Five Steps To Purge Your Kids’ Toy Stash

We have a lot going on right now. Among those things is our move to a bigger home, and moving my 71 year old father out of his home and in with us. This is a lot of packing, home inspections, and wearing regular pants for other people that – quite frankly – I am tapped out on. By far the worst task, though, isn’t any of the paperwork or the house viewings; or the cleaning or even the moving, itself.

Nope, it’s purging the toy stash.

Lucky for all of you, I’ve compiled the end-all-be-all five step process to to purge your kids’ toy stash. Look no further, because – quite frankly – this will end up being what you fucking do anyway.

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Step One: Much Like An Addict, Admit That You Have a Problem On Your Hands

There is no excuse for an inability to see the floor in the room your children’s toys are held. Be it their bedroom, a playroom … the kitchen … if you cannot see more floor than is absolutely vital to walk through, you may have a toy problem.

You may also have a toy problem if you have multiples on multiples of the same toy. If you have a supply of McDonald’s and other kid’s incentive toys. Also, if you have scraps of paper that have somehow been preserved as toys…you have a major toy problem.

I have a lot of experience with this, are you guys getting that? I once had a thirty minute debate with my then-four year old over whether or not a pile of felt scraps she had stolen from my craft bin and cut into tiny, little pieces could be considered toys.

It’s OK to admit that your kids have too many toys. Maybe it’s you who gave them all; maybe it was family against your will. Whatever the case may be, admit that you have a problem on your hands.

Step Two: Argue About What Is And Is Not A Toy With Your Child(ren)

You read what I said about that felt thing? Yeah. This is the second step to purge your kids’ toy stash.

Fucking argue.

Argue about whether or not felt scraps are toys. Broken puzzle from the dentist? Not really a toy, is it? You’d better bet your sweet ass your kid will argue it still is, though.

One time my daughter waged a 15 minute debate with me as to whether or not a paper cup she had drawn a smiley face on two years prior and somehow kept in her room was a toy. She claimed it was.

This then progresses into arguing about what toys aren’t necessary or used anymore.

Step Three: Put Your Child(ren) In Time Out For Throwing a Temper Tantrum

Step two almost always escalates into a temper tantrum of some sort. Whether you are arguing the reality of whether or not something is a toy; or actually discussing the merits of keeping toys that are just old or not played with anymore.

Children are emotional beings, and as such will escalate their bullshit as much as is necessary in hopes they will get their way. So when that happens, obviously step three is to put their asses in time out. One minute per age.

In theory, the older your child the more wine and chocolate time this will afford you. I know this sounds weird, or almost sadistic; but learn to love it.

Step Four: Make Up With Your Little Chittlens and Give Them An Hour Or Two Of Fun Activities

Away from home. Or, at the very least, away from the room the toys are kept.

Let them go out and play with friends, even though you said they were grounded for a week for mouthing off to you. Give them uninhibited iPad time – downstairs. Let Grandma take them to the movies. Whatever it is, just reward your children for tolerating all this stressful bullshit – you were clearly wrong. These toys are important to them. Assure them it’s over and you’ll just tidy up and understand their emotional attachment to every stupid fucking Taco Bell toy, Subway Kid’s meal bag, and 99 Cents Store stocking stuffer they’ve ever received.

Step Five: While They’re Out, Burn That Motherfucker Down

You heard me.

I don’t mean like really light a fire or anything. I mean get a box of garbage bags and load those puppies up with all the shit you think has to go. Outdated toys. Things your kids have grown out of. Broken toys. Toys missing pieces. Every piece of felt, ball of ripped-out Barbie hair, and drawn on paper cup you come across. Get it all out of there in the time you’ve sent your chittlens away.

Don’t worry, they haven’t fucking played with any of those things in so long they won’t even notice, anyway.

Pretty easy-peasy, huh? I know what you are all thinking: it might be easier just to skip to number five to begin with, right?

Wrong.

If you just skip to number five, you won’t be able to look back on these days fondly with your children when they are all grown up and have kids of their own. And say “see the bullshit you put me through? Karma’s a bitch, huh? A big, fat bitch.”

Now if you’ll all excuse me, time out time is over and it’s time for me to move on to step four. It’s 7:40 in the evening, though, so looks like it’ll be a late night of uninhibited iPad time downstairs. I’ve got a number of toys and other miscellaneous bullshit that needs trashing to attend to.

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For sitting on my ass about 10 hours, I sure got a lot done today

Every once in a while, we have to take a step back and ask ourselves: am I spinning my wheels?

Am I running on empty?

Is something burning me out?

Two things happened last night – besides that whole food thing I wrote about earlier today – that contributed to me sitting on my ass for the majority of today. I think it was about ten hours, in total.

1. My daughter broke my heart and told me, completely out of the random and for no reason at all, that she sometimes thinks of me as a birthday candle that tries too hard to stay lit, but as a result has very little left because it’s all burned away.

She’s very wise for her ten years.

2. My old friend Period Pants showed up, and not in the subtle way she normally does. There was no taking her sweet fucking time to get going, giving me a day or so to prepare myself for the carnage of her monthly hormonal fluctuations. I had no opportunity to “pre-med” (take plenty of Ibuprofen the night before shit gets real so as to minimize the pain.)

Nope, this time she just came stomping in the door, around 11:30 at night.

When I’m really stressed out, she does this. First I get sick, then in about 45 seconds I develop cramps no amount of over the counter painkillers could fix. Then I get really hot and headachy until my brain catches up with my body, realizing that I need to slow the fuck down and relax while Period Pants resets my body.

It’s all in good fun, and yes I’m sure you all didn’t want to hear that much detail. But it’s not like I’m talking about freebleeding under my dress, or knitting sweaters with fallen pubic hairs or anything; so just get over it and understand my point. This happened, forcing me to slow down and calm down and remember that my body is going to tell me when I’m going too far on the stress-o-meter.

Needless to say, when I got up this morning I had – again – remembered the point of this all. I asked myself those questions: am I spinning my wheels? Absolutely. I’m cleaning and yet nothing is really getting clean. I’m cooking food that isn’t being eaten. I’m making efforts when I know the effortlessness of others will make it all moot anyway.

Am I running on empty? You bet I am. It isn’t that I’m physically tired, it’s that I’m mentally exhausted. I can’t think straight most of the time, and I’m so scattered I have a hard time even paying attention to the book I’m reading, the painting I’m painting, and the blanket I’m knitting. And then there is that simple fact that – for the fifth time in a day – I put my keys in the freezer. My brain is trying so hard to escape this situation, it’s become almost nonfunctional.

Is something burning me out? Yes. Activity is burning me out. Constantly having plans and activities and errands and projects and expectations from others and of myself is burning me out. Life is burning me out.

So today I decided I was going to take a break. I mean I’ve really tried to make an effort to cut back on activities and giving a fuck for some time now. I wear yoga pants and comfortable sweaters most days of the week, now. I’m worrying less about things like the placement of the towels in the bathroom as well.

But this overwhelming sense that I need to justify my Stay At Home existence with constant movement and nonstop commitments has me occasionally heading down this path of bodily pain, and metaphorical burn out, that tells me I haven’t done enough to have a healthier balance in life.

I started out planning – intending – to spend the majority of my day on Pinterest and in front of Netflix. As I started to destress, though, I thought that what I’d really like to do is write. (So I wrote 20 pages of good, solid fiction.) Then I destressed even more, and decided I would get up and bake some Valentine’s Day cupcakes for my husband to take to work later in the week. And as I calmed down more and more, feeling Period Pants calm her ass down as well in the process, I decided to write a blog, do some marketing, and I even did a Fiverr gig I had waiting to be done.

So what I’m saying here is that I got more work done today while I sat on my ass than I have probably gotten done in the past couple of weeks.

What I didn’t do was run errands or return phone calls I had no interest in returning. I also didn’t worry about making a fancy dinner; and – for once – I just let the laundry from the last two days continue to pile up.

The moral of the story is – I think – that when we force ourselves to slow down, we realize the path to do more meaningful, balanced things.