a "been-there" mom of six offers encouragement
to wives, young mothers, and those not so young,
and simple common-sense approaches to
the "ings" of life:
child-rearing (hints and helps), homemaking (all areas),
cooking (simple, cheap, and do-it-yourself)
making (toys and gifts), preparing (for the unexpected),
maintaining (sanity and peace in this increasingly crazy world) and more---
all aspects of making the most of making do on little---
and having fun in the process.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Tidying up Toys

I hope yesterday was a wonderful day for you, no matter how you celebrated. Unfortunately, if being completely honest, it was probably also a day for collapse---after all the preparation!

How's that for an introduction to a periodic confession, from long ago (approximately 1964--1993), I am now going to admit to. . .

While "wifehood" and motherhood are of immeasurable worth, there have been occasions, usually at the end of a particularly long, hard day, when I have told Dave that "I am tired of this game!"

On a more positive note, with the new year approaching ---- along with our goals for getting organized looming---- I thought this might be the appropriate time to let you know that I have been known to exclaim that I was . . .

While I no longer have to deal with the yearly challenges of where do you put it all , we saw the predicament through grandparent eyes --- and it brought it all back.

  • Bags are one answer to the clutter of things and stuff
  • When toys and games are sorted and in place, it is easier to play with them
And, most importantly     
Visual elimination of stuff is a huge aid to a mom's peace and tranquility!
Bags can be stitched up in almost any fabric---new or old, in all sizes, for a multitude of out-of-sight purposes.

Don't sew? No problem!
Use your imagination-----and your grocery bags, mesh vegetable bags, baskets, ice cream buckets, or whatever you have that will hold and hang safely. Or, trade some simple chore with a neighbor who does sew in exchange for having her stitch up a few straight seams.

Creative individuals can identify bag contents with applique, embroidery, or fabric paints. The rest of us can make do quite well with marking pens or pictures cut from magazines or---keeping in mind that kids can remember anything they want to--- just let them memorize the contents of the various bags.

The key to the success of this method is finding the proper location for this container assortment, and that is-----out of the children's reach. (Unless you have exceptional children that automatically pick up one toy before playing with another --- in which case you wouldn't even be reading this post!)

I had Dave make a "shaker rail" out of a pine board and some cut-from-dowel pegs, and hung it fairly high on the wall. If you are not up to making such a thing, or have no one to make it for you, they can be purchased unfinished at a hobby store quite reasonably (especially if it is on sale or you use a coupon.)

Any type of hooks or nails will work. Even those multi-hook holders that fit over a door do the job.
Don't want hooks? Sort the toys into boxes, baskets, or other containers and place them on a shelf out of reach.

I admit it is a little bit of work retrieving bags for the kids throughout the day but I can use the exercise and I prefer that workout to bending over picking up the toys or working the jaw muscles with frequent pick-up requests. As the kids get older and learn (unfortunately getting older and learning aren't necessarily synonymous), the containers and be moved to where they are more accessible for them.

Additional Benefits. . .

  • With this method you will probably find that some toys are played with more than when all the individual parts had to be dug out from among everything else in the toy box.
  • On the other hand, I must admit that some toys weren't played with as much as they were previously---
  • And that was okay with me, too, since they were hanging neatly on a hook and not strewn all over the floor.

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