait until someone else’s kid comes over for a playdate…they won’t follow your toy rules and you’ll want to stab things with ice picks by the time the playdate is over. Just sayin lol

    • Deni Lyn says:

      Wait? You mean my kid is going to want to invite friends to OUR HOUSE? Where I’ll have to watch them and be responsible for their safety, entertainment, and happiness too? ARRRRRRGGGGHHHHH!!!!!

  3. hnMom says:

    Livi doesn’t have that many toys yet either but it’s getting to be more and there are also lots of books. The bookshelf we used to keep everything on is now too small and never really worked because stuff was always pulled out.
    We recently got this box from Ikea. It’s not pretty but it’s made from fabric, foldable and has a lid. It works great and there are no jammed fingers. She goes and gets what she wants during the day and in the evening we put it all away.
    So far, Livi is still playing with most of her toys but when the time comes, we will either store them away for another baby or donate.
    When she’s older, we plan on having her help us pick the toys for donation before we buy new ones.

    • Deni Lyn says:

      We have some of those boxes from Ikea – I use them in the tops of our closets to keep the out-of-season linens dust-free. I love the idea that she’s not getting her fingers pinched. The chest all the toys are sitting on in my photo is an old cedar chest and I love the idea of actually putting the toys IN it; however, he’s way too little right now to manage the lid. Maybe when he’s older. We also plan to have him help us with donations before the holidays and his birthday when he gets older. Although I think he’s likely going to have a few younger cousins at some point and they might be “charity” of choice. Ha!

  4. I think that quote may have come out of my mouth when my first was just a baby. Our kids stuff is out of control. I thought by giving them a playroom then the toys would be contained in that room, but I learned quickly that was just a lie I told myself. My 6 year old loves legos… and those things manage to invade all the rooms in the house. Hold off on the legos as long as you can.

    • Deni Lyn says:

      Is it possible I could damage my child emotionally by forbidding legos? Ha! I just know the dogs are going to eat them.

      I suppose we should feel blessed to have such nice things for our children – in good quantity. . .Yet. . .it sucks!

  5. BUY ANOTHER HOUSE (just for you)! Nothing works. I’ve tried everything. I mean everything. My friends would always want to do girls’ night at my house. When I say it used to be spotless, I mean, my friends would start washing the lone fork they used because things were always neat.. Now, we all go screaming, heading for the closest bar or restaurant. My girls are now in the try-on-every-article-of-clothing-and-then-discard-them-randomly-around-the-house phase. Pray for me, or donate to my new house fund!

  6. Deni Lyn says:

    I knew we should have purchased the adjacent house when it was for sale! At least I don’t have teenage daughters (yet). Yikes! I sadly can’t donate but I’m happy to pray for your cause. 🙂