Taking Control of the Toys Before They Take Control of You
You may be thinking, "I really want to get all of these toys out of my house because the clutter is driving me bonkers!" but then another question soon follows, "how am I possibly going to find all the pieces of that Disney puzzle?" or "where did that other doll shoe go?" or "where is the remote for the motorized car?" I am actually asking myself those questions as I go around the house. But this season things are easier than they were last season, and than they were the season before that because 1. my children are getting older and 2. the more I consign the easier it is and 3. the more I consign, the less I have to weed through. I have come to embrace Spring cleaning and of course, Fall Cleaning too!
My children used to dread the words "the sale is coming up!" as I would scoot from room to room picking up clothing, toys, books, and shoes, but as my children age, they actually are telling me "Mom, you can sell this to somebody else, I really don't play with this!" and that is SUPER COOL!! Here is how I approach the lost toy situation in order to prepare for the sale:
* I grab a trash bag for the trash that I will find in my travels as well as have 3 boxes/laundry basket, plastic containers, etc. stationed in the hallway outside the bedrooms. The baskets are designated: another room in the house, the Sale, or charity (those items that are not pristine enough to resell but are still in working condition).
* I first make up the beds in the house--the bed serves as the springboard for sorting. I then go from room to room, having the following gameplan:
1. I pick a corner and move around the room in a clockwise fashion.
2. As I go, I throw away any trash or broken toys that I find.
3. Every toy I pick up I ask myself the question, "Does my child play with this? How often?" Or now, I ask them, and they tell me! If the answer is yes, I put it on the bed. If it is missing pieces, I make a mental note of the toy. If the answer is no, I place it in one of the three baskets in the hallway.
3. I continue around each room in this fashion. Eventually, I will take the basket of misplaced toys (not "misfit" toys of Rudolph fame) and reassign them to their proper room. For a while, toys will be in that basket until I am done with the task of re-filing them.
4. I then venture out to other places where toys accumulate--the car, the laundry room the back porch, etc.
5. I then wind up with toys the kids love, in their rooms, and two baskets (usually amounts to lot more than two baskets), more like two piles: Goodwill and the Sale pile.
6. For those toys being sold, I put batteries in them, wipe them off with a Clorox wet-wipe and put all loose pieces in a ziploc bag.
7. As the Sale approaches, I type in my items into the automated tagging system, print off my tags, and affix them to their proper toy.
I then sit back and enjoy the de-cluttered space around me! Ahhhhhh! Spa-like tranquility---at least till right before the Spring Sale! :)