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Location: Northern California

Read all about the adventures of the Tsao Family during the summer of 2012

Monday, May 28, 2007


Let me go crazy, crazy on you, your playroom, and your clutter

Praise for mommy
Originally uploaded by marytsao
It must have been a great three-day weekend because my back is aching. Also, Thomas now sleeps in a big boy room instead of a nursery, and the playroom is now officially family-friendly. Oh, happy day.

Why re-decorate half the house, you ask? Well, it all started with a blog post that the amazing Chris of In the trenches of motherhood wrote about aesthetically pleasing, child friendly, and most of all practical toy storage advice. In her post, she writes:

"Even though we have a large house, we do not have a dedicated playroom. Why? I have not met a single person whose children will go into a playroom and play. It becomes essentially a huge closet to store toys. No matter how organized it is, it becomes a mess. Kids don’t want to go somewhere separate from you to play in a room alone. They want to be with you. Make the play room a room that you enjoy spending time in."

When I read that paragraph, a light bulb went off in my head. Aha! She was so right. Our playroom was cluttered, dark, and dirty with too much crap. I had been meaning to breathe some life into the room for months but had put it off for one reason or another. Suddenly, today, I couldn't take it anymore and decided to bust a move.

The first thing I did was move two couches all by myself. Have I told you that I've been lifting weights since the beginning of the year? Dood. I think it's paying off. Mike spotted me to make sure I didn't careen the dolly through a window, but because his back is shot, I moved those damn couches all by myself. Today I was on fire. En fuego, baby!

After that I took down the dark curtains, and when the light came into the room, everything else fell into place. I slipcovered my old couch, took the rug from the kitchen, moved stuff around, bagged two bags of garbage, dusted, re-arranged, organized, and voila! I told Mike that I know I've done good when the kids are excited to hang out in the room. It's not too surprising that kids like a clean, clutter-free environment, too. At least, mine do. Do you think it's nature or nurture?

I also share Chris's philosophy that less is more when it comes to toys. Too many toys is a waste of money. I don't buy my kids a lot of toys so they don't expect me to buy them toys. When we go to Target we never stop in the toy aisle unless we're buying a present for somebody else. And yet, my kids have plenty of toys. They have so many toys that I'm routinely giving away bags of them to friends and charities. I don't have anything against toys, per se, just too many toys. My attitude has less to do with the idea that toys rob a child of an imagination and leave him unable to entertain himself and more to do with the idea that I hate clutter of any kind. Out, damn toys!

So if you want to know all about how to de-clutter your growing collection of kid stuff, go check out Chris's post. As I write this from the couch in my newly cleaned playroom-turned-family room, I can tell you that it's worth the aching back. Definitely.

P.S. Her advice is for any room that is shared by adults and kids, not just a dedicated playroom.