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post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
I am going through my children's toys today and decided that someone here should write a book on decluttering and simplifying for parents of young children. It would fly off the shelves!
My issue is...my oldest does not play with toys. We give her toys, she is gifted with toys, etc. but they only hold her interest for a very short time before she leaves them forever. I've tried rotating toys, pulling things out like they are a BIG deal, etc. She just doesn't care for toys.
That should make it easy to declutter her toy collection, no? I actually think it makes it harder. Four year olds deserve toys in their lives. A great variety of toys, imo. But since they don't hold her interest I can't really look at her collection and think about what I should get rid of based on what she plays with and I don't think it is fair for her not to have great toys available.
So, I can't decide what to keep for her and what to get rid of. My general rule of thumb is no more toys than what we have proper storage for.

Anyone else have a similar situation? Or just a list of a "core" toy collection for a 4 year old girl?
post #2 of 10
I have 3 girls, ages 2, 6 and 14.

I've been going through the kids' toys too and this is what I'm keeping:

One shoebox of tiny stuffed animals
One laundry hamper of large stuffed animals
A trunk of dress-up items
A shoebox of plastic dinosaurs and other plastic animals
Wooden kitchen and accessories (pots/plates/toy food)
Dollhouse and accessories
All the Littlest Pet Shop animals and accessories but none of their "houses"
Set of wooden blocks
Several shelves of childrens' books

In addition to this stuff they each have a favorite doll, and I have lots of art supplies/coloring books/playdoh stuff that I didn't include in the "toys" because we homeschool and I go through that stuff as part of my homeschool inventory maintenance.

We also have special plush chairs in kid sizes, a gigantic storage bin of legos, these plastic things that look like mini pvc pipes, assorted ride on cars and big wheels and scooters, a swimming pool and all the paraphernalia that comes with that, a Wii video game system, and a deck box full of jump ropes, balls, kites, that sort of outside thing.

We have toys that come into the kids' lives that hang around for awhile and then I just rehome them. They have never wanted for playthings. The best "toys" always seem to be real household items anyway. We recently bought a new carseat after a car accident and the younger girls have been playing with the box it came in ever since. I think *I* am the one that has a toy attachment issue, not the kids!
post #3 of 10
My kids don't really play with their toys much either. They really could care less, and they never notice if something is missing.

I can't really imagine not having any toys at all though! What we have are classic things, stuff that is open ended and worth saving for grandkids.

(Keep in mind that I have boys - 8, 3.5, and 1)

blocks - we have unit blocks, tree blocks, and KEVA planks
wooden animals
train set
marble run
play kitchen w/accessories
they each have a sock monkey

They also have art supplies, some musical instruments, board games, sand toys, and a few different gross motor things for outside.
post #4 of 10
my nearly-4-yo is a boy, but i don't think that matters. he goes through phases of lots of playing with toys and no interest in toys. here's what we have:

lincoln logs
construction set (like tinker toys)
dress up
cars (the 2yo plays with these mostly)
pretend grown up play like kitchen stuff, a doctor kit
some random small animals
doll / a few stuffed animals and things related to their 'care' (stroller, cradle, baby blankets)
a playmobil set

i would say my kids mostly 'play' with their art supplies, books and outdoor stuff (bike, balls, gardening tools). however, they will go through a phase of building things with blocks, or go through a phase of taking care of their babies, etc and the toys do get a lot of action from everyone when a friend comes over.

for his birthday, ds1 wants legos and weapons. sigh.
post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 
New question: How long should I keep Fisher Price Little People standing by?
post #6 of 10
We were headed down that path. I noticed that DS wasn't playing as well and it was just piles of toys building up! We did a major purge that lasted over the past year and at the same time made the transfer to big-kid toys (keeping my preference for natural toys in mind). I tried to make sure he had things that would serve him as he grows. I already think we're heading towards too much! Who'd'a'thunk too many hand-made toys!?! But anything new that comes into the house I'm making sure it's open-ended and will be durable and usable for as long as he plays with toys. The few things that don't meet those criteria and slip in as gifts seem to get broken quickly.

Anyway, Our basics are:

House-play area: includes a toy kitchen and a basket of felt food with a few pots and pans and dishes from Ikea, small table and chairs and a little bed for his dolls.

Some favorite stuffed animals (they could use culling, but not too bad)

A big basket of play silks.

A train table with a play farm and animals.

A train set (Ikea style) in a bin he pulls to where he wants to play.

And through all the culling, his Little People are about the only plastic things that have survived. He plays with them daily, so there would have been a riot if they disappeared.

3 baskets of books (needs to be culled as well but they're not full so it's easier for him to flip through)


Guess what he plays with the most? a belt from a bathrobe or any other long cord = his lasso. my old umbrella or breast pump = telescopes or machines. The edge pieces of foam mats we used to have = swords or surf boards.

The way I culled gradually was that every so often I put toys I was thinking of donating or putting in a consignment sale into a bin in his room. 90% of the time, over the course of a couple of months, he wouldn't even look in the bin. If he wanted something specific, it came out of the bin. After a while in the bin, it would go into a donate box out of sight. He has never missed anything we got rid of.

Maybe it was easier for me because I only had a toddler who was transitioning from baby toys to big kid toys. Perhaps you could involve your children in the process. Explain that you want to make room. Have them help you decide. Then sell those items once you've cleared out the space and get one special thing that they can all use with the money. Kids get bargaining and love rewards they've worked hard towards.
post #7 of 10
Originally Posted by daytripper75 View Post
New question: How long should I keep Fisher Price Little People standing by?
Those are a staple at our house, but sell quickly if no one is playing with them!!

Actually, now that I'm thinking about it...he only really plays with the zoo train and the airplane plus a handful of animals. We could probably cull that a bit too. Yay! Less stuff!!
post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 
Okay. I think I've got a grip on it. Keeping all building toys, organizing her "science" equipment into bins, keeping all dress up and doll stuff. Everything else is out. She still has all of her books and board games as well. Now to hide the discards before they find them! LOL!
post #9 of 10
I swear the only "toy" my son plays with is the train table and wooden train set. Of course I'm keeping more than that, but it's nice to know I could reduce even further if necessary (and we are already pretty minimalist on toys).
post #10 of 10
ugh, this is where I get so tied up. DS has a toy box in his room and a wicker laundry basket of toys inthe living room.

he went thru a lego stage earlier, but now is totally into his Thomas trains and cars. I've bagged up a lot into ziplocs and have them in his toy box in the bedroom. I'm thinking of thinning it out more and just having one bag. He has a huge racecar ramp set that I set up once. He took it down but doesn't play with anything other then the ramps. I'm thinking of getting rid of the flat pieces. buI get stalled on all the other toys. Most of which were given to us. Some are teaching toys and I think I should keep them a little longer.. but christmas is coming and I'm afraid. DH has a large family... and its all big things from them. ugh. I'm trying to make a big effort to sort and eliminate this weekend.. wish me luck, lol
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