Heading into the holiday season, just coming out of Mad Natter's birthday, it has rapidly become apparent that we have entirely too many toys, not enough space for them, and far too much parental nostalgia for our house.
Mad Natter is six. As a result, he gets a large number of toys for any and all gift-giving occasions. The problem inherent here is that very few people actually listen to suggestions on what to get for him, and so we have piles of games like "Connect 4" and "Star Wars Angry Birds Jenga" and "Crazy Forts" that he doesn't play with, are too big for our house, or have entirely too many pieces.
Then, add to this the fact that he's only six, and therefore should be interested in... Toy Story toys. Cars. Trains. Stuffed animals. His dolls. His play kitchen. All these things add to the amount of toy clutter we have in the house. Thing is, Mad Natter isn't interested in any of these things. Not the games, not the toys, not the toys that have been his favorites for years. He wants to play with LEGO. He loves his Snap Circuits. He wants to build a boost button for the car in the worst way. He loves video games, and all the things that go with them. He wants to tinker, to make, to build... and he's just not interested in Woody and Buzz anymore.
That's where we run afoul of nostalgia. Mad Natter has a giant rubbermaid tub (and quite a few pieces of play furniture!) in his room, full of toys he won't play with, and his underbed house, with the play kitchen he hasn't played with in months. I can't bear to truly get rid of these things - not only because it seems such a short time for him to be playing with these things, but because they're beautiful pieces with great memories attached, and when you have a child racing through ages and stages like it's the Boston Marathon, you kind of want to keep the reminders that yes, even the child growing up at a breakneck pace was once a little one, who really loved nothing more than vrooming cars across the carpeting.
Unfortunately, we don't have a whole lot of space in our house. In fact, we're starting to be well-past critical mass for toys. There are overflowing tubs of toys and games, there are the lovely play kitchen pieces, and there are actually extra tubs around the house for catching 'stray' toys - ones that left the bedroom for some reason... then just got left behind. Often times those toys get put in the catchall buckets, and they stay there for months at a time.
In the end, I have to remember that as I'm getting used to going through two and three years of curricula in a single school year, we are likely to run through interests and toys at the same rate. I'll store the toys for later - for now, anyhow - just in case we need them, but really, we need to clear the things he's not using to make room for things he will. I need to get rid of the kiddie kitchen to put in a tinkering station, because no matter how much I might be leery of the speed, he is growing up, and drowning us all in toys is... well, it's about as useful as it sounds like it would be.