And I’m not even talking about work here. No, it’s about the stuff in our home leading to The Incredibly Shrinking House. I accept responsibility for my overpurchases, previously justified by some “need” for the kids. My latest purchase? A custom cut-mirror (think Montessori) for the playroom. And another child-size chair for learning how to eat at their child-size table.
I ascribe to many of the basic tenants of Montessori – simple, non-brightly colored, non-battery operated toys that allow a child to explore and discover without a button or sound that prescribes exactly what should happen with said object as the child passively observes. This is not to say that we don’t have brightly colored, battery operated toys, because holy crap do we! I think it’s more of wanting to have a more simple, Montessor-like environment because it
looks cleaner and provides suitable justification for purging the house of plastic objects, and promotes independence.
But no matter my intentions, the more commercially available objects still find their way into our home. And if I’m guilty by reason of insanity for acquiring those objects, then friends and family are complicit. They are the reason we now have four walker/ride-on toys, three sit and spin four-legged creatures, five different sets of Little People things, and a fleet of flexible cars, trucks, and trains.
All I’m trying to get to here is that one day, we wake up, and we’re humming the tunes to any number of toys and there’s no more storage space for “rotating” them in and out, and the two moms are having a little tiff over all the shit everywhere even though technically, it’s all put away in it’s proper place.
Prior to their first birthday, when we got to this brink, I’d simply put the objects, the objects purchased from Craigslist or our mother’s of multiples group, back up for sale on Craigslist or through my mother’s of multiples group. That was easy, because more often than not, we had actually made the purchase. Dust to dust and all that. Turns out, by the time I resell a toy and net the initial purchase cost from the sale cost, , I’ve essentially “rented” it for a period of time, only expending about 0%-10% of its retail price. Wicked.
Post first-birthday, however, I’m not sure what to do with a lot of the stuff, but all I know is that we can’t keep it all either because we won’t use it, it’s a multiple, or because we simply don’t have the storage space.
I could sell it (my preference – need diapers), but do I need to tell the gifter that? And if I don’t, but they come around asking “does Mateo like the SMART bounce and spin pony, the one that interacts WIRELESSLY with the television?”, (I am not even kidding.) THEN what? Or I could donate it, donate it with some batteries to an organization that will ultimately hand it out to someone in need who may or may not have additional batteries and may or may not have a wireless router. Or I could hang onto it like the Bibles received as gifts over the years (I was a Young Life’r and I went to Baylor University for undergrad so HELLO? BIBLES.) Because I mean seriously, how do you throw away a Bible? But I digress.
And when you conclude that yes, you’ll keep one, maybe even two battery-operated walker/push-toy car-ish thingies, what is the criteria for deciding which one(s) will face the firing squad? Is it how little (or how much) sound it makes? Color neutrality (we have boy/girl twins)? Toughness of the plastic? Fewest Batteries? The taller ones so they can grow into?
How do YOU go about addressing the multiple-objects-of-the-same-basic-thing, provided you do NOT have space to store and rotate out fourteen sets of nesting boxes? And what, if anything, do you tell the gifter?