Like most families with kids in elementary school, our house is full to the brim with toys: stuffed animals, building toys, crap toys from dollar stores and/or Happy Meals, dolls, Littlest Pet Shop figures, dress-up clothes, etc. I have thrown away so much stuff - the broken, mismatched, dog-chewed, etc. - but there seems to be a never-ending pile. And so, about six months ago, Sean and I started telling the kids that no new stuffed animals come into the house unless they give up five. Never once have the kids even seemed to grasp that idea, but yesterday they did. And last night they each took a bag and started piecing through looking for five stuffed animals they could live without. What one kid put in the bag, the other kid (shrieking in horror) and removed from the bag. It was drama with a capital D! I was half amused at the whole process - except when the negotiations between them turned into yelling and the 9 year old trying to strong arm the 7 year old into giving away something that the 7 year old insisted was her favorite-est toy ever. Keep in mind that these stuffed animals have been in totes, unopened and ignored entirely, for at least three months. But I won't allow strong arming, and the point of this exercise, which I keep repeating, is that they don't have to give away ANY ... keep them all if you like ... but then we won't buy the latest critter that caught your eye at Claire's yesterday.
After finally giving up with about six critters in the bag last night, it started again this morning. Three of the original six came out of the bag (you just can't make this stuff up) and they continue to cull through the pile. The angst seems to have resolved itself and, from the sounds of things in the toy room, they are playing with the animals now, and occasionally putting one in the bag. We shall see if we get to the magic number before we go to the mall later!