Saturday, March 6, 2010

The clutter stays, for now

My children have too much. Too many clothes, too many toys, too many books, too much of everthing.

I know a lot of you are nodding in agreement right now, looking around your home, wondering when it stopped looking like Pottery Barn and more like the Christmas edition of the Toys R Us flyer.

There is a play room for the boys in the basement, with wall-to-wall shelves filled with everything from crafts, to TinkerToys, Wedgits, balls, marbles, books, trucks, cleaning supplies, and LEGO. In between, they have a little table with a magnet board and a variety of magnets. Two other shelves on the other wall hold my my four year old's Playmobil collection, and under those shelves, the chalk and cork boards from Pottery Barn Kids.

There are a lot of toys in the family room, too, where 4 shelves are dedicated to their books, trucks, puzzles and crafts. (The rest of the shelves are mine - filled with my books, photo albums, and pictures.) Their little red Ikea table and chairs are in the family room, and on one side, a section for my their trucks and construction area, where a toy storage unit also is. There is also a little tool section and a little kitchen.

Basically, my entire house looks like a daycare centre.

It is a little cluttered, and every night, after the boys fall asleep, I clean up, and put everything away, getting the room ready for the next day, bringing out toys that have not been played with or used in a while. I like to rotate things, so they have something 'new' to play with every day.

I line up the trucks, tidy up the craft table, put things back together again.

I know as soon as my youngest son is older, he will be able to play unsupervised with his brother in the basement, and then the family room can be 'mine' again.

At least, for now, the living room and dining room are in mint condition, for entertaining adult friends!

Their bedrooms have some toys as well, but mostly books on their book shelves. We often play in their rooms at night, after bath time. "Book, book!" my youngest son will say, and I happily pick him up, and read to him. "A hundred books!" my 4 year old says to me, before bed time.

And I pick up a pile of books and read to him until he falls asleep. It is my favourite part of the day.

I don't mind, really, the fact that our family room looks like a daycare centre. I love to be able to be in the kitchen preparing dinner (macaroni and cheese) or loading the dishwasher and watching them play, having them in my view, in case they need my help, in case I have to break up a fight, or if they want me to play with them.

I know soon enough, they'll be playing alone, both of them, in another part of the house, either in their rooms, or in the basement, and they won't need my supervision as much anymore. So I can totally wait for that day to come, and in the meantime, I can enjoy the chaos that is my house right now... because it is a house filled with giggly little boys, who run around making a mess, and having fun, right in front of my eyes.

I just have to be careful not to step on a piece of LEGO... ouch!

19 comments:

Pres. Kathy said...

Hour house is the same way! We made our living room the play room. This was the best thing we did! Even though there are a lot of toys everywhere, I love it! It brings me joy! :-)

Amy B said...

I am so glad to see this is how you feel..because having a 19, 16, 13 and 5 year old..you are so right..they grow up so fast..
The toys being out and you making mac and cheese...that is what makes a happy family.

Kate Coveny Hood said...

I used to want everything to be perfect all the time - but I've had to learn to get over that. Actually - my husband started me on this more laid back path since he's a SLOB. But yeah - there is plenty of time for my house to look the way I'd prefer. It feels fine the way it is now.

Rebecca said...

I couldn't agree more! Yes, my house is cluttered with kids stuff (and to be honest, we really don't have a lot, but small house etc. makes it seem that way ;) but I wouldn't have it any other way right now.

I don't want them stressing about their toys being out if they are having fun - and usually when they have fun, it means we all do ;)

It freaks me out when I go to houses that have young kids and there are NO signs kids even live there!

Chantal said...

What a great attitude to have Loukia. My house is overrun & we are trying to pear down. I need to remind myself not to go to crazy :)

@sandyel said...

Same situation over here. I love cooking while I can still see my kids. The only thing I don't do is clean up the toys every night (not properly anyway). I used to, but now I don't always bother. I think I will start to rotate the toys. That's a great idea.

Chrissy MacCEO said...

My house is the same way. At least once I week, I think to myself, "what can I do to change this!?!" But then I realized that my son will be in school all day next year, and pretty soon, he is not going to want to play with all of these toys! And my daughter is just a few years behind him. So, you are right, lets just let the clutter stay for now!

Brittany at Mommy Words said...

Thanks so much for reminding me that we won't have little ones who want to play with us forever. I have been feeling overwhelmed by the clutter lateky and I needed to reflect on how precious it is that my kids drag their toys out of the playroom to the living room to be with us.

Our routines are so similar. Our views are so similar. I just can't wait to meet you at Blogher!

EatPlayLove said...

I'm constantly fighting the invasion of the toys! It's nice when the younger child starts to outgrow some of those bigger and bulkier baby toys.

Angie Johnson said...

That is a great outlook. I think this is the key in mastering motherhood. Before kids it was all about us and we could control our world, then once our babies enter our world it's turned upside-down. It is sometimes hard to fight the urge to be perfect and tidy but it's moments like you have mentioned that make me grateful for my life as a mom.

john cave osborne said...

we can totally relate over here. and, we do the same thing. we actually make them clean up, too, but at age 2-1/2, it's not like they're doing a good job yet. so we clean up after them once they've gone to be.

one day, we'll get it back the way "we" like it, only then, the we will wonder wonder where "they" have gone and wish that somehow we could experience it all over again.

and that was your point. well done.

Carrie said...

Yup, your house sounds EXACTLY like mine. Our "formal" living room was turned into a playroom for my girls. We didn't have the furniture to fill it anyway ;)

I have recently taken back the family room as a toy -free zone. We will see how long that lasts :)

First time visitor! I'm sure I will be back :)

Anonymous said...

Keep posting stuff like this i really like it

T Rex Mom said...

Our house is like that too. I remember pre-kids going over to friends' houses that did have kids and seeing toys everywhere and thinking, "That will NEVER be me" - well, it is me. And you're right, I'd rather see them playing and have toys everywhere than have them out of sight getting into something.

Christine said...

Good for you for being so comfortable with it and knowing what really matters. I'll admit that I struggle with clutter, but with two boys I'm quickly learning to get over it. My basement is where I let them go "free range," it gets tidied and organized every so often (I'm a freak about keeping like toys with like), but mostly it's quite clearly a play area. Upstairs I try to keep some order and keep the toys to a minimum. I have to, or else I feel like I can't find any mental peace. This was a great post!

Elaine A. said...

Our living room/family room is the same but it's HUGE so half is their and half is mine. Although sometimes their stuff ends up in my half. Hmmmm....

We have a NO TOYS in the kitchen rule and I try to make sure there aren't any in our bedroom either. Off limits there, but otherwise, lots of toys! HA!

Monica said...

Your right! Enjoy those evenings of toy collection, because as the toys fade away the friends come in. Although, I'm afraid the Lego's never disappear. I still find them in the dryer, pantry, book shelves,potted plants....

Anonymous said...

Yes. Same goes here, but I do have to add something to this post. Spring is upon us and so is the rebirth and renewal of our self, family, and home. We are inherently hardwired to purge (clean, tidy, organize etc) our nest. We all see the clutter around us, well maybe not all, but moms sure do. With a full house of children (my own and my daycare), I like to get my children involved in the purge process. We make up 3 piles (using boxes or bags), the keep, the donate and the garbage pile. We go through the house room by room de-cluttering bit by bit. After all is said and done, relief sets in and a huge weight is lifted. I also like to take this time of year to reflect on the past years material purchases (and my consumption habits). I ask questions to myself like, did We really need to have this? Where was this made and did my purchase of this item negatively influence or harm others and the environment?
Spring is my time to set up good intentions and try to carry them forward for the remainder of the year.

Shannon @ AnchorMommy said...

Oh, those LEGOs are painful! We've got a whole new collection of Duplos coming in for my little boy's birthday. It's like a Duplo explosion around here.

What a great thing to remember! Soon, your boys won't want or need your help while they play. I need to remember that too, as I step on blocks and build a Duplo barn for the millionth time. :-)

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