I've been mulling ways to pare down the ducklings' room for some time, in an effort to make keeping it tidy a task within their compass--or even one within mine. It seems their favorite game to play, the one that never fails to interest them, is to take everything within reach out and drag it around the house. Now they have figured out how to take the lids off the toy bins (which were supposed to be opened only one at a time), so they can do it with everything at once.
So I finally had built up my courage and was going to sneakily, while they were gone, move the toy bins downstairs. Only then it turned out that they couldn't go to visit Grandma today, as is usual, and there I was with all that cleaning momentum built up and nothing to do with it.
When I went into their room this evening to try to distract them until DOB got home for supper, I found myself starting the job. At least I could have them help me sort the toys out, and perhaps it would be best to be honest about what was happening. Then I started paring down one of the toy bins by pulling out toys that they had outgrown, mentioning that we needed to save these for babies since they were too small for D1 and D2 any more.
I forgot that D1 apparently inherited the genes that Wondergirl got but that skipped me. Clearly I could not have proposed a more delightful early-evening-delayed-dinner activity than getting rid of stuff. She gleefully picked out toys and blankets that were "too 'mall," piled winter and outgrown clothes into bags, and generally egged me on until we had cleaned out nearly the entire room. She got rid of things I never would have dared, like most of the pile of blankets and stuffed animals that were edging her out of bed at night.
In the end, the only things left in their room were the dollhouse, matchbox cars, most favored stuffed animals, and dress-up scarves. I also put in a reshelving box to hold books they take out to read, as I should dearly like for us to all learn not to leave books on the floor. We did have to reclaim one blanket from the attic, but that was the only hitch at bedtime.
We haven't really tested how this will help yet, but it stands to reason they can't make as much of a mess if they don't have as much stuff to drag out. After supper they seemed just as happy to drag out the reduced pile of blankets and stuffed animals as ever.