Dealing with Guilt (over toys) - Mothering Forums
Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
#1 of 16 Old 01-06-2010, 06:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
greenmamato2's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 613
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
We have gotten the kids an obscene amount of toys over the years (between us and the grandparents its gotten way out of control). They really do play with all of them, and I have culled out several garbage sacks full and donated them already but there are still two closets STUFFED full and two bedrooms with tons of toys as well.

I am going to work on things like getting rid of all the plastic baby dolls and making a waldorf doll to replace it... then focusing on making clothes/accessories for the ONE doll instead of just getting more and more and more dolls (i don't even have any idea how many there are now but tons. I will say the dolls come from the grandparents mostly, but I've been known to cave once or twice too).

I *know* they don't *need* all these toys and that they are perfectly content and happy to play with a few things and read books and watch movies together... but part of me wants them to have the toys. I feel guilty taking them away from them when I know they do play with them. But honestly, its too much.

I'm going to try really hard to focus on the stuff that is most special to them and to cull the rest... its so hard. I realize its more my hangup than theirs. I think a lot of it stems from my parents selling off my toys at garage sales as a kid and me having no say in the matter. It was such a sense of betrayal and obviously I've never forgotten.

I *know* its not stuff that matters, but if I didn't have hangups somehow there wouldn't be such a problem... and I want to fix it.

Anyone else go through this? I'd love to hear stories from anyone on this... whether your kids toys are simple and natural and only a few key things, or whether you have a crazy mountain of plastic that threatens to smoosh whoever opens the closet door... (like me)
greenmamato2 is offline  
#2 of 16 Old 01-06-2010, 11:42 PM
 
minta's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 232
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
We are not Waldorf as such but I have learned soooo much from hanging out in that forum, and it made it remarkably simple to cull all the plastic, electronic, single-purpose toys so that we now have a very manageable amount of lovely playthings.

I also learned heaps from reading some Peter Walsh books and really adopted the "Does this match the vision I have for my home?" approach to dealing with clutter, including children's clutter.

For me, since I'm sort of a materialist at heart, it helps to quantify intangible things as possessions. So, for example, we give up toys and gain Space, sacrifice some possessions to acquire Peace etc... That way the balance sheet still feels even IYKWIM?
minta is offline  
#3 of 16 Old 01-07-2010, 12:18 AM
 
GearGirl's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 2,950
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Well you are definitely doing something right if they are playing with them! I had too many toys and it seemed like that was actually preventing the kids from playing with much because I had too much clutter!
GearGirl is offline  
#4 of 16 Old 01-07-2010, 12:23 AM
 
The Hidden Life's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 284
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Is it just guilt that you have so much? Or that you want space? Or that you feel like these aren't the right toys?

I like Waldorf dolls as much as the next crunchy mama but why get rid of all your child's plastic dolls just to acquire a new Waldorf doll and make a bunch of clothes? Why not just keep one or two plastic dolls that your child already loves and plays with? Unless they were *all* obnoxious talking, peeing/pooping, battery-driven toys, I wouldn't give away all of them. Is there a plain one that would do? Otherwise I fear the message given to the child is not just "we have too much stuff" but "we don't have the right kind of stuff."

Do you see what I mean? Already you are planning on buying the new doll and escalating the amount of stuff to go with it (making the new clothes). Would it be so bad if the doll only had one outfit? Or if you let your child have the doll for a while and decide for herself whether or not the doll needs more clothes--and then perhaps encourage her to make them herself?

For a person that has had an addiction to buying I would recommend to learn to be content with what you have, rather than chucking it all just to buy "one more thing."

"For me, You have created the skies scattered with stars...and all the beautiful things on earth." ~St. Maximilian Kolbe
The Hidden Life is offline  
#5 of 16 Old 01-07-2010, 12:32 AM
 
lach's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: MA
Posts: 2,042
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
My DD would freak if I got rid of her plastic baby doll and replaced it. If they play with the toys, why throw them away to buy new ones?

Maybe you could just work on better toy organization? Then you wouldn't have closets stuffed full of them, but everything could have a place and a place for everything.

Trying to live a simple life in a messy house in a complicated world with : DH, DD (b. 07/07), DS (b. 02/09), and DD (b. 10/10)
lach is offline  
#6 of 16 Old 01-07-2010, 03:10 AM
 
nascarbebe's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: rural Missouri
Posts: 1,107
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Interesting. My brothers and I only each had a handful of toys. My dad thought toys were worthless and a waste of money and he got mad at my mom if she bought us any. And we could never leave any outside or they would get stolen (I grew up in Mexico). One time I left out a doll that I really liked and when I went back to get it, it was gone .

So what do I do now? I rarely buy the kids toys. I think I'm afraid they'll get too attached or too materialistic. Not sure. I hate having anything junky. The few things we have are nice quality and I tend to stay away from plastic. I do have weird hangups about toys. I get rid of them if someone gives them to us and I don't like the color or it's not something I wouldn't have chosen.

Awesome SAHM to 5-yr-old son,3-yr-old girl and a baby girl. Blog about my home http://azaleastudio.blogspot.com
nascarbebe is offline  
#7 of 16 Old 01-07-2010, 06:55 AM
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 4,722
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I filled up 6 or so garbage bags of toys. I had 2 large tote boxes and I let the kids fill those with what they wanted to keep. Donating to shelters will help the kids by selling what a difference those toys make for others who sometimes leave their homes with nothing.

It is hard to let go of toys.Selling them is also an option,and the money can be used towards more useful items like science experiement stuff or simple outings.

Just keep boxing things up and eventually getting rid of most of it.

Dd is keeping a few or her speacial dolls,and ds decided he would keep anything dinosaur related.
mattemma04 is offline  
#8 of 16 Old 01-07-2010, 07:05 AM
 
Marylizah's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 1,905
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
What about rotating the toys instead of tossing them?

Have your kids help you decide to put a few boxes of toys in the garage/basement/whatever. In a few months, pull those toys out and put others away. Or, maybe you will all realize you *don't* really need them, and they can be donated or tossed.

And I agree that it can be really tempting to toss some things in order to buy others. That's not necessarily a good idea!!!! If your kids have dolls they play with and love, the last thing they need is yet another doll, you know?

Good luck, I'm fighting the clutter battle here, too.
Marylizah is offline  
#9 of 16 Old 01-07-2010, 09:33 AM
 
Kivgaen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 429
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by greenmamato2 View Post
I am going to work on things like getting rid of all the plastic baby dolls and making a waldorf doll to replace it... then focusing on making clothes/accessories for the ONE doll instead of just getting more and more and more dolls (i don't even have any idea how many there are now but tons. I will say the dolls come from the grandparents mostly, but I've been known to cave once or twice too).
How old are your children?

I just wanted to comment on the waldorf thing: my DS is in waldorf now, but honestly, i haven't given it a second thought to get rid of the "plastic". It's a nice to have, but... wood toys are expensive! I just can't afford to pay for the school AND to pay for the natural toys!

Anyway, regarding decluttering the kids stuff... Here's works for me: My DS is 6, and DD is 3, so they are both verbal enough to communicate. What I've done is just said point blank that we have too much stuff, and that if we had less stuff, it would be easier to keep everything clean.

What I do is encourage the children to help me select toys they don't play with anymore, or clothes that don't fit them anymore, and gather everything up in a big box to "give to the babies" at second-hand stores. (We frequently go there).

What I find is that they are more than receptive to this, and OFTEN, they select toys or things that *I* think are special and that *I* would NEVER have thrown away on them. When they do select something like that, I commend them and say "really?? you want to give THAT to the babies? That's so nice! What a special present".

Sometimes they change their mind when we get there about one or two items, and then I usually express empathy towards them and say something like you're not quite ready to give it away to the babies yet. Do you want to say goodbye first?... Almost always, they give it a big hug and kiss, and then that's the end of it. We have, on occasion, rescued some items. But it doesn't happen very often.

Hope the above idea helps.
Kivgaen is offline  
#10 of 16 Old 01-07-2010, 09:52 AM
 
Carhootel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 1,287
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I'm only at the beginning of the toy battle (ds is almost a year) but I have watched my brothers go through it and one thing I think helps is to rotate toys and/or pack them up and see if you miss them (or the kids do). I have 3 baskets of toys right now and we only have one available at a time, the rest are hidden away in the attic and closet. It helps me not to feel like the house is overrun with toys but I also know that ds has a good variety and doesn't bore of his toys.

Charlotte wife to B momma to Q 2/22/09
Carhootel is offline  
#11 of 16 Old 01-07-2010, 10:03 AM
 
berry987's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 710
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
We don't have a mountain of toys, but our toys aren't all wood and well-made, either. I think there can be a middle ground. My kids love Legos and Star Wars action figures, so although I'd love the look of a tidy playroom with well-made toys, ours is more like a tidy playroom with a mess of Legos in bins.

I did downsize A LOT. My mom gives the kids a ton of toys. And luckily my kids tend to play with just a few things, so I slip out the things that were never very important in the first place. My oldest (who is 5) has noticed when some of them went missing, and always acts upset or whines about it. I tell him that too many toys isn't much fun because you can't find the ones you really like to play with, and I also tell him we donate the toys to "kids who don't have toys."

He's okay with that. I used to have guilt about getting rid of toys. It doesn't help that if I randomly mention getting rid of toys, my friends (who all have kids) usually roll their eyes and jokingly call me a grinch or something along those lines.

But I remind myself that I grew up in a large family with not many toys at all, and they were all shared. I loved a special stuffed bunny I had my whole childhood and really don't remember much of the other toys. And I had a wonderful, happy childhood...and I never felt deprived (even though my friends always had more toys). That helps me remember that my kids will be just fine (maybe better off) without all the toys.

berry987 is offline  
#12 of 16 Old 01-07-2010, 11:23 AM
 
lach's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: MA
Posts: 2,042
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Regarding the Waldorf v. plastic dolls, here's a thread you might find interesting, too

http://www.mothering.com/discussions....php?t=1174018

Trying to live a simple life in a messy house in a complicated world with : DH, DD (b. 07/07), DS (b. 02/09), and DD (b. 10/10)
lach is offline  
#13 of 16 Old 01-07-2010, 04:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
greenmamato2's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 613
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Thank you so much everyone for the input. A lot of the suggestions were very very helpful to me!!

Minta - I will definitely check out the Waldorf forums! I also completely LOVE the: "Does this match the vision I have for my home?" idea, and will employ that when working through the whole house (including the kids' rooms). I think I also really identify with the idea of gaining peace and space in exchange for fewer posessions (because really - the amount of toys are obscene at this point).

The Hidden Life - I think you make some good points. The truth is that she doesn't really play with any one of the babies more than the other - its just the fact that they're babies. They're all cheapy and aren't made to last. One of the dolls has already had its head fall off, LOL. She's not attached to the baby dolls at all, really. She just wants something to "mother" or pretend with. I think what I am envisioning is having one quality doll that will last, and that can be used in multiple ways (boy/girl/baby/child) instead of just in one way. I would make the waldorf doll with craft supplies I have on hand, and wool stuffing I have in my fiber stash, so there would be no out of pocket cost, and it would be more meaningful / better quality than what she has now. As for the clothes and accessories, I was thinking more of doing that for birthdays and holidays instead of buying new toys... just minimally expanding on the toys she already has. Does that make sense?

Mattemma04 - We will be donating our un-needed toys to the shelter, and I will be telling my girls that they will be going to kids who don't have toys to play with. They seem to understand this since its what we did last time with the couple garbage sacks of toys, and they seemed very excited about helping other girls and boys. They talked about it for days, telling me, "Brown bear went to help the boys and girls who don't have toys, huh mama?" I love that they get it.

Kivgaen - my youngest is 4, and my oldest who is 8 has a developmental level of an 18-month to 2-yo. The oldest is non-verbal, but the 4yo is at a typical level for her age so she participates in this process pretty well. The oldest doesn't have a ton of toys except for a few special ones since she seems to fixate, so we won't get rid of much of hers... mostly the younger one. I love that you include your kids in the process!

Berry987 - I agree that there can be a balance between having plastic and natural toys if the person is okay with plastic toys. We are going to keep some of the plastic stuff because its a really nice quality and they're well built, and played with often.

Lach - Thank you for the link! I'll go check it out!

Marylizah - If I had more time, I would definitely try rotating them, and will probably employ that after a while, but we have a move coming up, which is also part of the reason we are downsizing. I think rotating is a fantastic idea though, to keep toys "new" feeling and exciting. We will do that when we get to our new house for sure.
greenmamato2 is offline  
#14 of 16 Old 01-07-2010, 04:23 PM
 
The Hidden Life's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 284
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Ah, that makes more sense; you are moving. Your plan sounds like a good one. Happy sewing!

"For me, You have created the skies scattered with stars...and all the beautiful things on earth." ~St. Maximilian Kolbe
The Hidden Life is offline  
#15 of 16 Old 01-09-2010, 10:35 AM - Thread Starter
 
greenmamato2's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 613
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Just wanted to update that we went through the toys. I spent the entire day yesterday going through them, and we got rid of about 8 grocery sacks full + some bigger items that didn't fit in the bags (and two bags of just trash - broken toys and things that were really junky to begin with). There are still a LOT of toys, but the stuff they have is quality stuff that I know they'll use. I still feel like there's too much, but I'm happy with the progress. We'll probably do one more purge before the move, just getting rid of anything that they don't really seem to love or play with often between now and then.

There is more organization now and the kids have more opportunities to see where their things are. I'm happy with the progress.
greenmamato2 is offline  
#16 of 16 Old 01-09-2010, 01:27 PM
 
flowmom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 4,342
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Hidden Life View Post
I like Waldorf dolls as much as the next crunchy mama but why get rid of all your child's plastic dolls just to acquire a new Waldorf doll and make a bunch of clothes? Why not just keep one or two plastic dolls that your child already loves and plays with? Unless they were *all* obnoxious talking, peeing/pooping, battery-driven toys, I wouldn't give away all of them. Is there a plain one that would do? Otherwise I fear the message given to the child is not just "we have too much stuff" but "we don't have the right kind of stuff."

Do you see what I mean? Already you are planning on buying the new doll and escalating the amount of stuff to go with it (making the new clothes). Would it be so bad if the doll only had one outfit? Or if you let your child have the doll for a while and decide for herself whether or not the doll needs more clothes--and then perhaps encourage her to make them herself?

For a person that has had an addiction to buying I would recommend to learn to be content with what you have, rather than chucking it all just to buy "one more thing."
I agree. Also, you may find that your children like the plastic doll better than the Waldorf doll!! I've been seduced by Waldorf toys, but my children haven't. They've never really responded to the simplicity and materials of waldorf toys. For me, having my children play with a small number of Waldorf toys fit an vision that I had, but my children didn't cooperate with that .

What I would recommend to you is to toss any toys that are not being played with, to bin up and store 80% of the remaining toys (if you have the space), then every month replace the 20% of accessible toys with an equivalent amount that's in storage. Since shopping and buying seems to be a habit for your family, you could even set up a once-a-month "store" (using the stored toys) where they trade in the toys that they are bored with. Getting a toy that's been tucked away is almost as fun for a child as buying something new. That could be a good way to fill the need for novelty without buying more stuff, because you already have your own "store" to get "new" toys for your children.

As your children get used to having access to fewer toys, you can start to experiment with what the right amount of toys is for your family.

FWIW, my children do watch DVDs regularly, but I feel better about the time that they spend playing with toys than the time that they spend watching DVDs.

We definitely have toys but not a lot. FWIW I think I may be the only parent on MDC who feels that their child could use *more* toys. And I definitely notice that my children have pretty distinct differences in the kinds of toys that they like to play with.

sharing life with | 9.5 yo ds | 7 yo dd | love of my life new husband

flowmom is offline  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Mothering Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
If you do not want to register, fill this field only and the name will be used as user name for your post.
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.



User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off