My life, since it became seriously infested with children, has become an exercise in managing small pieces of plastic. Not a day goes by when I'm not confronted with the challenge of what to do with myriad bits of colourful crap.
We must have over a hundred Barbie hairbrushes, dozens of tiny tubs of body glitter, a hundred dollar-store golf clubs; balls, hockey sticks and pucks. My husband was pouring himself a cup of tea recently and was not surprised in the least when a Monopoly hotel surfed out of the kettle spout. And don't even get me started on those valuable little add-ons they include in Happy Meals.
Finding storage solutions
Once every few months, I feel the weight of the plastic too heavily and commit myself to getting a handle on it. From there, it's off to Ikea and Canadian Tire, returning home with storage solutions. I whirl through the family room, dumping one toy bin after another onto the floor. The children are forbidden from entering the playroom during this time: after all, this work is not kid's stuff.
Great organizing tips
Confronted with the full bounty of my family's plastic stash, I set about introducing order. The first step is to confine the mess to categories. There's the "animal" section, into which I herd an amazing number of tiny plastic rabbits, sheep, elephants and turtles. There's the "transportation" section for plastic cars, motorbikes, fire trucks and boats. I start an "accessories" category to house Barbie's tiny pumps, Madeline's belts and Polly Pocket's hand mirrors. I even nominate one plastic tub for “balls” and take great delight in tossing dozens of rubber orbs into its midst.
How to clear clutter
Occasionally, I am faced with great dilemmas, like whether to put Finn's plastic dress-up shoes with the “girl make-believe” stuff or in the “boy imaginative-play” bin. And I wrestle constantly with miscellanea whose origins I am unable to accurately determine. Then, I assign one large tub “sundry” and vow to return to it later.
At the end of it all, I am spent. The intricate Kinder-Egg booty has all been sorted, the checker disks have been locked in the “games” box and the ears from Mr. Potato Heads have been tucked into the rear ends of their hosts. The McDonald's toys have been sorted into two piles: "trash" and "collectibles." And every last plastic piece has been assigned a home.
I take a deep breath, filled with the sweetness of order and reason. And then I holler to my husband, “Release the hounds!” The kids rush in, no doubt smelling the promise of freshly systemized plastic.
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