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Old 01-26-2013, 09:43 PM   #2
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Location: North Central Texas
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Re: I'm STILL Stuck on Toys

I went through the same thing. I had a hard time getting rid of my children's stuff because we didn't have a lot of money and I knew we wouldn't be able to afford to replace it. A lot of it was given to us and a lot of it had a high price when it was originally purchased, so it was hard to let go. A lot of it was good toys, really open-ended. It was brutal.

My first suggestion, if it's in storage it can't possibly be her favorite. Let it go. If she's still got to much, rotate it out for a month. If she misses it and wants it back, keep it. If she doesn't seem to notice after a while, let it go. If you don't want to just take it and make the decision yourself, tell her she has to choose one or two things or whatever you decide. Those things will be going "on vacation" for a month. If she doesn't notice, you're good to rehome them.

Actually, you know why I suggest this? My family did this to my sister and me when we moved as kids. We had a bunch of toys that were down in the basement, almost completely forgotten. There were a few things I cried over being missing, but for the most part it was stuff I didn't care about. The only thing I really missed was my dad's old teddy bear and a monkey puppet I'd had for as long as I could remember. However, the only thing I really missed months later was my dad's teddy bear. I've done the same thing with my kids. "Hey, can I put this away for a while? Your room is kind of cluttered and there's no room to play. We can trade it for another toy in a month or two if you still want it back." I'm always careful to pick the least played with toys. My daughter was really bad when she was little, but she worked with me when I told her she had to choose something else instead. It always worked great. I have honestly never had the kids ask for their toys back. Then the toys end up going.

What's great about this method, I've gotten to the point where my kids are starting to think about the situation themselves. My daughter (now 9) has decided to give up almost all of her toys. She's got her two American Girl dolls left, some Playmobil toys that she's added to the boys' collection, and some stuffed animals. My older son (5) has decided all he wants now are his dinosaurs and his Playmobil. My middle son (3) has even decided to get in on the act and is starting to tell me what he really likes and what's just in his way. Sometimes it's a struggle, but I'm teaching them how to decide what's really important.

Best of all I'm using the same strategy with them as I've been doing in my own life. If I put something away for a month and I don't even want to use it once, I can probably get rid of it. We make exceptions for art supplies, craft supplies, my really small yarn and fabric stash (it all fits in one 20 gal tote with room to spare). Not only am I getting rid of their excess toys, but I'm teaching them to live in a more simplistic way, not overrun with toys, not the way I grew up. I had so many toys you could never see the floor of the room my sister and I shared. As an adult, I'm now drawn to the same kind of clutter. I want better for them.

I know what you mean about "good toys". It was heartbreaking to have to give up the Lego blocks because I like the idea of them. The Duplo are going, even though the kids do play with the blocks, but they use the Trio more. We're giving up fiddle sticks, Lincoln Logs, Barbies, Littlest Pet Shop toys, much of our kitchen toys and most of the America Girl doll clothes that never gets used, a beautiful wooden train set, and a bunch of other stuff. I'm not even sure what most of it is, but the kids don't seem to miss it any. Most of it's already been put away for a month, so it's about to be cleared out. The rest of it's getting put away now. I feel horrible about it because so much of it's hand-made or bought with the kids in mind, but it has to be done. If I don't do it, they'll grow up bogged down by clutter and unable to figure out what's important to keep just like I did. Everyone's happier in the end because of it.
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