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TVRodriguez
11-30-16, 3:58pm
So I'm getting further through my own stuff with the Marie Kondo method (still have to do the kitchen and some other things, plus want to help DH sort his stuff if he wants). But then I look at my house and realize how much STUFF I have for my kids. Or how much stuff my kids have. Trying to figure out how to declutter it in a fair manner. My kids are 5, 7, and 9. Not babies but not really big kids. I confess that I've never been good about getting rid of their stuff. I used to sort it a few times a year and toss anything broken and unfixable and some horrible loud toys, but overall I've let quite a bit accumulate.

Another mom at school (whose house is amazingly clutter-free) told me that she held 3 garage sales. I hate to hold garage sales (haven't done it for myself ever, only did it for my mom when I lived at home). But I'm thinking about it--it might encourage the kids to be willing to part with their stuff if I let them keep the money from the toy sales (which is all I would plan to sell--my own stuff I just give away). I

've had other moms tell me just to be ruthless and toss/give away what I know they don't use and to do it when I'm alone in the house. The thing is: they use SO MUCH of it. Yes, some more than others, but if they see it, then they want to keep it. I did manage to sort through much of my daughter's stuff over the summer while I did my big Konmari cleanout kickstart, and that was good, but there is so much more. And Christmas is coming -- with more stuff (different topic--not going there now).

How have those of you with kids handled this? Those without who were kids--how did your parents handle it? Or other thoughts, ideas, suggestions? Maybe I'm asking just to keep stalling and putting this off!!

iris lilies
11-30-16, 4:03pm
I thought craploads of plastic stuff was just one of the things you have to bear with children the age of yours. Soon they will be out of that stage, wanting expensive electronics, clothing, sporting equipment. While those present their own storage challenges, they are not as bad as the toys you now have.

Teacher Terry
11-30-16, 4:18pm
I would do it when they were not home as my 3 boys would not willingly part with stuff. Foster kids are really hard on toys so I gave it to foster homes and they were really grateful to get it.

TVRodriguez
11-30-16, 5:10pm
Well il, there's craploads and then there's CRAPLOADS. I'd prefer to have the former.

Teacher Terry, did you ever get any pushback from your kids when you got rid of things?

Tammy
11-30-16, 6:26pm
I often had my kids choose a bunch of their toys to give to the church nursery. They still got to see their toys when they were at church.

Teacher Terry
11-30-16, 6:53pm
No but I only got rid of stuff that they did not play with or were too old for.

Chicken lady
11-30-16, 9:59pm
My kids were always more willing to get rid of stuff than I was, so it wasn't really a problem for me, but I never tossed stuff without their input. I believe in treating kids as fellow humans and respecting their property rights, so unless I would think it was ok for them to go through my stuff without permission and give away whatever they thought I had outgrown or didn't use, I wouldn't do that to them.

Miss Cellane
11-30-16, 10:10pm
I think learning how to sort through stuff and decide what to keep and what to let go is an important life skill that parents need to teach their kids.

My parents didn't. They would wait until we weren't home and go through our stuff and throw things away. They did not always make good choices.

And as a result, I'm more of a packrat than I want to be.

So my suggestion is to figure out a limit for the toys and other stuff. All the books that fit into these two bookcases, for example. All the Lego that fits into a specific bin. The top 25 stuffed animals (either for the household or per kid).

And then work with the kids on how to choose which toys to keep and which to let go. This time of year, you can use the argument that they need to make room for the new stuff that will be coming with the holidays. Or that a new year is about to start, and part of getting ready for that is passing on things they've outgrown.

And you can make blanket rules, like anything that is broken has to go.

One of the problems you are facing is that with three kids close in age, things the oldest might have outgrown are still attractive to one or the other of the younger kids, so do keep that in mind.

Zoe Girl
11-30-16, 11:00pm
I agree that having the kids do this themselves is an important life skill. My kids did a pretty good job at it, I worked it different ways. One time I had them get to keep a certain amount of stuff, like a laundry basket of stuffed animals. Other times I would have them pick a certain number of items or just decide what they wanted to share with other kids. My middle kid had the hardest time getting rid of things, and my girls couldn't have a lot of stuffed animals in their rooms due to allergies. So I got creative and had her pick out many stuffed animals that went on a 'cruise to the Caribbean'. They went into a storage tub for a long time and she could trade toys in and out of the box. When she got a little older she had no problem getting rid of them.

So I say start with the kids having a voice in this and see if you hit any roadblocks, then get creative!

Teacher Terry
12-1-16, 2:02pm
None of my 3 kids hoards at all as adults. Also they had input once they got old enough to help make decisions. But I never consulted with a 2yo. My oldest would often help me decide when the other 2 were too little.

Teacher Terry
12-1-16, 2:43pm
I have always like psychologist's John Rosemond's style of parenting. Basically it is old fashioned advice which is how many of us were raised and I am not talking about physical punishment which he does not recommend. So he would say that those little humans don't have property because it is residing in the parents home that they pay for. Basically the family is not a democracy. The parents are in charge and their relationship with each other is the primary focus. The belief is that if the parents are strong, happy and united then the kids will be happy and feel secure. Therefore, with small kids there is no need to explain, reason etc. Because I said so is good enough. BTW we are talking little kids here. So you would not have little kids making choices about what to wear, etc. That is a privilege that comes with age. No helicoptering parenting either. So kids get to make age appropriate decisions. Before that time the parents decide. For instance i never asked my kids when they were younger then 5 what they wanted to wear, etc. Giving choices too early leads to negotiating with a 2 ft tall terrorist:~). I have to say that I could take my kids anywhere and they behaved. Many parents now have out of control kids. It is really sad because both the kids and their parents don't get invited to people's homes, etc because no one wants to put up with that.

TVRodriguez
12-1-16, 3:16pm
Thanks for the thoughts, all! It's so great to get feedback on this topic! I love the different perspectives here.

Over the summer, while I did the big cleanout of my own stuff, my daughter (age 7) asked me to do hers. I had her sit with me and go through much of it, but she eventually got tired and told me that she'd rather if I do it and that she trusted me to keep what was good and let go of whatever I wanted. After several hours of my work, she returned to her room, squealed with glee and thanked me profusely for cleaning up her space (under her loft bed). That worked with her for the things that only she plays with (mainly more traditionally girl's toys like dolls and princess stuff). The challenge in doing it with the boys also will be that there is so much of it and they all play with much of it.

Generally I do like the idea that kids over age 4 should have some say. I also like the idea that it is a parent's duty to teach this skill. My mom was not great at it (like me!) and would let us keep stuff for a long time and then suddenly something favorite would disappear. I still remember at age 4 picking my favorite dresses out of the give-away box when I spied the corner of the fabric buried under other items. Sure they were short, but I could still wear them. On the other hand, it's a whole lot simpler and easier to just be the decider and give away or toss the things and clean out the space so that they can actually play with whatever's left. Face it, none of this is stuff that they NEED on a basic level. It's stuff that they want and enjoy and that gives them comfort, but they'll survive if it's not there. I've managed to clean out their closets on occasion with their input. There's just so much stuff that I am put off by this task with the toys.

Okay, I think I will have to follow my own lead (which fits in with some points here) on what I did with my daughter a few months ago. Enlist them in the project and tell them that there will be xxx amount of space for each of them to keep particular toys and xxx amount of space for common toys. That they can choose or I can choose--and not in a threatening manner but offering to do the work if they are not interested--with the warning that I might not know what they like best if I do it all myself. I'll remind them that we need to make space for Christmas gifts that are going to come.

I haven't decided what to do with the potential castoffs yet. I checked with the local children's hospital, and they don't accept used toys. Neither does our local Toys for Tots. Sigh. It's looking like Goodwill or Salvation Army again unless I get the motivation to hold a yard sale.

Chicken lady
12-1-16, 3:41pm
I actually kept the baby toys until they were big enough to express a lack of interest (and still packed away my favorites) but as for clothes - my theory was, I buy the clothes, so that's where my decision making comes in. If you are old enough to dress yourself, you are old enough to choose your clothing. (If you are not, then yes, I choose) my oldest was dressing herself before she was three. By the time she was 4 she was dressing her brother.

i let them be cold. I let them be hot. Not dangerously either (but spending the day wrapped in a baby blanket held closed with safety pins or duct tape will usually make you head advice next time)

my kids were extremely well behaved. I could take them anywhere and we often got compliments. They also related very well with adults in most settings and as adults are excellent at communicating with people, reaching agreement, and getting things done. I actually stink at most of those. We did have one conflict with the minister when one child was a teen. I still hold out that the child was absolutely in the right and I lost all confidence in the minister, but the child now says the entire interaction was age inappropriate.

i'm not convinced that the out of control kid syndrome is caused by too many choices rather than a lack of feeling the consequences of one's choices. TVR's daughter sounds like she has enough experience making her own choices and enough confidence in TVR to both make good choices and know when to delegate.

(when my oldest looks back at pictures of herself in elementary school btw, she castigated me for letting her chose her own clothes - I just shrug and say "you were happy, clean, comfortable, and presentable." Apparently I should have ensured that she was also a decernable gender and not out of date.

Teacher Terry
12-1-16, 5:55pm
Call your state or county social work office and ask if the foster homes would like toys. Where I lived they were always so grateful to get them since foster kids are really hard on toys. I agree CL that many people do not let their kids suffer the consequences of their actions and that is also part of the problem. It just seems like there are a lot more bratty kids then in the old days:))

TVRodriguez
12-2-16, 4:41pm
I called the county social work office, and they said no and referred me to the county switchboard. Called there and they said no one takes used toys that they know of--everyone wants new, unwrapped toys. Sigh. She told me to go to a thrift store.

Now I'm debating the garage sale. But I really hate that idea. Maybe I'll give my kids 25 cents for each toy they donate to Goodwill just to avoid the garage sale but still give them the thrill of earning money for their old things. Or 10 cents. They have a ton of stuff. This could add up quick. Maybe it'll just go to Goodwill sans payment.

Tybee
12-2-16, 6:08pm
I called the county social work office, and they said no and referred me to the county switchboard. Called there and they said no one takes used toys that they know of--everyone wants new, unwrapped toys. Sigh. She told me to go to a thrift store.

Now I'm debating the garage sale. But I really hate that idea. Maybe I'll give my kids 25 cents for each toy they donate to Goodwill just to avoid the garage sale but still give them the thrill of earning money for their old things. Or 10 cents. They have a ton of stuff. This could add up quick. Maybe it'll just go to Goodwill sans payment.

When they were about 12 we participated in a garage sale at my sister-in-law's house and the kids sold all their Beanie Babies. Then they went and bought a Great Pyrennees puppy with the money at a rare breeds livestock show.
It was the best dog we ever had!

TVRodriguez
12-8-16, 3:01pm
This morning I found myself cleaning out some of my kids' toys. The kids were at school, and I didn't plan it, I just did it. I got rid of three kitchen garbage bags full of garbage. Broken toys, random pieces, etc. Three garbage bags full. That was just the garbage. I also brought to goodwill two large rubbermaid containers (about 3-4 garbage bags full of stuff) with toys that no one has played with in years. Most of it is suitable for toddlers. As a reminder, my kids are 5, 7, and 9. Some of it was stuff that they received as gifts and played with for a bit but that fell out of favor and that I never liked. Some of it was happy meal toys. It was especially nice to get rid of some of the noisy plastic crap. Most of it was plastic, only some of it was noisy. I may still have the kids go through the rest of the stuff with me this weekend and ask them to choose some things to discard. I kept some of the smaller birthday-party-favor type things to give to the kindergarten teacher to use in her treasure box.

catherine
12-8-16, 3:20pm
I know it's not really solving the problem, but can you do that trick where you put most of the toys in a plastic bin in a storage area (like garage or attic) and rotate the toys every so often to make the "new" again in the eyes of the kids?

If that's not possible I think Miss Cellane has some great points about having certain size bins/shelves and allowing no more than what fits on/in them.

TVRodriguez
12-8-16, 3:38pm
I know it's not really solving the problem, but can you do that trick where you put most of the toys in a plastic bin in a storage area (like garage or attic) and rotate the toys every so often to make the "new" again in the eyes of the kids?

If that's not possible I think Miss Cellane has some great points about having certain size bins/shelves and allowing no more than what fits on/in them.

I was thinking about Miss Cellane's idea. Give each kid an area/couple of shelves/couple of bins. Might try that.

The other idea (rotating toys) sounds great in theory, but we don't have a garage, and the attic is quite dirty and a critter and bug magnet, meaning I'd have a lot of cleaning in store at the time of rotation, which means that I would never rotate. We have been using shelves in the back bedroom (currently unoccupied) for most of the toys. One wall is 2/3 full of shelves, which are 2-3 feet deep. Five levels of shelves on two units. Each shelf holds two large rubbermaid containers (I guess they are each 18" x 36"). Then there are the toys under my daughter's bed. And the toys that are out on the living room shelves (most legos, card games, and board games). I only got rid of 3-4 large containers' worth of stuff today. There's plenty left.

TVRodriguez
3-16-17, 12:22pm
Toys still abound in my house. But I've made some more headway. This past week, I decided to move all the toys that were in their bedroom into the back bedroom, which is adjacent to the family room. So now, all the toys are in the back bedroom and family room. I've organized most of them into categories. I've given away five more large bags of toys/board games/etc. And I've been keeping a better eye on what's coming in. I still plan to reduce it some more, but it's a bit of slow going. It's loads better than it was, though. I keep skimming "minimal mom" blogs for inspiration. It's helping.

This Saturday I'm going to work on their books. They must have 500 books, some of which are worth discarding (broken beyond repair or just awful books or waaaay too young for them). There is a large (nearly floor to ceiling) bookshelf in their room that is chock full of books, and there are two other full shelves in the family room with children's books. I'm hoping to get rid of enough so that we are left with only the large one in their room. I've been using the library for about a year with them now, so we've stemmed the tide of what's coming in at least. But if I sort them as I replace them on the shelves, that will also help.

I had to tell my 9 year old that he can't keep so many books in his bed anymore. He regularly takes dozens of books to bed in any given week. There must have been 50 books up there (top bunk). He'll have to limit himself to two. My 8 year old does it, too, but she's not as bad at forgetting to return them to the bookshelf.

TVRodriguez
3-16-17, 12:26pm
I realized after posting that I hadn't updated since December. Well, I had managed to reduce some toys before Christmas. But not as much as I'd have liked. So this project continues.

One thing I did find is that my cleaning lady (who is from El Salvador) regularly sends toys and clothes and books back to her family to distribute to people. So she is willing to take a lot of the toys and books. She gets first choice and the rest goes to Goodwill.

Float On
3-16-17, 2:18pm
One thing I did find is that my cleaning lady (who is from El Salvador) regularly sends toys and clothes and books back to her family to distribute to people. So she is willing to take a lot of the toys and books. She gets first choice and the rest goes to Goodwill.

I love that!

beckyliz
3-17-17, 6:21pm
There's lots of good ideas out there for gifts other than toys. Here's one: http://www.raisingmemories.com/2013/12/ultimate-list-100-non-toy-gift-ideas.html

TVRodriguez
3-20-17, 4:33pm
Haven't been able to get folks to get on board with the "gifts other than toys" except for shifting people to books--and we have a ton of books. I went through my kids books this weekend with their help, and we managed to fill two large reusable grocery bags with books we do not need to keep. I still have about 500 books left on their bookshelf, but at least they are organized and we even put labels on the shelves (Non-fiction, Readers, Fairy-tales and Myths, Bible Stories, Harry Potter, Spanish, etc). Overall, still a win in my book.

catherine
3-20-17, 4:39pm
I noticed that my DIL was RUTHLESS when they moved from one home to another. She gave away everything to charity thrift shops. She has no attachment to things.

With regard to my GS, she gets things from second hand stores, so she has no problem "recycling" them whenever he starts to lose interest. It's not like she has money invested in the toys. I think his one constant is his "baby iPad" but other than that, she is completely emotionally detached to stuff. In fact, she's going to have GS#2 in April, and I wonder if she regrets giving away everything she did--which included all kinds of baby equipment, but probably not. I think she prefers a clutter-free house.

Tammy
3-21-17, 12:08am
If you buy second hand and donate as soon as you are done with it - then buy second hand again when second baby is born --- its as if you rented the equipment cause it's so cheap. I love living that way. Clutter free is awesome.

TVRodriguez
8-17-17, 5:24pm
Reviving this old thread because I have made some new progress! Awhile ago (last year maybe) I started reading simplefamilies.com, which is written by a mom of young kids (younger than mine). The mom is also a PhD in child development and has an amazingly clean playroom where each toy is carefully chosen for a purpose. She has a program called the "Toy Detox" (did I write about this already? I didn't bother to review my own thread. Oh well.)

I sat on the idea of a toy detox for a while before doing anything close to it. Basically she says to allow about 10 toys per kid and to remove the rest for a period of 3 weeks. She says to choose the toys you keep with care--pay attention to "closed" vs. "open" toys and what skills or development they can promote for kids your kids ages. She says not to make it punitive and to tell the kids that the toys are going on vacation. And she says not to increase screen time as a result of the toy detox. I hemmed and hawed. Then I recently went on a couple of playdates to some nearby homes and I was blown away by how little stuff these families have. And it motivated me.

A week or so ago, I spoke to my kids about giving the toys a vacation. I said that they could each choose ten things (or sets of things--eg, Lego is one thing, and dolls are one thing), plus two plush toys, to keep during the "toy vacation." Honestly, not one of them completed their list of ten things. That was enough for them.

This week I took off from work and the kids are still in summer camp (and loving it and complaining if I pick them up early). So Monday I started the toy vacation. I pulled LOTS of toys from the play area and living room, and DH helped me store them in our room. I put them in DH's old armoire (which he doesn't need anymore since we now can share a closet after Kondo-ing the clothes last summer). Actually we put them inside it and ON TOP of it, because there were so many. I know I had decreased the toys last year--but there still was so much more! Well, after three or four solid hours of work, I got so much stuff out of the living room that I managed to remove one entire old bookcase from the living room and emptied another entire shelving unit from the playroom/3rd bedroom.

When the kids got home that day, they did not even notice for over an hour. Then our oldest (he's 10) finally realized and said, "Did it start?" He wasn't upset. None of them were. They were actually excited that there was more space. (The bookcase we removed from the living room had been blocking a weird window from one room to another, and they were playing with that for a while, plus the other shelving unit blocked a door that connects their bedroom to the 3rd bedroom/playroom.)

I kept more than the 10 toys that they each had chosen, to be honest. None of them chose the musical instruments, for example, but I want those available to them. I kept the old Simon electronic game and some other card games and dominoes that none of them chose. I kept some of the dinosaurs (the ones that had been left on the floor b/c they had been playing with them--the others went away). I let my daughter keep all the stuffed animals that she already had on her bed, even though there are wayyyy more than 2 of them (I still put a lot away). I kept some other things that no one chose but that I know they play with. It's only been a few days, but so far none of them has asked for anything that I "put on vacation."

I asked my daughter last night if she missed the toys or if she preferred the space. She said she did miss some toys but also really liked having more space. And I realized that my youngest plays most with the Lego and the K'nex (building toys), so he barely will miss the others. My oldest does more reading than playing with toys anyway. So I probably could have gotten rid of more, but I don't mind a little clutter. I don't need my house to look like the others I visited lately. That would feel too cold to me. I like having a cozy home. But I also really like what we've done, especially with school starting soon. They have enough left to play with, it doesn't feel like everything is gone, there is more space, but it still feels like our home.

Maybe I'll let them rotate stuff out if they want to. Haven't decided yet, but I told them that this toy vacation will be for at least a few weeks. And if they are okay with not getting the stuff back after a while, I will ask my cleaning lady if she wants to send some of it to El Salvador. She already accepted one of the kids' old bikes that is too small for any of my kids.

catherine
8-17-17, 5:35pm
I can't go by me because I don't believe in throwing away other people's stuff on the sly. But my DS and his wife moved last year and they were ruthless. I can't believe the amount of stuff they donated and threw away in just moving from one place to another But they only had one kid at the time and he was 2, so that doesn't count.

One time, when we had young kids and a fireplace, my DH told the kids to clean up a board game. They didn't do it. The fire was lit and my DH just picked up the game and threw it in the fire. I thought that was extreme, but pretty effective.

Part of it is just not buying the stuff to begin with. The alternative is buying stuff at thrift stores. My DS believes in buying stuff for very little money so you don't feel bad when you "recycle" it back to the thrift store.

At 5, 7, and 9, I think your kids are old enough to negotiate. Set a limit for # of toys, or how much will fit in a toy box or closet, and then impress upon them how much other kids will enjoy the toys they don't care about anymore.

ETA: Just saw that this is a revival of an old thread, and I already pretty much said the same thing.. duh.

Glad to see you're working it out!

Teacher Terry
8-17-17, 5:38pm
It sounds like you made great progress and awesome that the kids did not care. When my kids were old enough to play without constant supervision I made them their toys in their rooms. That way my main living areas were not cluttered. I think sending them to El Salvador is also wonderful. A win-win. I am surprised that you have friends where there is little toy clutter. That has never been my experience.

TVRodriguez
8-18-17, 9:36pm
It sounds like you made great progress and awesome that the kids did not care. When my kids were old enough to play without constant supervision I made them their toys in their rooms. That way my main living areas were not cluttered. I think sending them to El Salvador is also wonderful. A win-win. I am surprised that you have friends where there is little toy clutter. That has never been my experience.

Yes, I'm thrilled! As for the other homes with little toy clutter, they are homes of immigrants and designers, both groups that tend (in my experience) towards minimalism. In fact, one of the girls came over today and made a few comments like "I was organizing things in [my daughter]'s room because, no offense, but it was a little cluttered." This is AFTER I cleaned out, mind you! Hahahahahaha. I couldn't help but laugh. Her home is amazingly clean and streamlined, and I don't seek to achieve that level, but it was pretty funny.

ejchase
8-20-17, 3:38am
I haven't read all the responses, but I have a few thoughts:

My mother got rid of a lot of stuff when I wasn't home, and I never noticed (I only realized it when I became a mom that the house had always seemed super-clean when I got back from vacations with my dad!), but I really want my daughter to develop the skill of getting rid of things, so I *try* to do a lot of decluttering with her input, but occasionally I don't. For example, her school is very big on art projects (a lephracaun (sp.?) trap, etc.), and she works so hard on them that I know it would be hard for her to get rid of them, so I take pictures of them, then put them in the outside storage space until I'm pretty confident she has forgotten about them (if she hasn't noticed them gone), then I get rid of them.

Other ways I work on it with her:

One of our babysitters talked with my six-year-old when she was about three or four about how if she got rid of some old toys, there would be room for some new toys, and that really made an impact on her, so that's how I phrase it sometimes, "Are there any toys you don't play with any more that we could get rid of so you'll have more space for your birthday/Christmas presents?"

We know a few younger kids now (younger siblings of her friends), so sometimes I'll say, "It seems like you don't play with this truck anymore. Do you think Delilah would like it?" It seems like it's easier for her to get rid of things when she knows they are going to someone else. We do that with clothes and books too.

I have a lot of friends who "rotate" toys. They just pack up about a third or two thirds of the kids' stuff and put it in storage, then rotate it back out when the kids get tired of what's out.

Sometimes, I take things I know she doesn't play with anymore but that she might have trouble getting rid of - I take that thing and store it in our backyard storage shed for six months or so. If she hasn't noticed it gone and it's something that she truly seems to have grown out of, I get rid of it then.

One big motivator for me was reading the chapter in the book Simplicity Parenting on clutter. The author makes an extremely convincing case that clutter really stresses kids out, whether they realize it or not, so we are doing them a big service when we clear it out for them. Here's the link to the book:

https://www.amazon.com/Simplicity-Parenting-Extraordinary-Calmer-Happier/dp/0345507983/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1503210956&sr=8-1&keywords=simplicity+parenting

Good luck!

ejchase
8-20-17, 3:44am
Well, now I read about the toy detox and your success with it. That sounds great. I'm going to try it with my daughter!

TVRodriguez
8-22-17, 3:18pm
Well, now I read about the toy detox and your success with it. That sounds great. I'm going to try it with my daughter!

Definitely worth a try! So far, so good over here with the "toy vacation"/toy detox. Kids started school this week so they're busy anyway. Plus yesterday we were all about the eclipse so hardly any time leftover for toys.

Thanks for the book recommendation. I'm going to read it.

TVRodriguez
8-28-17, 3:38pm
One big motivator for me was reading the chapter in the book Simplicity Parenting on clutter. The author makes an extremely convincing case that clutter really stresses kids out, whether they realize it or not, so we are doing them a big service when we clear it out for them. Here's the link to the book:

https://www.amazon.com/Simplicity-Parenting-Extraordinary-Calmer-Happier/dp/0345507983/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1503210956&sr=8-1&keywords=simplicity+parenting

Good luck!

Okay, update: I got the book you (ejchase) recommended and am up to the chapter on toys. Halfway through the chapter, I got up and moved a few more baskets of toys from the kids' play area into the toy storage in our room (the toy vacation area). These are things that have not been played with in the two weeks since I started the toy vacation/toy detox. I also threw away a few things that were broken or just really garbage-y and that I hated keeping (nothing that the kids loved). I also put some things away that had strayed from where they belonged. And I rearranged a few of my daughter's toys in her closet. And I moved the musical instruments into the front room, where the keyboard is set up. Music stuff is all together now. Oh, except the guitar, which I forgot behind a dresser in the back room. Might move that up to the "music area" later.

Overall, though, our whole house is really much better than it was.