I wish I could enjoy Christmas and birthdays more, but after a few hours of unwrapping, smiling, filming, oohing and aahing, one thing always brings me back down to Earth: all of this new stuff has to go somewhere.
It's then that I panic. My face and neck get itchy and my eye begins to twitch. I break a sweat looking around my living room. Then, I try to escape, running wildly towards my bedroom. I fling my body onto my bed and attempt to
smother hide my face from the growing toy army that's emerged in my living quarters, only to find myself in a sea of floating legos and miscellanous toy parts that have managed to make a fort inside my sheets.
This year, it's particularly bad. Chase had his first genuine "gifting" birthday (i.e. - he can get stuff that we didn't already own from Conner's babyhood) coupled with Christmas and BAM! I'm in an asylum, forever.
The playroom's walls are officially completely lined. In some spots, the toys go two and three wide towards the center of the room. I've installed a fisherman's casting net in one corner to store all 4.5 years of stuffed animals (WHY ON EARTH DO WE OWN SO MANY STUFFED ANIMALS?). I have one incomplete set of shelves and a small bookcase. The toy bin is full and has been that way for a year. The secondary toy bin is now also full (big sigh).
So when my living room looked as if a hoarder moved in late Christmas day, I had to take immediate action: Target.
After years of searching for a sturdy, yet affordable, organization and shelving system, I stumbled into the mecca known as Target and emerged victorious with one 9-cube organizer (on sale for $39.99!). I was hesitant about it being made of particle board, but surprisingly, this is very sturdy and as well-made as an item fabricated from particle board can be.
The next ordeal came when I realized I had to actually sift through the large heaps of toys, seperate and organize into categories.
This shelf would have to reside in Conner's room, not the playroom (and since then, we've purchased one just for Chase's room), so the toys I would store in it needed to be the ones that Conner played with more than Chase. Having children so close in age means they do share a good bit of toys, but it also means when one wanders into Conner's room to play, so does the other.
I began sifting through the new toys - robots, Star Wars, action figures and swords. Each needed to be put in a bin with those items most similar, to avoid a battle between Yoda and Bumble Bee, naturally.
The categorizing was the most daunting. Do Transformers count as robots or vehicles? Can all action figures be placed in the same reciprocal, or do Stars Wars and Terminators need to be housed separately? Do swords need a special place away from lightsabers? What about "grenade launchers"? And nunchuks? Can I place them all in a bin labeled 'armaments'? If so, do the 5 masks belong there too?
For now, this works. I'm just hoping we won't need to buy the empty lot behind us by next Christmas.