In the 14th century there was an epic poem composed by Dante Alighieri called Divine Comedy. For those of you not familiar with it, part of the poem is entitled Inferno. It involves the travel of Dante, thru the nine circles of Hell. Bet ya didn’t realize I was going this deep with a blog post. Hang with me. The nine circles of Hell Dante travels thru are (1) Limbo, (2) Lust, (3) Gluttony, (4) Greed, (5) Anger, (6) Heresy, (7) Violence, (8) Fraud and (9) Treachery.
When writing this poem, he forgot the tenth circle, my children’s toy room.
A toy room always sounds so magical and full of adventure when you’re a child. A room, that’s all yours, filled with your toys, to do as you wish. When we turned our spare room down stairs in to a toy room, I saw it as a way to get rid of the mountain of toys that were slowly engulfing our living room. It’s always so much more fun to see things the way a kid does!
Upon moving in to this old farm house, we originally lived only in the down stairs. The upstairs was being saved for when we needed more bed rooms for little ones. With the birth of Taylor (#2), we had to make the move up the steps. I didn’t want to have bedrooms on both floors with as small as our children were. When we moved our bedroom upstairs it opened up an entire room.
By this point in time Emma had a stash of toys she’d been gathering for almost 2 years, then shortly after Taylors birth people began giving him gifts of toys. The “living” area in our living room was slowly losing it’s foot hold to plethora of tiny human toys.
Now when an adult first thinks of a toy room, it sounds magical to them too. You start having Pinterest pictures flash thru your mind. Neatly organized, possibly even color coded bins. Play mats for hot wheels. A cute little kitchen set and possibly a doll house in the corner. Those cute little sand buckets, mysteriously hung, to hold small toys. Neat. Organized. Sickly adorable.
You move toys in and for the first few weeks, maybe you can squeak out a month depending on your kids, all is well. Then life happens. Someone forgets to put a toy away, a crayon carelessly left on the floor. Before you know it mass chaos has broken out. Now by this point in time, it’s also inevitable that some loving grandparent or friend has given them another toy or two. This adds to the clutter.
Fast forward four years and you are where we are at. Our toy room is the point of no return. A pit of demise. Where toys go to die. I try. There’s days I honestly think the tribe tries to keep it semi-organized. It doesn’t work. We’ve tried bins, boxes, shelves. It still is a constant, messy battle.
My last afternoon off I felt adventurous. The whole tribe and I were ready to embark on this adventure of cleaning it.I felt a moment of power. Emma had a box for toys they no longer fancied to take to the secondhand store. Taylor had a trash bag for broken toys and torn magazines. Henry had a moment of bravery, I mean the kid only crawls after all. To crawl in there is brave.
We sorted, we trashed, we binned and boxed and shelved. Progress was made. I was impressed how easily some broken toys were parted with. Although Emma would not part with “Curly Shirley”. Curly Shirley is an old, hard plastic doll. Her hair is matted, she’s had tribal paint drawn on by pen and her legs are similar to those possessed by Lt. Dan. For whatever reason, she had to stay. Whatever. I was picking my battles.
After a few hours progress had been made. The floor could be seen. The tribe parted with a few toys. I think we all left feeling happy. It always amazes me how much more time is spent in the toy room after it’s been cleaned. Hopefully, sooner than later, they realize how much more they can do in a somewhat clean toy room.
Kudos to the pinterest moms and their neat, organized, color coated toy rooms. You have more patience than I. Ours is messy, lived in if you will. The bins are dumped and used as race cars more than they hold toys. The toy box is a hiding place. Our shelves may be sometimes used as rock climbing walls….
While a room of chaos, it is also a room where we have lots of fun. Siblings can generally find peace in it and I can get a break when they retreat there. Our toy room may not be the tenth circle, but there’s days I think it may hold a portal.