There is only so much room. The truckload of Christmas presents that my kids receive every year forces our family to make tough decisions. We cannot add 10 cubic yards of new toys to our home without removing an equal volume of something else.
My wife begins the purging process a couple of months before Christmas, loading bags and boxes to be dropped off at local thrift stores. However, she usually drags the kids along with her to make the donation. Without fail, the kids talk their mother into buying more crap at the thrift store than she originally drops off.
It makes the most sense to get rid of old toys to make room for new toys but children are never keen on getting rid of toys. They protest the disposal of any toy – no matter how old or useless – with all the determination of those students in Tiananmen Square in the late 1980’s.
If they see colored plastic in the trash, they fish it out whether they know what it is or not. Once, Callum rescued the remains of an empty biscuit tube from the trash because he thought it was a Slinky.
It becomes a battle of wills. We can’t throw toys out when the kids are awake, but we rarely have the energy to do anything once we get them down for the night. There is a set of musical bells that I would have tossed years ago, but the risk of waking a sleeping child as I run off with a box of bells is just too great.
We thought we were left with only two choices.
- Start removing non-toy items from our home to make more room for toys. I calculated that by simply getting rid of our refrigerator, living room couch and the bath tub, we could easily house this year’s haul.
- Buy less. However, this plan, which we have actually implemented the past two years, has been sabotaged by the generosity of grandparents. If we cut the number of presents we purchase in half, the Grandparents counter by tripling their buying for the year.
That led us to a third option: drop the kids at their grandparents’ house for a few days after Christmas so we can throw away all of their crap while they are gone.
Where there is a will, there’s a way.