Besides shopping, decorating, baking, crafting and creating memories there is another aspect of Christmas that has become a tradition in our house. That is the great toy clean-out that takes place in the weeks leading up to Christmas. Actually, this has become a ritual that takes place before all gift giving holidays in our house (see this post around birthday time). We are blessed with lots of family which means several very spoiled little boys and more toys than they know what to do with. So before we take in more stuff we make an effort to go through the old. This process involves throwing out the broken toys, donating the ones that are no longer being used, and reorganizing the toys we are keeping.
While it is tempting to tackle this by ourselves to get the job done quicker and more efficiently, this is something we try to involve the boys in. First of all, their stuff = their responsibility. We certainly did not pretend to be tornadoes and hurl toys throughout every crevice of the house. It is our hope that in helping pick up the messes they make they will one day think about that before making said mess. Secondly, we like to use it as a teachable moment. If we were to just go through their stuff and pick and choose what to get rid of with out talking to them one of two things would happen...they either wouldn't notice or they would be very upset. Not to say there aren't still some grumbling moments when we involve them, but they do understand the purpose. We try to teach them that not everyone is as fortunate as us and so part of being blessed with lots of nice stuff is passing that blessing onto others who don't have as much as we do. When we come across an unused toy we remind them that it no longer gets played with and that some other little boy or girl might find a lot of joy in that toy. We then have them place it in the donation box. This way it isn't being done to them, it is something they are doing.
We tackled this project during the week and I have now moved onto their dressers. This is more of a me job and something that I am hoping will help me stay on top of laundry better. It is such a deterrent to put laundry away when their drawers are already overflowing. So I am starting at the bottom by packing up Isaiah's 0-6 month clothes then working through Jordan's too small stuff and finally Nathan's. The beauty of 3 boys is that they can just move right from one dresser to the next until I hit small fry and then they get packed away. One of my favorite things about getting their rooms organized is that it motivates me to do other areas of the house. It will make this holiday season that much less stressful when we aren't working around clutter and trying to find a spot for our new stuff.
What are some of the organizational ways that you get ready for Christmas?