Yep, I'll swallow my pride and tell you it is me, not them.
My kids toys stress me out. In fact all the things - toys, papers, bills, clothes, work folders - can stress me out when I think about how cluttered with extra STUFF my life can be. However all of my stuff I can shove in my closet or make a semi-neat pile and it's okay. But the girls toys are are different story
Evidence of the play path...
When the girls don't clean up their toys in a timely manner or I have to ask them for the tenth time to JUST CLEAN UP! I get frustrated with them and their stuff. Sometimes I take the toys they don't clean up away and other times I'll just wait (after begging and raising my voice) for them to clean it up.
I know my kids are being kids. I should be savoring these moments, right? They won't be little forever.
Right, I get it.
I don't what to be a mom that is uptight about our house being pristine. I want our house feel like home. I want our house to feel (and consequently look) lived it.
But I don't want my home to have toys everywhere at all times.
Is it possible or is it an oxymoron?
The girls have a habit of making a mess in one room and going to another and going to another and then going upstairs and dumping the toys boxes. So that is four different places for them to spread their treasures and play and dress up and create.
Peacefully at play... Ask me how long that lasted! : )
But that's four places that took them less than 5 minutes to take apart and can take them upwards of an hour to clean up and lots of encouraging and timer setting threats on our part.
Onward march to the puzzles... and M's box of toys
It drives me crazy that I let myself get upset with my kids over their lackluster clean up ways. I should have bigger things to worry/stress/get upset over, right? I don't want to yell at them (but sometimes it happens) to clean up their stuff. I would just rather them clean it up quickly the first time I ask - but they are kids so that's not a terribly reasonable expectation.
I would rather them have less stuff to clean up because then they'd clean up quicker. Quite possible. Taking away the toys they cannot clean up after 20 minutes or whatever the REASONABLE given clean up time has helped. They really don't miss too many things. However, this timed clean up leads to E SCREAMING at R to CLEAN UP. Then I am reminded that's what I probably sound like aside from the fact the volume is excessive; or wait, my volume is probably excessive and E is just a recording of me. I've talked to a few other parents who have a similar system of limiting toy quantities and rotating them in and out of commission. Sounds like a good idea and every night the floors are picked up. And if don't yell and worry about the mess until the clean up time then I'm golden. So I am adopting a stress free clean up mentality.
Little Legos + baby = no bueno
I would rather them have fewer spaces to play so their play (mess) is contained. We used to keep their kitchen in our kitchen/dining room. Last week we moved it into their room so that is one less space to have their stuff. This has been awesome. We opted to keep the kitchen accessible to M because she cannot go upstairs unsupervised (actually she has made her way upstairs all by herself unnoticed - #thirdchildprobs but we've since gotten a gate) and E just got little Legos that even a 2.5 yr old doesn't need to have their hands on. In the girls' room there is a box for stuffed animals - because they NEED them for tea parties, a box for Legos and all kitchen items belong in the kitchen - either in the frig, dishwasher or oven. Yes their room can get torn apart in a heartbeat and E and R might come out screaming they've stepped on a Lego and their foot hurts BUT it is an improvement for my sanity.
Their kitchen used to line that wall with 2 pieces on one side of the case thing - whatever that fancy word is for the holder of all the dishes you'd use if you didn't have kids - and one right by the kids table. It was a tight squeeze
I hate that I even stress about such meaningless things like cleaning up toys but all I can say is I'm working on it : )
PS - For the sake of fairness and comparison here was the view from my office in December...
Yeah it was bad. Does that stress me out? Yep it does but I can turn off the light when I leave and not think about it- whereas the toys and clutter at home really makes me consider how cluttered our/my life is. Makes me think how stuff of such little value takes up my time when I really could and should focus my head and heart on things that matter.