Monthly Archives: February 2015

Toy Purge

I frequently toss a broken toy or donate one Rie does not seem to like, but I have never put all the toys in one place to examine them at the same time before. And no wonder! It took me about two hours to pull everything together, make decisions, and put everything back where it belongs. I don’t believe Rie has the perfect set of toys, but I do think she has more than enough. Some experts may find her collection lacking, or find that it is overwhelming…but I’m doing the best I can here for my kid. That’s all any of us can do, right? With the pressure off, this was a little easier to do.

First: Large toys that sit out.

Not pictured: The rocking horse and stick horse. These live by the couch and are played with almost daily. Play doh, crayons, paper, safety scissors are kept out of reach. Outdoor toys are not included because it is freaking cold outside and they don’t cause house clutter.

Dollhouse. Not played with daily. It is poplar when I allow it to be out in the living room, but only for a week or so. Then it goes back to the third bedroom to be knocked aside in favor of other toys.


Shopping cart. This thing always has the toy blocks in it. I purged a third of the blocks. What remains is rarely stacked appropriately, but the shopping cart sees more exercise if it is weighted. There is a little girl who comes over once a week and this is her favorite toy here. It also doubles as a baby buggy.

Shopping Cart and Blocks

Toy Kitchen. I purged two of the pots. What remains should be fine for a while. Rie likes to bake cookies and make dog food.

Play Kitchen

Stuffed animals and dolls. These drive me crazy. I just purged a bunch, but then Rie received three more for Christmas. What is is about stuffed animals that makes people think they are the greatest toy for little kids? I might go back and purge Ariel. She hasn’t been as popular lately and this is my chance…

Stuffed animals and dolls

Doll daybed. Baby needs a place to sleep, but mostly the mattress comes off so baby can camp elsewhere.

Doll Daybed

OK, now the stuff that doesn’t take up visual space. Puzzles. I purged two, but kept 15. We love puzzles around here and it seems variety is key (though ours are not so hot in topic variety). These are stored in Rie’s closet and we take one down at a time a couple times a week and usually leave it out for a day or so.


All the other stuff: two “computers”, a musical “tablet”, tool kit, tea set, broom, two puppets, two fabric activity books, a cookie jar (those get baked often), two purses, Ariel high heels, an old cell phone, two balls of different sizes, a wooden car, Ariel’s carriage (which will be purged next), wooden beads to make necklaces…and other stuff I’m probably forgetting.

Keep for now pile

I moved the remaining infant toys, about half a dozen, to the garage for now. When we set up the new baby’s room I’ll find a new place for them. Then there was the purge-it-now pile:

Purge Pile

Then there is that last special toy. Rie received a train set as a birthday gift from her grandparents. It usually lives in a tote in the garage. This is the second time we have drug it out this year. The novelty insures it is a keeper and I love that it holds her attention so well.


As always, thanks for reading – now go throw something out! 🙂


What’s new at Just Kate

It has been three months since my last post.  In my defense, there is a lot going on.

1. I started knitting my camisole. It has a pretty lace top and a plain knit body. I’m using undyed baby alpaca yarn, which feels fantastic on my fingers as I work. This is a fun and relaxing journey – I plan to take my time to complete it.

2. The woman den has been completely uprooted. Due to lack of efficient/safe heating, we cannot allow children to play out there in the winter. (D and I host Bible study, which involves children of a wide age range stopping by our house as well.) Space heaters and boys holding wrestling matches do not mix. In all fairness, the boys seem to need a place to make noise and wrestle, so it is no good to tell them to quiet down.

D’s solution is to take the old woman den for himself. He has installed a wood-burning stove and built a new workbench. Really, it looks great. In return, I am going to fix up his old shop as my new woman-and-children den. A new couch awaits while I choose paint and flooring (an agonizing process). The new den will also hold our computer and office supplies, which will free up that third bedroom.

3. Rie will move into the third bedroom – but I have to fix it up for her. There are holes in the wall from the old shelving (now in D’s new shop), and one of the windows is just awful. Not sure what to do with it yet. Anyway, that will be tackled when the new Den is settled – hopefully mid-March.

4. Rie’s little brother or sister will move into her old room. Fortunately, it is a gender-neutral nursery, so there will not be anything to do. I will replace the faded curtains with new ones, but otherwise it is good to go. Baby is due in August. Eeee!

5. By the time I finish that silly camisole, I will be too big to wear it. Oh well. Maybe next winter.

6. And may I please point out that when I started this blog, I thought my house was too small? It looks like we’re reaching our goal. Staying in our affordable house while raising a family. Gosh, that feels good.