Clutter Thy Name Is Toys

Nothing accents your dining room quite like a lampshade and weebles!

Hi, I’m Christy and I’m a recovering neatnik.  Once upon a time I was renowned for being “the girl who loves to throw out everything”.  And I still enjoy throwing things out.  The problem is simple.  Most of the stuff in my house isn’t really my stuff.

Everyone tells you how your life will change after you have kids.  You’ll never sleep again.  You’ll never have sex again.  You’ll never go on date night again.  You’ll never see another movie.  And you’ll never see life in quite the same way.

Some of this is true.  Some of it is definitely not.

What no one mentioned to me is that my house would slowly be taken over by clutter.  It was a gradual progression, as we accumulated both more kids and more of the stuff that comes with them.  After our first kid, our house was still pretty reasonable.  The dishes were always done right after meals.  I would clean up the messy areas at night before I went to bed, and we only needed to do about one load of laundry a day for things to stay reasonably tidy.

Today as I look around my house, I see a giant dinosaur on the floor, a Cars puzzle, an unfolded basket of socks, and a vacuum.  On my dining room table there’s a painting of cotton candy, paperwork from my son’s school, dental floss, a pair of shorts, and a lampshade.  And I’m pretty sure that lampshade has been sitting on the dining room table for at least six weeks.  I want to move it, but it serves as a reminder that I still haven’t taken my bedroom lamp in to be fixed.  I probably wouldn’t bother except that the lamp was a wedding present… from a close family friend… who passed away last winter.

However, most of the clutter in my house can be explained in one word.  TOYS.  After my nieces were born, I thought the toys would die down as the wealth was spread.  Boy, was I wrong!  If anything, they continued to multiply, and Easter became just like Christmas!  Our house is still reasonable for a house with three young kids, but it looks nothing like it looked before we had children.

All of this is now coming to a head because we are house hunting again.  And our house has to look presentable for days (and possibly even weeks!) at a time.  In fact, the first real estate agent who came to this house explained to me that I was going to have to take care of the “clutter” in the corner of the living room.  I glanced at the (fairly neatly arranged) containers of toys in the living room, and then glanced back at her with raised eyebrows.  (We had even moved our lampshade for this woman, although we later moved it back.)

“Oh, you mean…” I pause solely for effect, “the toys?”

She explained it to me as though I were a small child.  “Yes, the toys.  You’re going to have to clean out all the toys and clutter and put them in the basement before you have an open house.  People will think you have toys in your living room because your house is too small.”

I have a decidedly average size house, however cluttered it may be, and I shrug.  “Sure.”  My husband hates it when I fight with real estate agents (which I’ve been known to do), and I drop the subject.  We do not to sign the dotted line, and she leaves.

I don’t know what’s more fun, the house hunting or putting our house on the market.  And now for the question of the hour…

How do you cheat the Law of Expanding Stuff?

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24 Responses to Clutter Thy Name Is Toys

  1. El Guapo says:

    When I moved in with my girl, I had a duffel bag of clothes and books, a couple of guitars and a stereo.
    Now we own furniture and stuff.
    Sorry, can’t help you…

  2. Ha, Weebles!! Although mine are the old-school ones.

    I have never mastered the ability to contain stuff and keep it from expanding all over the place. I lived in a tiny studio apartment for 12 years, and when I finally moved out, I was stunned at how much stuff I had managed to cram in there without even realizing it. So if you learn the secret, please pass it on.

  3. How do I cheat the Law of Expanding Stuff? Ignore it and hope the Hoarders show doesn’t show up in my front yard!

  4. clownonfire says:

    L&L,
    I’m a magnanimous being. And I’d like to help. Please send me your Bert toy. This should un-clutter your life, somewhat. When should we expect it? Could you also wrap it in $20 bills?
    Le Clown

    • I am happy to give you Bert as well as honoring any other toy requests.

      I’m not going to wrap it in $20 bills, but only because you’re Canadian and I wouldn’t want to burden you with having to exchange it for the proper currency.

  5. Hobbles says:

    Painfully true. I look around and get too depressed to clean. ;)

  6. The key for me has been to move every 2 years or so. Great opportunity to purge. Now that I rent a house though, I think I’m screwed. I usually keep the house pretty tidy, but my office is always controlled chaos.

  7. Now that my kids are a bit older, I’ve noticed it doesn’t look like a Toys R Us exploded in our house. Still, there are severed Lalaloopsy heads and hot wheels trails on the floor. I have managed to just throw everything in one closet we’ve set aside just for the misc. toy junk. Unfortunately, there’s a mountain of crap in there so if I open the door it’s like an avalanche.

  8. Since my little girl decided to join us in the world my clutter level has gone through the roof. In fact, the clutter probably outscores the useful stuff by about 3 to 1 now. It is amazing how many broken toys and toys with no batteries in them there are around the place.
    We live in England now so we decided that it was time to look at some self storage UK solutions. It turns out that it is easy to organise but my partner wants to put our little girl into storage as well now.

    • Yes, we are going through the tail end of the toddler years too. There’s a lot of screaming, hitting, and broken toys. My beautiful three-year-old daughter is suddenly this little banshee who beats up her older brothers… And they let her.

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