Uncluttering has created more clutter
March 14, 2013 at 11:00 pm #233919
I know that doesn’t sound possible, but it feels like it. I’ve been away, and out of my normal routine. As I look around the (living) room I see mess. Mostly it’s my 3 year old’s mess, some of it is mine. Although I’ve decluttered my own things dramatically (don’t even own a dining table or coffee table anymore, bookcase is gone, books are in storage waiting to be dealt with, kitchen stuff is very much minimised, etc). I don’t own a lot of stuff by most people’s standards, but my child does. There are WAY too many toys lying arouond. I simply can’t bear to part with anything that she still might want to play with. I did start selling a couple of toys but it makes me feel guilty if I think she could’ve got use out of it still. How to deal with this I wonder? I mostly don’t want her missing out on anything (bit of a back story, her dad is out of my life, she has no one besides me, I can’t give her family but I can give her material things, and I’m sure I do so to try to compensate for what I am unable to give her…). Rambling on a bit here, but how to solve this toy clutter mess?
March 14, 2013 at 11:24 pm #233922
The other thing is, I’ve been bringing in stuff out of my storage unit, and not dealing with it all 100%. And so it feels like I’m not seeing any results.
March 14, 2013 at 11:44 pm #233924
Your child needs *you*, not toys or things. So if her clutter makes you distressed, you will be more stressed when around her. If you are calm and at peace, she will respond to this. And you will start seeing results of your hard work as you continue to declutter your life – maybe take a break from thinning out your storage unit and deal with what excess you have now?
March 15, 2013 at 1:05 am #233931
a recurring idea I’ve head of for controlling toy clutter is a “toy bank”… basically you put out five things for the day, or whatever your child usually likes to play with… and when they get bored with one or more of the toys/books/puzzles they can exchange it with you for another toy/book/puzzle, which is kept boxed away someplace until needed. it also lets you sort out which toys they tend to play with more, and which less, so you can slowly get rid of the ones that are less popular.
March 15, 2013 at 1:12 am #233932
@ChiFlower, you sound like a very loving, caring mother. I agree that your daughter doesn’t need a thing, other than your love. But since the toys are already in your home, did you ever think of storing some away for a period of time, then watch to see if your daughter misses them? If, say, after a week, she doesn’t ask for them, maybe you can donate/sell those toys, and then “rotate” the ones that are in the living room with the rest that are in the storage area.
March 15, 2013 at 2:07 am #233934
gailbon – I like the idea of rotating toys. I’m sure some things she’s even forgotten that she has. I had almost all her toys in my storage unit at one point (along with almost everything we owned, when we temporarily moved to a furnished studio for 4 months). That made me feel guilty too, but it was just how it had to be for a while. I’ve got certain things in boxes under her bed and in her wardrobe (eg a box of plastic toy food, all her ‘little people’ toys, all her barbies, each category in one big plastic lidded bin). Her wooden toybox is full but not opened much because we keep her Sylvanian Families on top, another small toybox filled to capacity with bigger toys.
luxcat – I wish I could just keep everything that’s considered a toy, in her room, and bring out daily some things to play with. So that at the end of the day when everything’s packed away again, the living room would be clean (what a wonderful dream that would be). But it’s not big enough. My apartment is pretty small, with very limited storage, 2 small wardrobes and a couple of tiny kitchen cabinets & drawers is all I’ve got. The apartment is basically 4 rooms in total; tne living area combined with kitchen, 2 small bedrooms, and a small bathroom containing the laundry. Oh yeah and the hallway which counts as nothing.
herisff – I agree she just needs me – to be with her unstressed. She’s in daycare 4 full days a week (was 5 but I dropped one day), which adds to the guilt. When she is home I still don’t have as much time for her as I’d like. I’m always doing something… or decluttering… cooking, cleaning, laundry. That’s one of the reasons for uncluttering in earnest, to free up time and space.
March 15, 2013 at 2:53 pm #233958
You do sound like a lovely Mum – and it’s a part of motherhood for most of us to feel guilty about the things we can’t make perfect for our children – even if the problems aren’t our fault.
We have lived in four small rooms for a long time, and it takes patience and practice to get it right. When things get messy, it really feels cramped. We are moving to a new apartment next week and have packing boxes everywhere. It feels horrible, so I do sympathise – and our stress is only for a couple of weeks.
I agree with the idea of rotating toys and assessing the ones you could let go. Is she old enough to appreciate the concept of donating toys to children who don’t have any? Maybe she would be ok with doing that before (or just after) her birthday or Christmas, to make room for new treasures in her life.
March 15, 2013 at 5:05 pm #233964
Once your daughter is older, she will likely be reading books (perhaps from the library), playing board games and games on the computer, playing sports outside, and doing homework. With these changes, she will likely have fewer toys. Give it time, and some of the toy clutter will take care of itself.
March 15, 2013 at 9:01 pm #233981
I guess I should get rid of anything that is for sure no longer age appropriate. I have been doing that with larger stuff, baby walker, bouncer and so on.
At the moment I have this big plastic kitchen taking up valuable space in the living room. I used to love this to bits, but now it just annoys me, she still occasionally plays with it and it IS still age appropriate. I’d like to see it gone, but have major guilt about getting rid of it. But it is something I must sell, should my plan to move to Australia actually happen.
Well I guess another weekend of uncluttering is in order.
March 15, 2013 at 10:11 pm #233985
I don’t have any experience with kids at all, but you might just ask her something like – “Hey, I know that sometimes you play with the plastic kitchen, but it is taking up a lot of space in the house. How much do you like it? Would you rather keep the plastic kitchen, or would you rather have room to dance/run around/whatever?” As I said, I don’t know kids, so take that with a big grain of salt – but she might surprise you! You might also ask her what her, say, 5 favorite toys are – that way, you don’t risk uncluttering her favorite things and you can feel better about making decisions about other stuff.
March 17, 2013 at 7:38 am #234060
Im not sure if she understands that her saying YES to giving away something, means she will never see it again. She did ask to play with what’s in the various plastic containers under her bed. But the stuff didn’t hold her attention for very long before she packed it away again. (preschool has taught her well with ‘tidy up time’). Which makes me think she’s due for some more age-appropriate stuff.
Still unsure what to do with that kitchen though, she wanted to make pretend cupcakes in her ‘oven’. So we went and bought cake mix and made REAL cupcakes after that.
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