Top 5 ways to control the toy chaos plus an easy, healthy breakfast muffin recipe.

Two things really drive me bonkers: 1. toys taking over my house and 2: wasting good food which, in turn, leads to wasting money.
About every three days, I lose my cool and want to start throwing my kids toys away. Yes, I want to throw them ALL in the garbage. Maybe not all of them but the majority of them. I walk into their playroom and it is complete chaos. I try to keep my cool and remember that they are kids and deserve to play but lately I am wondering how much they are really playing? Are they playing or are they just moving a bunch of stuff around the house?
There is pretend food in the Play-Doh bin. There are a million different pages of half colored pieces of paper scattered all of the floor and mixed in with the Doc McStuffins doctor set. Madilyn doesn’t want to throw any art work away. Sorry honey, but mommy does throw ALOT of it away when you are sleeping.  Mommy does keep ALOT but for goodness sakes… There are baby doll clothes under my dining room table. FOR THE LOVE…
The other day, I watched my girls “play.” Madilyn grabbed a coloring book and her bag of crayons. Before one crayon even touches a page of paper, Juliana starts pushing around her shopping cart and Madilyn stops and runs to her sister saying that she “has to have the shopping cart now.” Of course, the entire bag of crayons spills everywhere. Madilyn steps on a few of them and they break. OK, so is this playing? I don’t think so.  Don’t get me wrong. There are some moments where my girls play dolls together and sometimes it even lasts a solid 5 minutes! However, those moments are not the majority and I think it is because they have TOO MUCH STUFF and they get distracted.
This week I decided that we are going to decrease the amount of toys in our house. I am going to experiment and slowly move a bunch of stuff that is never played with to the basement and see how this goes. Already today, I moved an entire garbage bag of toys to the basement while Madilyn was at my parent’s house for a few hours. When she got home, she didn’t even notice anything was gone. Imagine that.
SO, here is my plan that I am working on.
My top 5 ways to decrease the toy chaos in the house:
1. Limit the toy gifts – Both of my girls have birthdays coming up this winter and I am already getting stressed about all of the stuff that is going to be coming into the house. Plus, the holidays are right around the corner which means more stuff. Or does it have to? This is a question I ask myself and my husband often. Do we dare ask our family and friends not to bring toys as gifts? How about gift cards to the movies or to a museum or *gasp* money for their savings account?
2. Limit the toys they have access to and rotate them – Luckily, we have a big basement with loads of shelves. I am thinking that we are going to move some of the toys down there and I can rotate them. We will only keep some toys upstairs in the playroom.
3. Have great toy storage – We bought these amazing storage units from Ikea that we use in the playroom. Without those babies I would really be going insane. I also have a few baskets around the house with certain toys in them. I plan to organize the extra toys in the basement in plastic storage bins or baskets.
4. Donate, donate, donate – I am learning to love letting go of stuff that we no longer need or use. I have realized that the less material stuff we have in this house, the happier and healthier we are!
5. Make the kids help cleanup and keep toys somewhat organized – My girls have this pizza play set that has a bunch of pieces to it. For the last couple of months, they haven’t touched it. Today, I put it all together for them. I took out every single other piece of pretend food that was in that bin and they didn’t notice. They did notice that they could play pizza restaurant again! When they were done playing with that, it was easy cleanup back in that bin and they did it all themselves!
Totally in love with all of these ideas and planning on implementing more over the next few weeks. Stay tuned! Do you have ideas you would like to add? Please leave a comment with your suggestions.
Did you open a can of pumpkin puree when you made my Pumpkin Cinnamon Pancakes and not sure what to do with the rest? Don’t throw it away. Add the rest to these muffins. 
Apple Cinnamon Pumpkin Muffins
1 small apple, cored and chopped (leave the skin on for extra fiber)
3 eggs
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup canned unsweetened pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 ripe banana, mashed
2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
1 teaspoon vanilla
Mix all ingredients together. Evenly distribute batter into oiled muffin tins. Bake at 400 F for about 10 minutes until the muffins start to get brown.

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  1. Oh the toy chaos. Drives me batty too. My 5&6 year olds helped me pick what should be donated earlier this year. We ‘shared’ the things we don’t play with as much with kids who may not have toys to play with. How happy they were with the idea that they were getting to make some child happy.
    Another thing my friend does is to buy each child three toys at Christmas, the wise men brought Jesus 3 gifts. Honestly I have a really hard time with the Christmas morning ‘wow’ look on the kids faces, but this idea really helped me keep the number of presents, especially toys, down and the reason for the season in better perspective. The kids got fewer but nicer toys.
    Thanks for your great ideas and yummy recipes you share!

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