The Great Toy Purge of 2012

So, this is how it’s gonna be, 2012?  ‘Cause don’t you worry, I’m not afraid to go toe-to-toe.  You want to bring it?  I’m your Huckleberry.

Not even half a week in yet, and the New Year has asserted itself with Ah-thor-eh-tie! Last thing I remember, it was 11:59 AM last year and the Puddinlings were waiting with rapt anticipation for that ball to finally land so they could go to town with the noise-makers and the pop-thingees and the hooting and hollaring and the…well, you get the idea.

And then I kind of blinked and found myself arriving home from work Tuesday.  I milled around like one of those fancy TV-movie zombies, muttering and wondering where the last three days up and went.

Yeah, I see how it’s gonna be, alright.

Luckily, this wasn’t one of those hazy, fugue-style blackout periods that comes from seeing how long one can survive living in homage to Hunter S. Thompson.

Yeah, um, I tried that in my late twenties.  I’m never doing that again; at least, I promised both the judge and my liver I wouldn’t.

Instead, my recent loss of 72-hours was one of those productivity-fueled things.  Today, I worked my little fingers to the bone bringing three months of project planning to fruition in 8 hectic hours at the office.  Yesterday, which should have been a leisurely day off for the holiday, The Great Toy Purge of 2012 took place.

At some point in every family’s life, you come to realize that you’ve simply accrued too many playthings over the years.  If you have any number of children, you know exactly what I’m talking about.  If you’re not really sure what this is about, well, Chuck has a great (read: disturbing and frighteningly accurate) post about baby’s first Christmas that should prove enlightening.

Here’s the thing: Chuck is describing the aftermath of just one (1) Christmas.  As I’ve mentioned before, we’ve got four kids here, and our total number of visits from the Ghost of Christmas Present numbers 9.  Oh, and let’s not forget that birthdays add significantly to the toy total as well.  Yeah, we’ve celebrated 26 of them over the past near-decade.

No, Mr.-You-Forgot-To-Carry-The-One, I’m not wrong. I double-checked my math.  Yes, it’s 26, dammit.  Hard as it is to believe or not, that’s my Final Answer.

Also, for what it’s worth, the Puddinette and I are from larger-than average families, each.  I mean, nothing Dugger-like or anything.  She’s got four siblings and I’ve got three, but still, when you’ve got that many aunts and uncles giving gifts every year, it adds up.

Now, normal people prune their collection of playthings from time to time – cougars and parents alike – because as anyone with kids can tell you, if you have too many toys, the young ‘uns get overwhelmed with all the options and can’t decide what to use.  So stuff either gets ignored or tossed from shelves onto the floor in a hurricane of destruction, much like crazy people throwing around bundles of toilet paper on Shop ‘Til You Drop, white-knuckled and grimacing over the run-for-your-life menace of uncontrolled Grocery Carts of Doom. 

Okay, so maybe I don’t remember anything about the show, but the image of people flinging groceries everywhere in a frantic dash seemed about right.

Anyway, for whatever reason (and my not-insignificant laziness is a primary factor), we’ve never done much pruning.  So we found ourselves in the position of knowing that much of playroom area was cluttered with things like that two-headed pink spider with the six plaid cloth legs – yes, eight is the preferred number, but toy manufacturers aren’t great sticklers for little things like biological-correctness – great Aunt Clara gave someone seven years ago.

That pink spider brought some little one joy a few years ago, but those days are gone now.  And we realized last month that the world is full of other little ones that aren’t so lucky.

Hence, The Great Toy Purge for Charity.

Now, you think it’s going to be an easy task.  You set aside, I dunno, an hour or so, and roll up your sleeves.  Somehow, though, 90 minutes disappear in a blink and you find yourself, like some unstable conglomeration of Scrooge McDuck, Mr. Magorium, and Willy Wonka, overwhelmed to the point of insanity and weeping incoherently atop a mountain of multi-colored, molded, cheeping, bleeping, tooting, wheezing plastic.

But there’s no stopping once it starts.  If you give up midway, you might as well call the Hoarders people, and get out the sweatpants.  No, the only way out is through.

It might have nearly consumed our entire day yesterday – save for making some tasty enchiladas with left-over New Year’s Day pork, but that’s not important right now – but in the end we accomplished our goal.  The playroom now has a reasonable, but not overwhelming, selection of stuff to play with, and with a little luck, some other happy kid out there will end up with a six-legged pink spider that deserves a little more playtime.

It’s hard not to be a feel at least a little proud of that.

Now hopefully tomorrow I’ll get to keep my head above water a little bit.


One thought on “The Great Toy Purge of 2012

  1. At least the toys now made in China don’t hold up as well and some actually make it to the garbage. That was unheard of in your childhood. A tonka truck was forever. Transformers actually transformed more than ten times….the bb guns endured for generations:) So in a perverse way appreciate that star fighters don’t have much of a future.


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