Oh, I wish I'd remembered to take a before photo of my back porch. We have a sand table on the back deck and something like seven billion filthy little toys that our kids never touch. Yesterday it finally got to me and I snapped. I dragged Quinn outside, turned on the hose, and started spraying and sorting everything I could find. (Including Quinn.)
It may give you an idea of what the deck was like before, if you mentally contrast the next two photos. The first one is the clean "after" photo of one side of the deck. The second one is the "after sorting" photo of the other side of the deck.
Imagine all those toys in that second photo scattered all over the deck.
This was also a good time to get rid of two giant objects that have been uglifying my yard all summer: a broken picnic table umbrella and a wading pool with a missing drain piece.
This is a photo of everything that wasn't salvageable enough to keep or donate. Many of these toys are broken, some are missing pieces, and some were just too dirty for anyone to ever want.
There are also a couple things up there that we wrecked by leaving them outside: a broom and a tablecloth. There is also a giant knucklebone that I bought for the dog, but that just caused problems because she couldn't figure out how to chew on it, but she attacked our cats if they entered the same room as it. You should have seen her sad little face when I threw it away.
This next photo are the toys that made the cut for donation. Quinn looked at this table and said, "We need to have a yard sale."
There are lots of trucks, plastic yard tools, boats, shells, sand molds, and the plastic farm animals that I thought it would be so much fun to create hills, valleys, and sand dunes for. There is also a small orange bucket in the photo that I later reclaimed for my kids.
The following two photos show everything I kept. In the first photo is my bin with some shovels, a couple of sprinklers, a couple of buckets, some bats, and some water toys and a pretend fishing pole. Oh, also a snow disc. (Yes, that was in my yard all summer long.)
I also kept these items in the sand table. All my kids really do is dig and pour sand on each other anyway.
I don't think I can even tell you how good it feels to have that taken care of. In the past, when I've packed away summer toys, I've refused to get rid of so much—those cute boats that never get sailed, the adorable plastic animals that sit at the bottom of the box all summer, the eleventy billion tiny trucks—because I convinced myself that they're good toys and someone might want to play with them one day.
Well, it's been years, and they don't play with them. And if, next summer, someone decides they badly need a plastic truck that we don't have, I'll spend the dollar then.
This is a really rough guesstimate based on my trying to count objects in the photos, but I think I got rid of 95 items yesterday. It was well worth the one to two hours it took me to do the cleaning.