Tidying up the house and throwing out old toys

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tidying, tidy, clutter, toys
This place needs tidying. For the avoidance of doubt, this is NOT our house. Pic credit below.

With the long summer break on the horizon, I am desperately trying to knock this house into shape before two children are running wild in it all day long. I know most families face the same issue; little piles of junk discretely piling up all over the house that are never sorted out. I’m presently waging war against those piles of junk and either tidying them away or throwing them out. It’s tough, but I am determined to win.

Last week I cleared a whole load of stuff out of the kitchen. You know the kind of thing; batteries that may or may not be fully charged, old take away menus, plastic cutlery bought for some long forgotten picnic. I took three bin liners and two large boxes to the dump. I recycled what I practically could but the boxes had to go into the container destined for landfill. There were just too many ity-bity tiny things to sort out.

Yesterday I took on the unruly pile of toys that has been languishing in the corner of the living room since Christmas. This was particularly galling as I had a massive clear out back then but over the past seven months it’s crept back and grown in size.

In a bid to regain control of the living room, I bought a toy chest. I’ve issued a diktat that the family will be forced to comply with; if the toys don’t fit in the toy chest, some items must be tidily stored elsewhere or recycled.

For a variety of reasons I found yesterday’s clear out particularly hard work and actually quite depressing. By nature I am, you see, the ultimate anti-hoarder. If something doesn’t have an obvious and immediate use I am only too happy to sling it out. Living with a young family, I don’t have that luxury. Clutter just comes with the territory.

Going through that pile of toys I found random playing cards, misplaced parts from board games, the odd bit of very specialist Lego and so on. It made me realise that my wife and I have work to do. We’ve got to make the kids really appreciate the toys they’ve got and look after them properly.

The result of yesterday’s clear out was three boxes of old toys and a couple of bin liners of stuff removed from the living room. That probably sounds like a ludicrous amount but I should explain a couple of the items were very large, bulky, baby toys that Toddler Adams hasn’t played with for months.

My gut instinct was to chuck this lot in the car and take it to the ‘toy bank’ at the local dump. I stopped myself and thought I’d better hold-on for a couple of days in case any of the toys were missed.

When we got home from school last night, my eldest child, Helen, thought it would be fun to empty out the toy chest and use it as a hiding place. No doubt sensing the anguish in my voice she did exactly as she was told and put every single toy back again.

The toys that were boxed up were stored in the garage. How many of them do you suppose she asked about? Yes, that’s right; none whatsoever. Helen didn’t even seem to notice that they toys were no longer in the room. I take this as a sure sign I can get rid of the lot.

What’s your experience? Can you relate to this ? How do you deal with clutter and junk in your house?

Pic credit: Grap Reproduced under Creative Commons agreement 3.0. For a link to this agreement and further info, see the Disclosure page. 





12 thoughts on “Tidying up the house and throwing out old toys”

  1. I need to follow your lead and do something about the dumping ground that our house has become. I know we’ve got about three tonnes of recycling waiting to be sifted from important documents in piles around the house while the number of toys my two have and never touch is just ridiculous. Then there’s the front garden which may actually have Triffids living in it. Gah!

    1. Tom – just get rid of those toys they don’t use. The ones I boxed up the other day have not been missed at all. I thought they would be, but not at all. Good luck with those triffids.

  2. This is a constant battle in our house. Thankfully, since I have finished childminding, we have been able to get rid of car loads full of things. But we are still hoarders. I am tired spending whole weekends sorting through and tidying STUFF. Once a month, we bring a car load to the swap shop. But unfortunately, we come back with things too. My 9 year old just decided to get rid of most of here things. She suddenly realized that she doesn’t play with most things anymore and she doesn’t want to live with them, even if they are sentimental. I need her to sort the rest of the house now. Wishing you the very best of luck in this battle.

  3. Clutter is the bane of my life. I swear, the stuff breeds and creates MORE clutter!
    With two small boys with an aversion to putting things away (and a husband who is even worse for leaving stuff everywhere!) it seems never ending at times.
    Like you, I’m on a mission to sort it before the summer holidays when the kids are at home, and started as I mean to go on today and filled a rubbish sack fulll of junk, binned it and took some stuff to the charity shop like books as we seem to have more than the local library! 🙂

    1. I am, in about five minutes time, going to do a clear out of books. How’s that for a coincidence? Don’t suppose you want them?

  4. I was able to get rid of some stuff. I am lucky to be living in the town and there are shops outside who buys old toys! Got some money while cleaning. Donated some of the clothes to his school too. Sometimes my son’s toy can be overwhelming to clean. I hide them in our storage then again the storage is also full now. I have a very very generous mother in law. I wish I know the solution to this problem but I am struggling too. #mmwbh

    1. Well I am going to institute a new law. At Christmas and birthdays, for every present the kids receive, they’re going to chose a toy they no longer play with and it will be given to charity. It’s my version of a one in, one out policy.

  5. Caroline Hooper (My Family Ties)

    It is so true the toys and mess build up and when you mention a big clear out, there are tantrums and tears, but when the clutter is gone they barely remember all the things they were telling you were so important to them and so essential! #MMWBH

    1. Kids haven’t even mentioned the toys I’ve cleared out! Fascinating how little attention they actually pay to these things.

  6. Pingback: Failing to lead a green lifestyle | Dad Blog UKFailing to lead a green lifestyle - Dad Blog UK

  7. Oh the junk and clutter just builds and builds and builds until I myself, crack! I grab black bags and just bin anything and everything that hasn’t been used/played with or noticed in yonks and bin it, lol — Something I am currently doing myself. Room by room! Thanks for linking up {as always!} with the #MMWBH 🙂

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