Thursday, November 18, 2010

Getting Rid of My Therapy Bag OR Cleaning Up Handheld Video Game Clutter

I had to put that second title up there, because that thing about the therapy bag is misleading. I had a bag that I used to refer to as my therapy bag, not because it had anything therapeutic in it, but because I would take it with me when we took Jack to speech or occupational therapy. In it, was my stash of handheld video games and accessories.

I have an embarrassing number of handheld video games that I have acquired through my review activities, and let me tell you, they have made life in waiting rooms far more tolerable. I would take the bag with the game systems, the games, and extra batteries so my kids could rummage through and find what they wanted each day.

I haven't used the bag recently because my kids are far more into their Nintendo DSi systems, which are smaller (can go in my own bag), are rechargeable (no batteries to haul around), and have tiny games (see: can go in my own bag).
Then, even more recently, I've stopped carrying around any video games because I think they're getting too reliant on them and I believe that they have to learn to conduct themselves with dignity in a waiting room even if they don't have something to distract them. Plus, they're older and easier to keep in control AND they have homework a lot of the time, which keeps them busy in waiting rooms (which the poor guys deal with at least three times a week).

All of this is to say that it was time for me to take a look at what was inside that therapy bag. I was pretty lax about the bag and didn't worry about extra clutter, but now that I was making the decision to repurpose the bag itself and relocate its contents, what was inside it suddenly made a difference.

What I did was to take the game systems and put them in the box in my kitchen that holds lunchboxes and reusable cups. That way we know where they are, they're not somewhere my kids can sneak away and play them without permission, and they're easy to grab on the way out of the house if we decide to take them somewhere.

The games themselves can be a little tough to deal with because (a) they're small and easy to lose, and (b) should you carry extras with you in case your child changes his mind about what he wants to play?

This is why I used to carry a therapy bag—so I had everything, just in case.

I solved this problem for the DS games by repurposing this little container I found. I think it originally held M&Ms. Weird, I know.

But, more perfect, it could not be!

I put the rest of the games and the recharging cord in a plastic container and put it with the game systems.

This left me with a fair amount of detritus in the therapy bag. Some was just assorted trash of the kind that ends up in bags that get carted around. I found a little box of crayons, scissors, and glue that I carried around so Sam could do his homework when he was in kindergarten. And I found stuff I could get rid of.

DS video game boxes are useless. They're 900 times larger than the game itself, so you don't want to drag them around, plus, unlike DVD or CD cases, they can't be reused for something else. Gone. I also found a little velvet bag that used to hold a gift card. I kept it because a little velvet bag has to be good for something, right? It turns out that, no, it's not. Gone. Plus, there is a walkie talkie that doesn't have a mate. Gone.

Oh! Also, I gave away our Hannah Montana Didj game to a friend of ours, because she will get a lot more use out of it than my children will.

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