Have you ever stepped on a Lego? Or, have you ever had to wade across a child's bedroom floor that's covered with Legos? It's hard to find a safe place to step. It can feel a bit like crossing a snapping turtle infested river.
My kids have a lot of toys. I think at least 70% of them are Legos. I fully admit that I typically love Legos. They are a great, open-ended toy that allow kids to be as creative as their imaginations permit. That, and my boys play with them a lot. They love Legos, too. After I spent over two weeks cleaning and organizing my six-year-old son's bedroom, he and his little brother spent an afternoon turning it into the above mess. In addition to the stuff you can see, there are lots of Legos and other toys shoved under the bed and dresser. One Rubbermaid bucket is completely dumped on the floor (courtesy of the two year old). The colored bins on the bed are still mostly full of Legos, but they should be in the toy organizer. And, there are more Legos all over the bed.
I finally came to the conclusion that there are far too many toys in this bedroom for my six-year-old to handle. Heck, it took me two days to build up the gumption to tackle the mess! Today, I dedicated a couple of hours in the morning to sorting out two boxes of Legos for storage in the utility room. I didn't put away any Bionicle pieces, anything that I know the kids play with or anything interesting or cool that I thought they might like. I filled the boxes with the common, everyday Lego bricks, the ones that seem to multiply at night when we're sleeping.
I want to figure out what the breaking point for toys is for my son. I think there has to be a reasonable amount of toys that I can expect him to take care of and put away everyday. A six-year-old child should be able to clean up his own toys. But, if he's got too much, then it reaches a tipping point where he becomes overwhelmed by the task. To that end, I'm scaling it back. As of this morning, he's still got the toy organizer full of Legos and a basket of larger toys in his room. But, that's it. There are no extra boxes or under-bed storage bins.
The funny thing is, I really thought he'd be a bit upset with me. But, he was fully aware of what I was doing and was perfectly OK with it. Maybe he's sick of the mess, too. Today, before dinner, I'm going to set the timer for 5 minutes and have each of the boys tidy their rooms. If he can keep his tidy on most days, then I'll know we've got the right amount of toys in there. If not, we'll have to scale back a bit more.