I dug all sorts of random things out of the playroom closet one day and threw it all in the garage trash can while the kids were out. I repeated the effort with the "invention table". I discretely purged some scrappy Christmas decorations. They didn't notice any of it.
Then I asked the kids to help me sort through some toys in the playroom and in the den. "But we use that". (Uh, you played with that in 2009 and I haven't seen it since.) "We can't get rid of that!" Oh, my sentimental offspring.
I tried to spin it differently. We'll share some of our little kid toys with little kids who don't have many of their own! No go. I explained that when they were little I put away items that were too babyish, but now they were old enough to do it themselves. I explained that a "hoarder" is someone who never gets rid of anything.
And then I started to do it myself again, while they were out. Some of the toys I put in the storage room to see if they really do want to play with them again. Maybe I'll even tuck a note with the date so I can see how long they go without missing them before I toss them out.
If we're honest around here, the only toys my kids use are Legos. I don't want to part with some things because I hope they'll use them. I like the train track that Pook used so much before
I tried a different idea. The playroom is only a bit bigger than the "bouncy bed" (a queen sized mattress for just that purpose. It saved my furniture from Destructo Baby. And yes, we did call him that.) Maybe it is time to get rid of the bouncy bed.
Oh my. They freaked out at that idea. Not gonna happen.
The playroom remains largely unaltered.