I have a confession: I have way too many containers.
You know that entire section in Target devoted to storage units? And all those adorable canvas totes that come in every nursery color scheme imaginable? And every baby shower gift you ever got that came shrink-wrapped in a culturally accepted gender-specific designer basket?
I have them all. All the containers. Not for anything fun like my short-lived scrapbooking hobby, or all of the expensive make-up I no longer buy, or even for my now-tangled jumble of costume jewelry.
Nope. I keep all the containers for one thing: my kids’ toys.
Both of my children have a legitimate toy box we bought from a legitimate toy store that was legitimately labeled “toy box” on the toy store shelf. They also each have a couple of multi-drawer storage bins with those adorable canvas totes. My son ALSO has two large plastic containers that slide under his bed to store his legos. My daughter ALSO ALSO has a LITERAL HOUSE (granted, it’s a play house, but it’s one of those little one-room plastic houses meant for the backyard and somehow, it ended up in the corner of her bedroom) for all of her stuffed animals.
What I mean to say is…I have a confession: my kids have too. much. stuff.
Every year or so (“or so” obviously meaning like, twice in the last decade) we go through their toys and collect things for a garage sale, Goodwill, or the nursery at our church. And every year (or so) I wonder, how in the world did we collect so much stuff, and how are we not on American Hoarders Story*?
Between three sets of grandparents, six sets of aunts & uncles, Christmases, birthdays, and the clearance aisles after every major holiday, my kids have managed to collect EIGHTEEN containers stuffed to the gills. In case you’re wondering, I just did a quick mental count of all the OFFICIAL toy containers in my house – this doesn’t include the random bins in our junk closet. Oh, most of us have junk drawers, right? Well, we Buttrams have a junk CLOSET.
I don’t even want to guess how many of those toys began their lives as cheap kids’ meal trinkets.
At this point, my son has outgrown most toys that aren’t an iSomething, but he keeps a lot of his toys for his sister to play with, or to give away to his younger cousins whenever they come to visit (did I mention my son is THE BEST KID EVER?). But my daughter seems to remember every toy she’s ever gotten, and pulls one from the memory vault when it’s past bedtime (as in, “Mommy, remember when I got that Olaf lovey for Christmas and we saw Frozen in the big theater with Grams and Pops SIX HUNDRED SLEEPS AGO? That’s what I want for nighttime.”).
Yeah. All. The. Toys.
But not for long. The next free weekend we have, we are PURGING. I’m not even going to look at what’s in the toy boxes that haven’t been cracked open in months. We’re driving them down to the Goodwill AS IS. We’re rounding up every action figure and half-naked doll and finding them new homes. We are going ALL-IN, EXTREME-TOY-MAKEOVER STYLE, MAMA CAN’T STOP WON’T STOP.
Because, let’s just be honest—Christmas is only three months away, and we’re gonna need the room.
*I just now decided to copyright that title for a reality television show I’m going to pitch soon, so SWIPER, NO SWIPING.
Ideas from Around the Web
- Stay At Home Moms: Where to Donate Toys
- Moneycrashers: Where to Donate Toys, 9 Places to Consider
- The Stir: Five Awesome Charities that Accept Used Toys
- Real Simple: How to Donate Kids’ Toys & Clothes
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Jessica Buttram parents, writes, laughs, and eats too much chocolate. She has no practical advice and zero life hacks to offer for this whole parenting gig, but she makes a mean grilled cheese sandwich, and that’s something, right? When she’s not bribing her kids with Doritos to make them sit still and snuggle for just a few minutes longer, she can probably be found vacuuming Dorito crumbs out of the couch. Her family is her whole world, except for the part that belongs to coffee. You can find her @jbuttwhatwhat and meetthebuttrams.com.