Angelique Lorence

Simplifying kids’ toys, one basket at a time

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I’m not quite sure what it is about kids and baskets - or bins - or boxes - but my two boys love them.


They could spend hours playing pirates, animals or cars. They’ve even “fished for tilapia” off the side of them (I must cook that fish a little too often).


It’s amazing how happy a plastic bin can make a little boy. Crazy. A bin!


Which brings me to this: I’m contemplating selling their toys at our upcoming garage sale. I already know if I mention it to my hubby, he’ll jump on board because he complains about the amount of toys way more than I do. But I’m serious. If our kids are perfectly content with baskets, bins and boxes, why not rid our home of plastic junk? I would even venture to believe that if I sold their toys, they wouldn’t even notice. And if they did, it would go like this:


Son: “Moooooooommmmm! Waaaaaa! Whine whine whine! Why’d you sell that? Whine whine whine.”


Me: “Son! Take a deep breath. Here’s a fresh card-board box!”


End cry, whine, rant - boys play happily every after in new cardboard box.


So many toys …


After exhausting the plastic bin and laundry basket the other day, the monkeys were bored. I then found myself pulling every toy bin out and dumping each one while shouting, “BORED? You have this bin! This bin! This bin! Open the drawer - toys here! Look on the shelves - toys here! Open that basket - toys! What do you mean, you’re bored?!?“


My phone rang and Nana told me there was a Pittsburgh Pirates game that afternoon. I told hubby and we thought it would be such a fun family activity and great day to take the boys to their first game. Note: I’m shaking my head as I type.


At the time, we were excited. The boys had never been to a Pirates game and the day was beautiful. So we trekked through parking lots, stood in lines for Cracker Jacks and hot dogs and walked up 286 steps to peanut heaven (because this mama feared getting hit by a ball if we sat any closer).


And what was their favorite part? The pierogi umbrellas.


Yep. It was pierogi day at the ballpark and the boys were given umbrellas with caricature pierogies on them.


As I walked, numb, to the car after carrying Mario in my Ergo, I turned to Brian and said, “We should’ve just played with umbrellas.”


Why do we do these things as parents? We provide our children with so many toys and take them to many different places.


They are content with boxes and laundry baskets and umbrellas.


It reminds me of my pap. Every time he comes to our house and hears the boys (Rocco mostly) whine and complain and look for things to do, he tells them in his big Italian voice, “Hey, Rocco! You know how many toys your pap had when he was a boy? ONE,” and he holds up his finger. Rocco jumps.


“ONE! Now go play!”


Then we usually get a story about Pap’s dad and toys and what they had and didn’t have. It’s cute.


In the end, we need to do something about the toy situation. We need to simplify our family outings. I’d like to try.


Maybe a Summer Bucket List of free things we can do would be a good way to start.


After all, boxes and bins and baskets go a long way. If we could just remind ourselves of that more often.



Web columnist and local blogger Angelique Lorence is a mother of three boys, a Robert Morris University alumna and resident of Washington County. Visit her personal blog Where the Piggy Toes Go for this column and more on family, food, fashion and everything in between. Follow The Piggy Toes on Facebook and on Twitter: @thepiggytoes.


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