Updated: Ten Toy Toss

It’s time for another home organization tip from Five Kids Is A Lot Of Kids.

Oh, yes.

Yes, I know our URL is PutDownTheUrinalCake.com.

Yes, I know I make people wear shoes in my house and in my theology so they don’t accidentally squidge their toes in the mess.

Yes, I know squidge isn’t technically a word, but if you’ve ever been in the middle of the muck, you know exactly how squidge feels.

Yes, I know I’ve rejected the folding of laundry and the making of beds, and I’m not, therefore, the person who first comes to mind for home organization tips.

But the best part about giving advice is that I can turn my grand, personal discovery into something that’s all about fixing YOU instead of all about my shortcomings, and, let’s be honest, it’s always so much more fun to apply our own life lessons to other people. Can I get an AMEN?

So, are you having trouble managing the HUGE VOLUME of STUFF that kids inevitably accumulate? If so, might I suggest you try my very best Too Much Crap solution?

Here it is:

Ditch it. Toss it. Give it away.


Easier said than done, yes?


This is why, when the Stuff Volume reaches the saturation level (aka, Mom’s Losing Her Poo and hyperventilating at every glance in a kid’s room), we engage in a week-long game we call the Ten Toy Toss.

Every day for a week, each kid fills a bag with ten toys to give away.

And then, when all the kids’ daily bags are at the ten toy limit, I let everyone take a peek in the other bags and choose one thing to keep. It’s a serious motivator, getting a crack at the siblings’ discarded stuff; I know not why it’s so, only that it is.

Now, the real trick to making the Ten Toy Toss work is to ask the kids to fill the bags five minutes before we walk out the door. First, they’re motivated to get it done quickly so we can go someplace fun like the park or the fruit stand or the discount grocery store to buy off-brand cereal and feminine hygiene products. (Good times.) And second, it’s best to load their giveaways immediately into the car to drop right that minute at Goodwill lest a) they have giveawayer remorse or b) I stack more crap in the garage with “good intentions” to get rid of it later. “Later” is the serial killer of follow-through.

We started the Ten Toy Toss again today, and it was wildly successful. Day One is always wildly successful. The success, of course, will diminish as the week progresses and the low-hanging toy fruit is all picked. That’s OK. That’s when it gets FUN. That’s when we get creative. That’s when I change the rules suddenly and have them purge their clothes or their lockers or the far reaches of their closets where the monsters live. And that’s when kids start stealing their sibs’ stuff and trying to give it away, instead of their own. Heh heh.

There you have it, folks.

I hope you enjoy the Ten Toy Toss as much as I do.

Ready? Get set. Go!




Sometimes, just FYI, when you tell kids to toss their toys, they toss their cookies instead.

The good news is, when you have bags of toys in the back of the car and your kid starts ralphing on the way to Goodwill and you MacGyver a tissue box into a puke bucket and you wonder why – why, WHY – you cannot ever remember to put garbage bags in the car for french fry spills and gum mashed into the floor and old Post-It note reminders to go to the bank or pay dance tuition or buy whole grain bread (with wheat berries your kids won’t eat but they should because it’s healthy so you keep buying it)… well, when you have those bags of toys in the car, you can pull over to the side of the road and jump out and run to the back and grab a bag and dump the toys all over and run to the front and pull the dripping, leaking tissue box away from the puker and shove the bag in his face and PHEW! less vomit in the car.

The bad news is your daughter will climb all the way out of her seatbelt to avoid the vomit and you will have to insist that “You get back in your seatbelt this instant, young lady, and this car is not moving an inch until you do. So now, now, NOW,” and she does buckle herself in but is clearly traumatized which you can tell by the way she scrunches herself up against the door in the tiniest of tiny balls and so you try to talk the puker through the puking – “It’ll be OK, baby. We’re almost home. It’s OK. It’s OK. Shhhhh. Oh, sweetie.” – and you try to talk the freaker through freaking – “Aden. Seriously. You’re fine. He’s not going to puke on you. Sit up in your seatbelt. Sit UP.” – and when you get home, she leaps from the car and runs into the house and starts drawing, drawing, drawing FAST and frantic and with driving need. She’s scribbling away with her orange pencil, and you want to make it up to her for hollering at her in the car while she sat next to the ralpher, so you ask her what she’s drawing, and she says, in a LOUD voice, “I AM DRAWING PUKE, MOM! CAEL’S PUKE! Because it was RED and HUGE and GROSS and I HAD TO SIT NEXT TO IT. And I want that to happen to me NEVER AGAIN.” And you think but don’t say aloud because you have TREMENDOUS self-control, Then don’t become a mama, baby girl. ‘Cause there’s a LOT of puke over here. There just is.

The End.

P.S. Aden’s drawing of the puke is below. I put it next to my roses to make it all classy for you. You’re welcome.


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16 responses to “Updated: Ten Toy Toss”

    • Never! I LOVE the stream-of-consciousness style, which is exactly what I did with my update, by the way. Sometimes, we must run-on. I remind myself that it’s a legitimate literary style. (P.S. I base “legitimate literary style” on vague recollections from high school advanced English class. Just, you know, to give full disclosure. ;)) There. Embarrassment banished! Ta da!

  1. Ok, so one road trip, #1 yells, “mom!” and I’m all, “hang on, honey, don’t interrupt.” so she says, “but (#2) is throwing up!!” “oh! Well, ok, um, here’s a bag!” as I toss a plastic bag back to her. (because I must ALWAYS have plastic bags in my car, or the world will end… Probably in puke) and that sweet, sweet girl held that plastic bag for her little brother to puke in all the way off the highway. It’s funny the things that melt your heart as a parent of 5 kids! Also, last year in school, some kid puked, and she was the only one who didn’t go completely batty, so she got a prize. I told her she never would have got that prize if she didn’t have so many siblings.

  2. I love the toss ten idea and will be using it tomorrow.
    I like your blog a lot, I also have five kids all girls and I’m am glad to read your blog. I know that I can read and relate and laugh and cry and be encouraged on your blog.
    Thank you for sharing

    • Dawn, thank you for this very kind comment. I’m incredibly grateful you stick around, even though I talk about penises and boys who fill bathtubs with pee. As a mama of girls, it can’t be easy. 😉 But seriously… it makes my day to read your comment. You found one of my disguised secrets; I care a lot about encouraging other mamas in the middle of the mess. A lot a lot. I so appreciate that you took the time to tell me so.

  3. I just think it’s fabulous that she rushed to draw a picture of the puke, like it would end all puke. 🙂

  4. Great idea about the toy toss. I might need to try that, too. As someone who has had an honest-to-God puke phobia from the age of five, though, I totally get your daughter’s response. Except there would be nothing to get me back in the car. The phobia almost kept me from having kids because yes, there is a lot of puke. But thank goodness for the willingness to accept phobias and for husbands who do clean up. Perhaps Aren can find one of those men. 🙂

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