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Towards a minimalist toy box...My seven categories

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

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?

 

 

post #2 of 17

That sounds similar to how we handled toys up until this last year or so.  That's when my oldest really started caring about what she had and noticing what was gone.  

 

We currently have a lot of toys.  We have a small bookcase in the living room that has a basket of blocks, a basket of barbies, a basket of animals, train tracks, a wooden tool set, sewing cards, and a couple of fisher-price and wooden toys.  In their bedroom we have two big bins of duplos, a basket of dress ups, a shelf of stuffed animals, their dollhouse furniture, a slide and tunnel.  They have a small backpack full of polly pocket disney princesses that they play with non-stop and kind of roams around the house.  The kitchen has their art supplies, a small table and kitchenette/toy food.

 

I don't think it would be right for me to take away their toys without their permission and I have asked about each of the things we have, so it all stays.

 

Hopefully someone else will post that is more helpful!

 

ETA: outside we have a swingset, bikes, ride on cars, sidewalk chalk, and balls

post #3 of 17

I also try a very minimalist approach to toys.  Wit dd1 we were in a tiny 1br apt so no space for lots of stuff.

dd2 has 2 milk crates of toys, plus large stuff like pay kitchen, Doll house, and slide.

 

The biggest issue we are now coming across is play dates.  So many moms I met have enough toys to host a large group of kids.  Playrooms or basements set up like daycares.

post #4 of 17

Love this topic! 

 

We've got this open-faced bench that the toys go in-- most everything has to fit nicely in it.  If things start to overflow or I find myself picking up more often than I'd like, I take things out and put them in a basket.  The basket doesn't go away, it goes to my art room for fixing and "freshening".  :)  This has worked well, because I don't throw things away, we just have a minimal amount of toys available.  I fix broken toys, or throw out ones that can't be fixed (with discretion or discussion, depending on how DS feels about it) and everything else stays out of play until it's once again "fresh and new" feeling. 

 

Right now I can see: blocks, a wooden train, a couple trucks, a toy post office, some play scarves, a couple instruments, and 2 dolls.  In the other room he has a play side structure, a trike, a block truck,a rocking horse, and a scooter.  We definitely have the fewest toys of any of his/my friends, but kids of all ages come over and never seem at loss for play.  I do tend to pull out the hula hoops, and sometimes put up a hammock if it's all indoor play-- but we have people over a lot...like almost every day and many evenings...and no one ever gets bored. 

 

My struggle is-- How do you keep the toys from coming into the house in the first place???  (we have trouble with well-meaning friends and relatives bringing gifts every.time.they.visit. 

post #5 of 17

Subbing... my little guy is only two months old, but I already have a bin of toys for him... I can see this is going to be a problem, especially with the well-meaning grandma, aunts and godmother buying beaucoup toys at every turn. I am hoping to take cue from you ladies. orngbiggrin.gif

post #6 of 17

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Edited by LoveOurBabies - 2/18/13 at 1:51am
post #7 of 17

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Edited by LoveOurBabies - 2/18/13 at 1:52am
post #8 of 17

Cool to get some new ideas. I have really tried to keep the toys pared down, but it's almost like they breed. It was hard for DH and I to settle on any Christmas presents as we couldn't find many things we wanted to add. Plus the knowledge of all the toys already under our tree from family. I have always gone through the toys after every birthday and gift holiday to remove broken and outgrown toys, but I think this year I'm going to start including my 4yro in the process (on a small scale) so he gets a say in what stays and goes. I'm hoping this will help him learn to evaluate his own things as he grows. Anyone with older children been successful at this? Any thoughts?

post #9 of 17

My four year old helps me pare down the toys, but the two year old won't.  I think it's an age thing, because my first daughter never wanted me to give things away when she was two either.

 

DH and I got a wooden play kitchen, a rope ladder, and a book for the girls for Christmas.  Then I made soap crayons and flubber for stockings and they will also get candy and an orange.  My family is giving our family a pass to the community pool/fitness center for the year.  We'll see what DH's family does wild.gif

 

We are planning to homeschool/unschool, so I think toys may be my one weakness when it comes to minimalism.  

post #10 of 17

We have:

 

building things - legos, wooden blocks, and a gear table where you put gears together in different ways to make whatever

 

cars - my 2 yr olds most favorite thing in the world is cars

 

stuffed animals

 

games

 

puzzles - easy wooden ones for younger kids and a regular cardboard type one for my older child

 

outdoor toys/active play type toys - balls, swim toys, sleds, jump rope, bikes, frisbee

 

music - ukelele, xylophone, percussion

 

art supplies

 

pretend play - play kitchen, dress up stuff, baby dolls, small animals

 

books

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

It's definitely the least minimalized category in the apartment.  I try to keep the amounts of each thing down, it's hard though when they play with everything we have, and they clearly love it all. I'm ok with where it's at.

 

post #11 of 17

I'm glad to know that I'm not the only one that struggles in this area. My kids are young, fairly close in age, and I have more on the way. So I try to only purchase quality toys and books that we can enjoy for years to come. Like this wooden walker that we bought my oldest on his 1st birthday. It has little crocodiles that clack and chase butterflies. It has lasted through two kids now and outlasted 3 plastic walkers we were given along the way. Besides missing some paint it is still in the same condition as when we bought it and the older kids still run it around whenever they see it. I try to minimize and eliminate all the cheap plastic junk toys that kids seem to end up with despite my best efforts. That seams to be the biggest source of clutter in their room and makes it harder for them to find the toys they actually want to play with.

post #12 of 17

If I notice a toy hasn't been played with in awhile, it's gone- unless its something really nice that this next baby would probably like.  So far I'm only holding onto one thing they haven't played with in awhile- that I am pretty sure all babies (1 yr olds) will like.

 

There's a couple games that are too advanced for them right now, and I'm ok with hanging onto them until they can understand it.

 

 

post #13 of 17
This thread is old, but inspiring! I need to work on our toy situation! Although I don't think we have near as many as most people!

We do have:

Legos.... LOTS of legos. But dh loves them and plays with the kids a lot. I'm talking 5 sterilite containers, omg.

Small container hot wheels.

Small set of wooden train tracks.

Container of duplos, so the little one can play legos too.

Play cooking stuff, wooden bowls, etc...

Two small wooden castles with figures, beautiful.

A few wooden baby toys.

Dd has a few monster high dolls.

An American girl doll, waldorf doll and clothing.

Container of beanie babies.

Dress up.

Magic The gathering cards, their new obsession, the kids AND dh, lol.

BOOKS.

Oh, and bikes, sleds and a trampoline.

I can't figure out what to pare down... We have 3 kids, and another in the mail, large age gaps, and winters that are usually spent entirely indoors. So from Dec to April, we play inside. It seems like I always end up purging out of season things, then realize I shouldn't have when it gets hot or cold again, lol.
post #14 of 17

We rotate toys - keep a lot in the closet and swap them round every now and then. What doesn't get played with after a couple of rotations we sell or give away. I am a bit of a wood addict when it comes to toys! I also like finding stuff at second hand shops and then returning it when we're done.

 

Ok, I started a list but it was easier to take a photo. We have what you can see in this photo (suitcase has lego) + a wooden train set, dolls house, more books, a car ramp and a few other things. However I don't keep this much stuff out. The baskets have nature type stuff in them - pine cones, river stones, found amber, shells etc.

 

1000

 

 

This second photo shows what we have out at the moment. Her dolls house is also out in another part of the room. Funnily enough the one thing I thought shed get bored of - the little letterbox that has letters you can post in it - gets played with most days.

 

 

1000

 

 

 

 

 

post #15 of 17

Oops - I forgot, she also has a rocking horse and stuffed toys in her room.

post #16 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lovesmila View Post

We rotate toys - keep a lot in the closet and swap them round every now and then. What doesn't get played with after a couple of rotations we sell or give away. I am a bit of a wood addict when it comes to toys! I also like finding stuff at second hand shops and then returning it when we're done.

Ok, I started a list but it was easier to take a photo. We have what you can see in this photo (suitcase has lego) + a wooden train set, dolls house, more books, a car ramp and a few other things. However I don't keep this much stuff out. The baskets have nature type stuff in them - pine cones, river stones, found amber, shells etc.




This second photo shows what we have out at the moment. Her dolls house is also out in another part of the room. Funnily enough the one thing I thought shed get bored of - the little letterbox that has letters you can post in it - gets played with most days.








Great idea about the photo! I should take a picture of our play space!
It looks like you have a wonderful selection.
Does she have a baby doll in her room? My four year old girl loves her baby doll and stroller.
post #17 of 17

Yes, she has a doll that I lovingly sewed - that she completely ignores! lol. She likes her teddies, though. She is getting a stroller for Christmas so perhaps that will revive her interest in the doll - or maybe it will just be used for teddies smile.gif I had a look through what's in our closet and there's more than I thought - some dress ups in there too (funky hats, mostly) and baby toys she's outgrown but I might keep for when we have another. We will also have a clear out after Christmas when she has some new stuff.

 

Would love to see a pic of your play space!


Edited by Lovesmila - 11/2/12 at 4:41pm
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