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Old 01-26-2013, 07:02 PM   #1
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I'm STILL Stuck on Toys

Can anyone help me? I've already gotten rid of stuff that's broken and missing pieces. Usually, when my daughter doesn't use something much and I mention rehoming it, she all of a sudden adores it. She has too many toys even after rotating toys out AND we have a huge stockpile of hand-me-downs in the attic. I'm seriously stuck and haven't been able to make much progress recently even though I know we have way more than DD needs. I'm sure there are other kids that could use our extras if my daughter, husband and I can manage to part with some of this. Part of the reason I'm stuck is because I think the toys we still have are good toys. By good, I don't mean all Waldorf and wood, but still relatively open ended or good for different types of play. We have mega bloks (duplos size), lincoln logs, chevron cars, play kitchen stuff, baby doll stuff, dress up dolls, puzzles, play dough, arts and crafts materials, cash register, kid-size table and chairs, yoga mat, ball pit balls, outdoor toys (balls, bats, trikes, minivan, sand box, play house, climbing structure), musical instruments, puppets, grocery cart, stuffed animals, board games, wikki stix. In storage we have Barbies, playmobil, sylvanian families/calico critters, legos, educational games, an american girl doll, flash cards, more board games. There's even more I'm not thinking of. We don't have a lot of money and I think that's part of the problem. 95% of this stuff is used and came from family and friends, thrift shops, freecycle and craigslist and I fear getting rid of something then kicking myself later b/c I should have kept it and can't afford to buy it new. She's practically an only child, too so I feel like keeping extra stuff so her friends will want to come over even more. I know that's a messed up rationalization. Please help!

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Old 01-26-2013, 08:43 PM   #2
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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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Old 01-26-2013, 08:52 PM   #3
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Re: I'm STILL Stuck on Toys

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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.

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.
This. I've actually done this enough with my kids that they (the older ones) will periodically come to me and say, "Mommy, we don't really use this toy anymore. Maybe we should give it to someone else who will use it." Which I think is awesome because it means they're starting to understand the difference between just having things and having things that they really treasure and value.
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Old 01-26-2013, 10:09 PM   #4
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Re: I'm STILL Stuck on Toys

You might also start by just cutting back within a category. For instance, if you have 20 cars, cut it down to 10. 12 Barbies? Cut it to 6. That's still plenty to play with, even if she has friends over, and it gets you started. After to go through that, then you will feel more comfortable with purging further.

Also, in our house, the kids don't have the final say. Not meaning to imply that your's always do. Just, if they suddenly adore it just because I am getting rid of it, it still goes because I know they don't really adore it. Sometimes I will let them keep it if they find something else to get rid of.
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Old 01-26-2013, 11:26 PM   #5
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Re: I'm STILL Stuck on Toys

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You might also start by just cutting back within a category. For instance, if you have 20 cars, cut it down to 10. 12 Barbies? Cut it to 6. That's still plenty to play with, even if she has friends over, and it gets you started. After to go through that, then you will feel more comfortable with purging further.

Also, in our house, the kids don't have the final say. Not meaning to imply that your's always do. Just, if they suddenly adore it just because I am getting rid of it, it still goes because I know they don't really adore it. Sometimes I will let them keep it if they find something else to get rid of.
This helped us.
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Old 01-26-2013, 11:40 PM   #6
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Re: I'm STILL Stuck on Toys

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This. I've actually done this enough with my kids that they (the older ones) will periodically come to me and say, "Mommy, we don't really use this toy anymore. Maybe we should give it to someone else who will use it." Which I think is awesome because it means they're starting to understand the difference between just having things and having things that they really treasure and value.
Thanks for sharing that! It makes me feel like I'm on the right path with my kids. They seem to have started getting it, but I can only hope that they'll continue following that path!
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Old 01-27-2013, 12:40 AM   #7
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Re: I'm STILL Stuck on Toys

I think we're in the same boat. We've gotten rid of so much, and we're down to the nicer things. Nearly everything we have came off of CL, freecycle, hand-me-downs, goodwill bins etc. And finding the good stuff takes forever. I'm always worried that if I get rid of the good stuff we'll miss it later and I wont be able to afford to replace it and wont happen upon a free version of it. It's also rough because she's almost 2... so there's many things that are "to grow into." I feel like I have to watch for the good things well in advance.

As others have suggested, you can try thinning out some of the sets. I recently went through the groovy girl dolls and got rid of a few things. Today we did the play food for the kitchen. I found 50 things to get rid of, and it's so much more organized now. It was hard because a lot of that stuff came from a really nice $50 set of quality play food... but I am tired of all the little items on the floor. And with so many duplicate items, it took a lot of digging to get a nice variety - now it's a much calmer set and I feel great accomplishing that today. There's still enough to fill 2 toy shopping baskets - and I suspect that my tolerance will change and even that will seem like too much. But for now it's a great accomplishment.

I tend to find things a few times a week... If we get out the stuffed animals, I'll eye them to see which ones she doesn't play with much. We got a nice set of blocks for Christmas, so the small ikea set had to go. And honestly, sometimes there just isn't anything to get rid of and I don't worry about it and take a break. But soon enough I'll notice something that is getting a little out of hand. My next task is going through the books because she's outgrown most of the board books. I also want to work on the playdoh box because we have way too many tool pieces.

And I take great pleasure in knowing that I return the generosity by going out of my way to re-home items where they will be used on freecycle. I try to get as many things as possible directly to people that want and will use them. It feels good to return the favor!
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Old 01-27-2013, 08:25 AM   #8
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Re: I'm STILL Stuck on Toys

Thank you all so much! The things that have helped the most were "if it's in storage, it can't possibly be her favorite" and "try thinning out some of the sets." But honestly, it's ALL helpful right now.

So I just packed up the following to get rid of today: 1 doll stroller, 1 doll carrier, 7 puzzles, bristle blocks, 1 large shoebox of play food, the 2 stuffed animals my daughter agreed to part w/ last week, 20 kids VHS tapes, 6 chevron cars, 1 board game and 1 ball. I have so much more progress to make, but I'm finally feeling a little better.

Does anyone else have a hard time downsizing collections? I think that's an awesome suggestion but when it comes to things like building toys, how do you know if you will end up w/ too few to actually build something? Like we have 2 sets of megabloks/duplos but 1 set doesn't seem like enough to build much. BTW, she's never been into building toys. We've had wooden blocks, largest mega bloks, mid-size mega bloks, bristle blocks and lincoln logs and the wooden blocks have gotten the most use even though they're more often used in pretend play as "cheese" and other food. She's such a girly girl, but building toys seem like something she should have so I'm not limiting her play options.
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Old 01-27-2013, 08:25 AM   #9
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Re: I'm STILL Stuck on Toys

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Old 01-27-2013, 09:34 AM   #10
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Re: I'm STILL Stuck on Toys

I'd buy your bristle blocks lol
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