Why I Took My Kids’ Toys Away

My wife is something of a hoarder. Now, as it happens, I have saved my half of the slip of paper that I tore so that we could write down each other’s phone numbers back when we were about 22, but she saves old catalogs and phone books (phone books!) from years ago. Sometimes, when the clutter in my house gets too much to handle, I will Google for “tiny homes” or “rv floor plans” and imagine a life with less stuff. It’s not likely to happen, so instead, I just read things like this:

Why-I-took-all-my-kids-toys-away-why-they-wont-get-them-back-a-MUST-read-for-any-parent-who-has-struggled-with-too-much-stuffIn the weeks that followed, Husband and I talked a lot about how we were going to handle this lack of contentment we were noticing in our eldest daughter. Then one morning near the end of July, after telling my kids to clean their room for the umpteenth time, I made the somewhat impulsive–albeit pre-warned–decision to take away ALL their stuff.

Just 2 days earlier I had spent half the day cleaning their room & re-organizing their toys and closet, which is something I do fairly regularly. I wasn’t asking them to clean some giant out-of-control mess, just to pick up a few items off the floor and put them away in the very clearly labeled baskets. Every time I came back to check on them, they had not only NOT picked up, they had made an even bigger mess.

I finally gave up and took it all away. I wasn’t angry, just fed up. I calmly began packing up not just a toy or two, but every single thing. All their dress-up clothes, baby dolls, Polly Pockets, & stuffed animals, all their Barbies, building blocks, and toy trains, right down to the the furniture from their dollhouse and play food from their kitchen. I even took the pretty Pottery Barn Kids comforter from their bed. The girls watched me in stunned silence for a few minutes and then, when the shock wore off, they helped. And just like that, their room was clean. —Living Well and Spending Less.