“Toy Purge” by Chris Zito

Vince’s 5th birthday is in 27 days, followed only 66 days later by Christmas. Up to now we’ve managed to not let the toys take over the house. It takes a concerted effort.


Without the occasional purge we’d end up on an episode of Hoarders in no time.

When Kimi and I were house hunting we saw several homes where the parents had given up grown up space to their kids. One house had turned their formal dining room into a playroom. Toys and games filled the built-in hutches. Art supplies covered the table. The kids’ rooms were also filled with toys. The master bedroom was the only toy free zone in the place. Apparently no playing in there. Oh well.


There must be a strict no-fun zone somewhere in the house.
Might I suggest the home office?

The key is containment. Not just a place for everything and all that, but a limit on where toys are stored in the house. In our house most of the toys are downstairs in the family room. There is one shelf in the parlor. There are toys in the boy’s bedroom. That’s it. Containment.


Toys spread like a virus if you’re not careful.

Vince has grown up with this routine. Every fall before his birthday we go through the toys and games. What’s broken? What’s got pieces missing? What’s for little kids? The trouble with this approach is that Vince is a bit of a neat freak. He likes his stuff put together and in its place whenever he’s done playing with it. This leads to less breakage, fewer missing pieces, and every now and then, panic. And it leaves very few damaged items to be chucked.


Teddy Bears ready for inspection, sir!

The whole thing comes down to appealing to his charitable side. “Some of these toys you don’t play with anymore can go to a kid that doesn’t have a lot of toys to play with.” Vince likes this approach. His face lights up when he picks up a toy that’s brought him hours of fun and thinks about some other kid enjoying it. He happily places it in the ‘give away’ pile.
Then later I chuck it.
Hey, I said the kid was neat…for a four-year old! These toys take a serious beating. They are mostly all done when he is.


“Looks like my crime fighting days are over, old chum.”

Bring on the party and the fat guy in the red suit! We got room.

Thanks for reading. Tell your pals.
Chris Zito

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3 Responses

  1. Hey, buster, we had toys in the dining room at the old place. Only had the dining room and two others. Maybe that explains it.

  2. Once again a brilliant blog. I did the same routine with my daughter but it really didn’t work that well because she “needed that” and she “needed this” lol…anyway….keep up the good work!

  3. makes me want to have kids just so I can have some cool toys…. lol

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