Kids have a lot of stuff. Just a lot of stuff. Some is precious to them or me. Some is just stuff. Some is straight up junk. I consider myself a pretty practical and balanced personality but I just cannot come to peace with the kid stuff. I am constantly amazed that our place, one of the biggest we’ve had, always feels as though it is closing in on us.
They’re little. They aren’t great at picking up. I have to help a lot more than I would like. But there is SO. MUCH. STUFF.
There is so much stuff I cannot even begin to tackle how to tackle all the different kinds of stuff.
Here are a few of the greatest hits however.
School papers are delightful. I love to see what they’re doing each day and hear them talk about their work and what they were asked to do and how they interpreted the instructions. I am amazed at how weird looking stick people emerge into lumpy circle-ly people with faces and hands and colorful clothing. One of my favorite things about school papers is when my son writes things out how they sound, rather than how they are actually spelled. Before he would only write if he knew exactly how to spell something. His trials are perfect to me.
But back to the papers. What are we supposed to do with them?!?
Right now I have a basket where the regular papers fit beautifully. But then there are the art papers or the legal sized ones or the clay fish and suddenly my basket is overflowing with stuff heaped everywhere and spilling over the top.
Once this basket of crap drives me batty enough, I sit down and make a school paper book using a lovely pattern I got on Etsy (It seems her shop is closed – the pic below is her photo). The books are cute and they contain the stuff – one folder per month – and off they go for storage. Art papers go in a poster board stapled in half (lovely basically free folder). Done.
Four problems: There is predominately mess until the offload into the books. Second, both kids’ stuff is all mixed together. Third, I think I keep too many papers. Fourth, my daughter goes to arts preschool and brings home HUGE. FREAKING HUGE paintings every day. Each of these sheets is precious to her.
My kids have two kinds of toys. One kind is the kind that I pick out because I carefully considered their age level and interests and found something awesome/cute/unique that will invigorate their imagination and occupy them for hours. The other kind are things they pick out or junky stuff they pick up (kids’ meals, I’m looking at you). I struggle to see the value in this second kind of toy and am frequently tempted to throw Type 2 toys away. Sometimes I do. Type 2 toys are generally those that are played with for 15 minutes which then requires getting out another Type 2 toy until suddenly an entire room is destroyed by toys. (You saw the living room post, right?)
Type 1 toys are treated similarly (unless they are so awesome no one plays with them), but because they are so important to ME, they will never be asked to leave our house. Type 1 toys are shuffled and put away and encouraged until it is clear both kids have outgrown them and I can finally store them in the garage for awhile before selling them or handing them off.
It was a difficult day when I realized there were toys that I was not willing to get rid of, even to save my own house.
Stickers and trinkets
When I was a kid, stickers were so incredibly precious to me that I didn’t want to stick them on anything because once I did that they would peel off or get wrinkled or I would eventually have to get rid of the thing they were stuck to. So, if you go through my childhood things you will find many sheets of beloved stickers.
My kids love nothing better than peeling stickers off and gleefully plastering them everywhere. Every. Where. Their most recent endeavor was to literally cover the kid trampoline with stickers. Frozen ones. So now, these peeling up and wrinkled Annas and Elsas and Olafs and whatnot are all over the floor. All over the bottom of my socks. Did you know, every freaking kid coloring book comes with PAGES and PAGES of stickers! Yea! Stickers! Packages are so proud of all the STICKERS! that come with the coloring sheets. Big fan of coloring. Stickers, not so much.
Beyond stickers are the kid trinkets. Both of my kids have a box where they are supposed to put special trinkets that to me, look like junk but to them are right now priceless. My son even confessed he had several of these boxes before he lost them. (Don’t get me started…). This same child picked rocks out of the neighbors landscaping, declared them gemstones, got a plastic bag out to store his gemstones, and now I have a bag of rocks that seems to always be on the floor.
What is the point of the kid trinket box if the trinkets are all over the floor? Oh right. The boxes are in their rooms which are upstairs and that would require going all the way up the stairs to deposit the trinkets. Man, I’m tired just THINKING about that. I guess we will continue walking around and picking up the trinkets instead.
To be honest, I don’t have solutions for all of these problems. I’ll come up with some and share them in the update to this post.
Signs of hope
I recently made the kids go through all the toys downstairs. We sorted into keep, go somewhere else in the house, donate, and trash. My son did awesome at this after we got going and I threw a bunch of stuff out. The toys that end up on the floor now have somewhere to be deposited and for a day or so things were mostly all put away. A work in progress I suppose.
In the meantime, while I brainstorm amazing but not Pinterest-worthy solutions to these issues, how to you manage your “kid stuff”?