For my little Bug, I am getting rid of anything that doesn't fit into seven particular categories and into certain amounts of space. He is young enough that he will likely not notice that with Christmas he will simply be replacing a bunch of tacky and/or big plastic annoying toys with what his mama originally wanted for him but let things get out of hand the first couple of years!!
These are my categories...
1. Wooden train set. He has a simple figure eight set with an engine, caboose, and two cars. His Granny gave him a very small Thomas set with a round set of track and a Thomas engine. He is getting a small Thomas set from us with an oval set of track and three engines. It will be rounded out with enough track to connect what he's got together to fit onto the top of his train table with no extra pieces (train table was a Craigslist find for $20 that was his b-day present from Grandma and Grandpa).
2. Wooden building blocks. He's got about 20 pieces of blocks from an IKEA set and will be getting a small set of 100 blocks from us for Christmas. That will complete that category and all blocks must fit in ONE of the two drawers in the train table.
3. Duplo blocks. We are getting these off Freecycle and from friends and if we can't get the amount we want then we'll check Craigslist, as I refuse to buy these new. He will get just enough to fit in a milk crate or even just a large plastic shoe-box.
4. Pretend play. This will include dress-up clothes (some of which he already has and the rest we will get off Freecycle as we can...no buying of stuff)...as well as a few play dishes and pans. He's getting the dishes for Christmas from Grandma and Grandpa (it's actually a belated gift from last year)...and will likely get the pans from an aunt or uncle (even if they end up being bought with money from making returns of unacceptable gifts)!! The dress-up will go in a milk crate and the dishes and pots will go in a large plastic shoe-box.
5. Stuffies and babies. This category is more than full, but I'm not sure where/how to weed it down. He absolutely HAS to have his Doggie and two puppies to sleep, and is rather attached to Sheldon his sock monkey, Bobby his boy baby doll, Buzzbee his Zoobie bee, Ruffy his Pillow Pet dog, and the Buzz and Woody that he got passed down from his Uncle A. I can't get rid of the dog that was DH's fave either without causing a scene. I suppose I could get rid of the three stuffies he got passed down from me, as I'm not as sentimental....but that's about as weeded down as I could really go. All his stuffies and his baby "sleep" on his bed.
6. Animal figures. These are those small plastic animals you can find in bins at Michael's, Jo-Ann's, Target, and ToysRUs for a couple dollars each (and which I only buy at Michael's or Jo-Ann's with a 40%-50% off coupon). Wild animals and farm animals both. We will cap it at a plastic shoebox full...but he's only got a couple animals right now, so that's an easy gift suggestion to tell people that doesn't take up much space OR cost a lot.
7. Matchbox/Hotwheels. Grandma and Grandpa plan on giving Bug a small plastic car organizer and a couple cars for Christmas. He only has a handful at the moment, but we will set the cap at the organizer being full. The organizer can then fit into the other drawer of his train table.
So, we are talking that his whole set of toys will be contained in/on the train table, 1-2 small milk crates, and 2-3 plastic shoe boxes (and the milk crates and shoe boxes will fit in one side of the bottom of his closet).
Now I know this may seem even too much for many of ya'll...especially when I mention the handful of Dollar Tree hula hoops, the sand and water table, and the hand-me-down scooter outside...the wipes container of crayons and the drawer with playdoh and paper and a coloring book or two in the kitchen...and the handful of manipulatives in the office...but it seems a CRAZY lot more minimal than ANYBODY I am regularly around!! I am sure the other mommies feel so sad for my little Bug and feel he's rather toy deprived even now (and who knows what they'll think once this plan is implemented)...but he really is a quite happy little dude who doesn't seem to act like he's missing out on too much by having fewer toys!!
I do still need to go through his books and decide what are keepers. I'm a little more inclined to hang onto books though....and those go on a shelf in my room.
What do ya'll do toy-wise?