It has been hectic with my nephew here. Naturally he likes to make messes and take out every possible toy and mix everything up. (I am neurotic and try to keep the food with the food, the blocks with the blocks, the cars with the cars, etc., and a 16 month old toddler doesn't get that!) Plus he has NO concept of the potty and he poops like 3 times a day, so that has been fun.
All a person has to do is step into our house to realize that we have too many toys and my kids really couldn't use any more. We have a kitchen set with tons of dishes, food, pots, etc. We have Playdo with tons of cookie cutters. We have a huge bucket of crayons and tons of paper and books. We have guitars, harmonicas, flutes, drums, etc. We have blocks, a train set, puzzles, cars, trucks, puppets, dolls, and dress-up clothes galore. I mean, we REALLY have too many toys!!! It looks like we run a daycare or something. Whenever someone asks what the kids want/need I tell them "Nothing. Seriously!" But it is inevitable that people try to be nice and bombard us with cheap little nicknacks and toys, and we politely accept them, maybe play with them a day or so, and either throw them away or take them the to Goodwill.
I have given up getting upset about it because even when I tell people *exactly* what the kids would like to play with we usually still get a cheesy little toy starring a movie character or something- and it really is "the thought that counts", you know? (The kids have so many toys they hardly notice when I get rid of stuff anyway.) Most of the reason we have so many toys is because the state pays us to spoil the crap out of these kids, so we have to make it look like the money really is going to them.
We have to do a big thinning of the toys before Christmastime. I think this year I will ask people for art stuff, anything preschool, and books as always. We'll probably get a bunch of noisy battery-operated junk (mostly from SIL-DH's sis- who hates me and enjoys wasting her money on *completely* thoughtless gifts for everyone.
) My mom is *finally* getting better- she usually e-mails me the links to the stuff she's going to buy to make sure it will work for us first. Or she'll have the kids cricle stuff themselves in a catalog.