Well, it’s been quite awhile since I’ve given an update on our toy experiment. Here is the post where I started by taking every toy in the house and here is the next update. I figure after this much time, it’s time for a wrap up.
So, how, you might ask, did the toy experiment go? I think I could sum it up with one word.
Yup. I know that’s not what you want to hear but it did. It failed miserably. I can see potential in it though! And technically, it improved our massive toy explosion situation so it wasn’t a total failure.
It really shouldn’t have failed. That was my fault.
Here’s what happened. A little at a time, the boys requested back a toy until they had what I considered the perfect equilibrium. They didn’t ask for more. They put away the ones they had. They had enough that they didn’t fight over any. There were even a few extras for when friends came over. My kitchen never had any toys on the floor to trip over. Casey’s bedroom never completely drowned in toys. It was nice. And I got comfortable. And lax.
I kept the confiscated toy pile in my closet with the door closed. One day, my husband took my oldest on a road trip. It was just me and my little guy and I realized I am ill equipped to entertain a 1 1/2 year old now! He got into stuff…like, pretty much everything. Dishes out, cereal on the floor, bookshelf emptied… And finally, he found his way into the toy closet. And I was relieved he wasn’t destroying the rest of the house and let him play. My mistake was in not putting all the toys back in the closet before his older brother came home. Oh the excitement Casey showed over these new treasures! And then it reminded him of toys he had forgotten about and he started asking for them. And then the two boys thought they could get into the toys whenever they wanted and take them all out of hiding. And now I have a closet with some random blocks, a stuffed animal, and a few action figures and a house that is, once again, completely overrun with toys.
In order to make this a success, here are the things I would do differently:
- Keep the toys well hidden, guarded, or even locked up. Kids will find ways to get into them if you don’t.
- Don’t allow a “free day” because it will remind your kids of toys they didn’t really like enough to remember originally but that seem extra awesome because they are now “new.”
- Set a date to get rid of any unrequested toys and stick to it. I said our timeframe would be 1 month. Here I am, well over that and a failure. If I had actually gotten the toys out at 1 month like I said I would, this experiment would have been a raging success.
- Never get lazy or lax. If you think you’ve only got a 2 weeks worth of “staying strong” in you, make that your date. Relaxing the rules = abandoning the rules. Abandoning the rules = no change from before the experiment.
Might I try again? Yeah probably. I think I’ll try to get the few remaining toys gone as soon as possible and then we might start completely over with confiscating all of them…but only if they become a problem again. So far, telling Casey I’ll take them back if they are left out has been pretty good motivation to clean up.
Sorry it’s taken so long to give you an update. Learn from my mistakes and if you try this experiement with a lot of success, please, comment how you did it so others can learn from your wise ways!