Yesterday morning during my shower, my older son lost his toothbrush. I spent quite a few minutes looking for it, since it's the third one he's lost recently. I had had enough of the clutter and disarray. I snapped, but not in an angry sense. I piled all of the boys belongings - toys, clothes, diapers - into a giant pile in the center of their room, and another in the living room. Their room's pile was chest high to me, with only the furniture at the perimeter of the room. Then, I got a trash bag, and bagged up the toys given to them that I wanted to give away. While piling this up, I saw just how large the volume of gifts is in our house. I had purchased three or four of these toys, none of the clothes (they've outgrown the ones I made), and made most of the diapers. Well, the diapers we'll keep. However, the toys are too many to even be counted, much less enjoyed. I spent most of the rest of the day organizing the remaining toys. I filled their toy box with the toys to share. I have two extra bins of toys, sorted one for each boy. The corner is filled with stuffed animals. I'll assemble an extra bin to store these. On the bottom shelf below the toys, their books have a place for now. I'll sort out those to keep and those to sell. Currently, their clothes are in a pile, waiting to be sorted into clean/store/hang up/wear. This will take the longest time, but at least the pile is at the bottom of the closet. The bag of toys is waiting in the laundry room, in case I change my mind or find extra parts. Happily, I found some missing pieces to toys they do play with and returned them to together. I was amazed what a huge difference such a small bag of toys made. The boys have plenty, but they only had a small portion of too much. I feel relieved that I got on top of this before they really did get too many, and they couldn't be easily organized in one day. Now, they can enjoy them, and put them away at the end of the day. The same will be true of clothes, soon, although I'll need help from the weather to line dry all those. Having grown up in chaos, disorder and excess, I want to spare my children that toy environment. I know how much more they will enjoy playing and living with freedom to walk around, and find their favorites. Vespers will be an easier time as well. It shouldn't take but ten minutes or so to put whatever they get out back into the organized places. Before we lived in the Cottage, there wasn't a place for everything. Now that there is, it's such a joy to have everything in its place.
Oh, and I did eventually find where he put his toothbrush - the trash can! I did all that organizing and it wasn't even in his room.