Solution of the Day: No More Toys!

We are in the process of packing for a long-distance move. Each day, I find it difficult to focus on packing because before I can pack, I need to clean up. The cleaning ends up taking most of my packing time, just as it took up most of my time before moving was even on the radar.

The kids toys and books are the culprit, so I decided that, rather than generously wait until the last minute to pack up the kid’s things so they won’t be without them but for a few spartan days, I’d do them first.

While this may seem cruel to you (as we won’t be unpacking these items for two weeks) I argue that this will make them more grateful for all their belongings in the end. I may even be able to better distinguish which items really are unnecessary to ever unpack at all. Today I got all books and toys boxed and sealed and placed in an impenetrable stack in the children’s closets, sealed with a stern mandate that the closet is off-limits.

I won’t be the first to complain that as I packed, the kids were frantically unpacking and playing with everything they had completely ignored since we moved in here. This is probably a testament to my poor organization, as kids can’t play with toys they can’t find or see or gather all the parts to.

Seeing their delight in all the “discovered” toys really was a motivator to start toy rotation after we move. I may even take a page from a friend and play librarian with the books to prevent them from being damaged and spreading all over the house, as has been our general habit up until now.

My husband, a pathological neatnik daily driven insane by my pathological disorder, walked into my daughters’ empty room and I saw him visibly become more relaxed. “Ah, this is wonderful,” he said. And it was, and I seriously never want to unpack the books or toys again.

Someone from a family of 10 kids once told me that their mom kept the house clean by having absolutely nothing in the house. Minimalist furniture, no wall hangings–nothing. I guess she assumed you could get enough entertainment from the 9 other kids in the house that you didn’t need piles of stuff.

I’m an all-or-nothing kind of girl. This might just be the only hope for me–keep all belongings in a closet full of sealed boxes.

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