Keeping things clean and organized in a home inhabited by young children is certainly one of the banes of a parent’s existence at times. In our humble abode, the plastic wars continue. For us the onslaught began during my son’s baby shower. The sheer tonnage of toys and assorted baby products could have fit into a modest sized aircraft carrier. I truly believe we received the bulk of China’s factory output that day. And with this plentiful yield came an unforeseen sizable price to be paid.
Family politics dictate you simply can’t return everything that was purchased for your child. These good folks will inevitably visit you and expect to see evidence of their thoughtful gifts in use. The guilt factor alone can be quite high if a relative or family friend got wind of a store return of their generous offerings to your offspring. In truth, such an action could plant the seeds of discontent in friends and family relations for years to come. I have a theory the Hatfields and McCoys fought over the return of a rag doll.
So how does one contend with the plastic problem? One could consolidate of course. Storage containers, shelving, and other space saving paraphernalia are certainly options and have been tested by yours truly for their effectiveness. In my experience the result has been somewhat a mixed bag. The usefulness of storage is a finite solution. Unless one plans to build more physical space into one’s home to accommodate the influx of stuff, one is destined to eventually run out of room. Based on this premise, I’ve come up with a few ideas on how to stem the tide:
- Suggest gift cards to your family. There might be some resistance to the idea but there’s also a good chance some will abide by your wishes.
- Employ the one to one rule. For every new item one receives, something must be thrown out, recycled, donated, or sold (great excuse to start your own eBay account).
- Resist purchasing new stuff on your own. Why add to the problem? Window shopping’s okay, but lock down that credit card for needs not wants.
- Tell your friends and family to make a donation to your charity of choice instead of a gift.
- Suggest contributions for your kids college funds.
- Join the witness relocation program. A drastic measure but will absolutely place the plastic assembly line out of circulation. The downside…no more of your mother-in-law’s fantastic cooking for the holidays.
What do you suggest? Dads and Moms would like to know.
Below are a few helpful links to help assist you in your quest to organize: