Not to overstate things, but I am.
I'm a genius.
Martha Stewart should have me on her show.
I am someone who does not do well when I'm surrounded by a lot of stuff. If it clutters my life, it clutters my brain. The older I get, the more I notice that this is true of me.
Our life is frittered away by detail... Simplify, simplify, simplify! ... Simplicity of life and elevation of purpose.
Can anyone tell me who I quoted this from?
And is anyone else craving an apple fritter, right now?
Anyhow, a few weeks ago, the toy situation was getting away from me, as you might gather from this photo:
I think I actually took this after I had already packed up two large totes of toys and banished them to storage in the basement. But notice a) the misuse of one tote and b) the three empty totes stacked in the background. At this point I had a plan, I just hadn't gotten quite there yet.
Today, I am happy to tell you, I'm there.
There's still toys strewn about, but it's much more controlled.
My multi-tiered, scientific-method-using, flow-chart-applicable game plan was this:
- Pack up all the misfit toys (a.k.a. the ones the kids never played with but always seemed to be lying around) into the two large totes, mentioned above and banish them to the basement.
- Pick up the remaining toys into the four clear totes pictured. Except there's actually five.
- Establish and implement the following rule: Only one tote can be 'dumped out' (Miss Peaches' favorite mode of removal from the totes) at a time. If they want to play with the toys in a different tote, they must first pick up the toys that are currently 'dumped out' and put them away before we open a new one.
We also use the baskets in this shelf for miscellaneous odds and ends, books and puzzles...
Notice that my methods do not completely eliminate toys from being hither and thither, but they do cut down the mess quite a bit. And sometimes... Sometimes... I even convince Miss Peaches to 'dump out' the toys inside of the play yard and play with them in it, making it a snap to pick them up when she's done.
See? And look... She's smiling. She likes it.
At first, to be perfectly honest, I wasn't sure how this was going to go. Would they actually be able to handle putting the toys away and not having all of them at their fingertips? In the beginning there were a few tears and meltdows (and the kids had a hard time with it too) but together we have overcome, and let me tell you, when Miss Peaches puts away a whole box of toys all by herself, I almost shed tears of joy.
I've decided to start calling myself 'Mother Stewart.'
You know, like Martha Stewart?
Because at this point in time I feel like my organizational skills are right up to par with hers.
And because I'm a mother.
And because mother sounds like Martha when you say it fast enough.
Now if I can only get them to start washing and folding their own laundry, all will be right with the world.