Here's a question that I just got in:
How do you keep the kids' toys under control? I have four kids that all have their "stuff" that is geared for their age. Individually, they don't have tons of toys, but multiplied by four it all adds up and drives me crazy.
Well, mama, just take what you have and double it. That's what I've got going on around here. First of all, it helps to divide the toys into two categories--personal property and communal property. In a big family like the one I have, most toys are considered communal property. However, there are some special items that are thrown into the mix as well. Keep the personal items (like Klara's Barbie dolls or Karis's pirate ship) in a special place in their room. Now, take all of the communal property and do two things with it:
1. Give away what you don't need (you'll be surprised at how much junk there is thrown in with the toys...).
2. Pack up the toys that they like, but no longer play with.
This is a great tactic because you are not giving the toys away, but you are opening up space for them to play with the toys that they are currently "into." When the thrill wears off, just pack up the current toys and bring out the other ones that you packed away earlier. Even though they are "used," to the kids they will seem brand new! I do this all the time, it's like a swap meet every season. All of a sudden, "new" toys appear and the kids squeal with delight, "Wow! I remember this!" Now you have happy kids, open space, and money in your wallet. Sounds like a winner to me!
And MOMS--if you have something to add, please feel free to post it. We're all in this together. Thanks!