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Old 05-20-2010, 04:23 PM   #1
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Help me not feel like a bad mama

This may be long. I am having a problem with the toy situation in our home. The kids just have far too many toys. And every holiday or birthday they get more. I am overwhelmed. I wouldn't care that they had so many toys except they go into their playroom, dump the toys all over the floor and then don't pick up. I think having so many toys has led them to believe they don't have to take care of said toys. I guess what I am getting at is that my boys are acting super spoiled. I have known for a long time that we need to seriously decrease the toy numbers. Usually a few times a year I do go through and thin down but there is still so much. They even have toys in their bedroom and the numbers are going up each day it seems.

Which brings me to the current situation. Today for probably the thousandth time I walked into their playroom and found sheer chaos. Almost every toy they own was dumped into the middle of the floor. I told them they needed to get it cleaned up. I went in to remind them repeatedly that they were supposed to be cleaning up. We have been through this countless times in the past. About how important it is to pick up one set of toys before getting out the other, not the other way around. But here we are and the room is trashed again. 2 hours go by with my giving them constant reminders that they are not playing, they are cleaning, it is still just as messy as it was two hours ago. I am at my wits end. I told them for the rest of the week they are grounded from the playroom as well as from their movies and video games. They can play with the toys in their bedroom, but there aren't many other than their stuffed animals and collectors cards. They always have books available to them so I guess they can read.

But now what? What I really want to do is go in and seriously thin down the toy collection and have a garage sale and sell it all. I am just so tired of the mess I can't stand it anymore. Am I a terrible mom for getting rid of about half of their toys? I know they are going to be upset but I can't take this any more. They have no respect for their possessions, they don't even care what happens to them. They wind up losing toys or stepping on them and breaking them and crying to me assuming I am going to replace it. I just don't understand, I have always been so careful with my belongings. I don't want to raise selfish spoiled brats. Part of me says do away with the playroom altogether. Thin out the toys till they fit in each child's bedroom and split the kids up (right now they share one room so they can have a playroom). But they love sleeping together and i don't know that they will sleep apart. The other part of this problem is that clutter makes me seriously crazy and we are well past the point of just clutter. They have too much stuff and it makes me insane.

So if you got this far thank you. I just really wanted to vent but I appreciate any advice I can get.

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Old 05-20-2010, 04:36 PM   #2
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Re: Help me not feel like a bad mama

My DD is still little, so we don't have this problem just yet, but this is an idea...
What if you get each boy a good sized toy chest, then they can each pick out their fave toys to store in there. Whatever doesn't fit can be donated, given away, or sold. This is probably going to be a big change at first, but I know families who've done it, and the kids just get used to it. Then when they get new toys as gifts, they have to pick out something to get rid of to make room for the new stuff.
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Old 05-20-2010, 04:40 PM   #3
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Re: Help me not feel like a bad mama

DS is only 13 months so he doesnt understand the whole "put your toys away, respect your toys" thing which i really hope he understands when he gets bigger. i dont think you would be being a bad mom by getting rid of some of the toys, at all! its not like they can keep all their toys forever.
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Old 05-20-2010, 04:44 PM   #4
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Re: Help me not feel like a bad mama

Quote:
Originally Posted by allisoninfl View Post
My DD is still little, so we don't have this problem just yet, but this is an idea...
What if you get each boy a good sized toy chest, then they can each pick out their fave toys to store in there. Whatever doesn't fit can be donated, given away, or sold. This is probably going to be a big change at first, but I know families who've done it, and the kids just get used to it. Then when they get new toys as gifts, they have to pick out something to get rid of to make room for the new stuff.
I like this idea, or even give them a number like they can each pick out 10 toys to keep if they have alot of bigger things or combine the two ideas such as they can have a toy chest and 2 big items
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Old 05-20-2010, 05:36 PM   #5
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Re: Help me not feel like a bad mama

mama,

I purge toys every couple of months. I put some away for "rotation" and pack some up for Goodwill. DD is old enough that if she doesn't help clean-up her toys, they get taken away. She'll get them back at the next rotation.

My Sis's kids are older (4,6,8). Her rule is that she gives one warning to clean up. Anything not cleaned up when she comes into the room with a giant trashbag gets put in the trashbag and donated to Goodwill. It doesn't matter if it's a favorite, a gift, etc, if it's not cleaned up, they don't need it. She did that twice (with the loss of some favorites) and now her kids clean up at the first warning. In addition, every season, they box up toys that aren't being played with to give away. The kids go with her to the donation (usually a shelter) so they get to see the smiles as the toys are received.
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Old 05-20-2010, 08:28 PM   #6
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Re: Help me not feel like a bad mama

Nah, not a bad mom! Sometimes you have to purge stuff like that to maintain order and sanity. I'd say start with the toys they hardly ever play with because chances are they won't notice those gone. Then give them each a bin and have them fill it up with the toys they LOVE. You can either get rid of the rest, or if you have the room to store the others you can rotate them periodically so A) you don't have so many toys laying around all at once and B) they won't get tired of the toys they have.

I need to take my own advice, I feel like my kids' toys multiply when we're sleeping...
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Old 05-20-2010, 08:31 PM   #7
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Re: Help me not feel like a bad mama

I don't understand why you would even think you are a bad mom......it is very important to teach children to respect their belongings and take care of them. I think your boys are beyond old enough to start learning the basics. I have kids as young as 12 months picking up toys and helping clean up at daycare. Start purging and do not feel bad about it at all. It is very common for children showered with toys to not see the value in each item. I would get rid of anything that is broken, missing pieces and not age appropriate. I personally get rid of items that are too noisy, annoying or the kids haven't played with in weeks. If they liked it that much, they would have played with it. I also don't keep small toys unless they are a part of a set (like a train set or a box of legos) because they add to the clutter. I would keep the boys in the same room and keep the playroom. Get some organizational tools to help them learn where things go. Open cubbies for large toys, pegs to hang items, anything you would see in a school to organize stuff. I don't just throw everything into a huge toy box because that is how things get broken. Invest in matching tubs that you can label and divide up toys, arts and crafts, etc. so the boys get used to cleaning up one tub and putting it away before taking anything else out. Also, schedule short clean up sessions through out the day. 10 or 15 minutes max right before lunch, naps, bedtime so you are not overwhelmed with a mess at the end of the day. Set up a reward system to encourage the clean up and don't forget to take the lead. You will have to be in there encouraging them, keeping it fun and making sure they don't get lazy. They will get it, it just takes time.
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Old 05-20-2010, 10:26 PM   #8
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Re: Help me not feel like a bad mama

Just wanted to say I know exactly how you feel. We are going through this too. I try to tell relatives not to get them so much stuff, but they get showered with gifts like it's their birthday, every time they see certain relatives. They are so excited at first, which just makes said relatives think they need to keep doing it, and I am just the mean one, then it gets lost in all the other crap. It is so hard for me to pick what to give away, because people spend good money for some of this stuff (not talking about the over-givers), and I can't just get rid of it. I think I would be upset if we gave something to a child and their parents just tossed it.

SO that was my ramblings, but no, you are not a bad mom. Kids just have too much stuff and getting rid of some of it will help them appreciate and take care of what they do have.
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Old 05-20-2010, 10:37 PM   #9
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Re: Help me not feel like a bad mama

Thank you ladies! I guess I know it isn't wrong to give away or sell some of their stuff but I just feel like an ogre when I do it. Especially since Kearnan cries when I even mention giving anything up. There are toys that they have that I would rather they didn't have (all those pointless plastic character toys) but they of course love them. I feel like I should just get rid of the stuff I don't agree with regardless of how the kids feel about it. But I hate disregarding their feelings that way. I am going to have a talk with Dh and we will decide together over the weekend (while the kids are with my parents) what we are going to do away with. That way it will be done when they get home.
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Old 05-20-2010, 11:22 PM   #10
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Re: Help me not feel like a bad mama

Hi! We recently had to do this in our home. The mess each day was ridiculous, and I just couldn't take it anymore. So we sent the kids over to grandma's and dh and I went to work sorting. We got some clear plastic bins, they have 1 for action figures, 1 for lego's, 1 for vehicles, 1 for art supplies. The baby's toys go into a separate box, he loves to pick up toys anyway! They each have 2 "loveys"--stuffed animals, and our home is still overflowing w/ books, but it has been much better around my home, for all involved. I would seriously recommend it, there is no reason for you to feel continously harassed and frustrated by your kids toys. My stress levels are down 100% since we did this, and I thinkmy kids feel better in general too. I think it is too overwhelming to have so many choices, that's why everything ended up on the floor. Toy boxes, in my opinion, are not a good plan for kids because everything just gets thrown in, then everything gets thrown out to find a certain toy. That is not a constructive lesson for a child! It is much easier to teach organization with a few things than 1000's! Good luck, and no, you are not a bad mom! You are a good mom for wanting to teach your kids to respect and care for their belongings! Good job, mama, and good luck!
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