FOUR huge bags of toys, gone..... - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 8 Old 08-08-2012, 07:31 AM - Thread Starter
 
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We cleaned out the basement/playroom this past weekend, and hauled out four large garbage bags full of toys that were either broken, missing pieces, or just plain crap.  And another four big baskets of toys that we'll be able to take to the consignment shop or donate.  One of the garbage bags was full of just stuffed animals (which most places won't take).

 

The kids now have only a couple of types of toys left in four small bins.  They chose to keep their playmobile stuff, a bin of hotwheels, a bin of barbies (which my daughter doesn't play with, but wanted to hang onto in case her little sister wants them some day) and a bin of toys that used to be mine when i was little, that the kids wanted to keep.

 

Some of the stuff we are getting rid of are toys they got just last Christmas, that have only been played with a couple of times!!

 

It feels good to get rid of all of this stuff, but also sucks in a way because it feels like we're just throwing money away (both ours and families) with all of these stupid "must have" gimmick toys that have never been played with.  We do this at least a few times a year, it feels like.  Purge the toy room.  How does it keep accumulating so fast????

 

I'd like to avoid the toyfest this Christmas.  Has anyone successfully done this??  It's just so hard, because I feel like I'm short-changing the kids if they only have a couple of things to open.  I'm at a loss of what to give them, or what to suggest for gifts.  I'll probably get them seasons passes to the local waterpark (which sucks, because they won't be able to use them for another 6 months after Christmas), and my daughter is into mp3s now so I can always get itunes cards and things like that.  Passes for the movies.  Passes for local museums and parks.  Consumable things. 

 

Any other ideas for gift ideas for things that will actually be USED and not just piled in the play room?  Has anyone had success with keeping the toy jungle to a minimum?

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#2 of 8 Old 08-09-2012, 12:47 AM
 
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Yes, I have! I've written several blog posts on Simplicity at Christmas and children. I find good gifts are things that can be used like new clothing, bath soaps in the shapes of animals etc that can be used up in the bath or a new shiny pair of boots, hair clips for the girls etc. I will ask them if there is one special thing they would like etc. It can be done! Having a well set up basic play area to start with helps too. I avoid character toys as you just end up replacing same basic toys with different characters, such a waste of money not to mention being bad for the environment.


http://mamauk.typepad.com/mamauk/2012/03/choosing-to-opt-out-of-large-whole-class-birthday-parties.html

http://mamauk.typepad.com/mamauk/2011/12/how-to-cope-with-unwelcome-plastic-toy-gifts-in-your-home.html

http://mamauk.typepad.com/mamauk/2011/11/late-autumn-and-preparing-for-christmas.html

http://mamauk.typepad.com/mamauk/2011/11/simplicity-at-christmas.html

http://mamauk.typepad.com/mamauk/2010/12/our-ostheimer-nativity-as-each-christmas-passes-we-are-more-and-more-striving-for-simplicity-in-our-celebrations-we-want.html

I hope that helps!

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#3 of 8 Old 08-09-2012, 05:42 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Great blog, and you've given me some good ideas, for sure. =)  Last year I had high hopes to make them some nice things for Christmas, but I had a brand new baby and life got in the way.  I should dust off my sewing machine and make those quilted beanbag chairs I was planning on last year (they've both been bugging for beanbag chairs forever!)

 

Soaps and hair things are also excellent ideas that I hadn't thought of for stocking stuffers.  DH and I were frustrated a couple of years ago when we were doing our regular playroom purge, and realized that 99% of the stocking stuffers ended up in the garbage!  It was all just crap. Fillers.  Pointless fillers.  So I will try to be more intentional with the stocking stuffers this year.

 

I am lucky that I have family members that ask for very specific gift ideas for the kids, so they always end up with great toys that are actually used.  Playmobile is their big thing since they've outgrown the wooden train set (which, as it turned out, was such a great investment that my youngest is now playing with them almost a decade after they were purchased, and they're still in great shape!  That's a good toy!)  Those that don't ask for gift ideas usually end up throwing cash in a card, and the kids both have a healthy savings account because of it.  What surprised me was this year's birthday parties.  My older two enjoy having parties, but with three kids born in the same month, I dread the influx of stuff.  I always suggest craft things or outdoor toys (they practically live outside), but this year my 9 year old ended up with several hundred dollars in cash to add to her account.  She loves it, because she's "saving for a house", she says.  What a goof.

 

It recently occured to me that I think our biggest issue is that we're in a multi level split family situation (DH and I are divorced, and both of our parents were divorced).  The kids actually have, let me count....wow, hmmm...SIX sets of grandparents, and four, no five....shoot, SEVEN great grandparents.  Only a couple of them tend to go over the top with gifts, despite our pleas to keep it simple.  But now it makes total sense why our play room is annually getting bombarded wth an influx of toys!  Duh!!  Maybe it's not my fault, after all. ;)

 

Maybe I could get them to all work together to design some crazy bizarre family tree for the kids this year, haha.  That'd be a huge undertaking. =P

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#4 of 8 Old 08-09-2012, 10:06 AM
 
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Originally Posted by ~Nikki~ View Post

Great blog, and you've given me some good ideas, for sure. =)  Last year I had high hopes to make them some nice things for Christmas, but I had a brand new baby and life got in the way.  I should dust off my sewing machine and make those quilted beanbag chairs I was planning on last year (they've both been bugging for beanbag chairs forever!)

Soaps and hair things are also excellent ideas that I hadn't thought of for stocking stuffers.  DH and I were frustrated a couple of years ago when we were doing our regular playroom purge, and realized that 99% of the stocking stuffers ended up in the garbage!  It was all just crap. Fillers.  Pointless fillers.  So I will try to be more intentional with the stocking stuffers this year.

I am lucky that I have family members that ask for very specific gift ideas for the kids, so they always end up with great toys that are actually used.  Playmobile is their big thing since they've outgrown the wooden train set (which, as it turned out, was such a great investment that my youngest is now playing with them almost a decade after they were purchased, and they're still in great shape!  That's a good toy!)  Those that don't ask for gift ideas usually end up throwing cash in a card, and the kids both have a healthy savings account because of it.  What surprised me was this year's birthday parties.  My older two enjoy having parties, but with three kids born in the same month, I dread the influx of stuff.  I always suggest craft things or outdoor toys (they practically live outside), but this year my 9 year old ended up with several hundred dollars in cash to add to her account.  She loves it, because she's "saving for a house", she says.  What a goof.

It recently occured to me that I think our biggest issue is that we're in a multi level split family situation (DH and I are divorced, and both of our parents were divorced).  The kids actually have, let me count....wow, hmmm...SIX sets of grandparents, and four, no five....shoot, SEVEN great grandparents.  Only a couple of them tend to go over the top with gifts, despite our pleas to keep it simple.  But now it makes total sense why our play room is annually getting bombarded wth an influx of toys!  Duh!!  Maybe it's not my fault, after all. wink1.gif

Maybe I could get them to all work together to design some crazy bizarre family tree for the kids this year, haha.  That'd be a huge undertaking. =P

With six sets of grandparents that's a huge potential for toys to come to your home! It's great though they they mostly check with you. Have you thought about requesting a day out as a gift and then you can send pics through so they can share in the fun you all had? Also, here's another stocking filler idea: socks! My girls love cute and pretty socks, I don't know why but they get a kick out of them! Also sticker books, my oldest girl loves the usbourne sticker dressing up dolly books and after they been enjoyed and all the stickers have been stuck they can be recycled. I'm sure I'll be thinking of some ideas in the autumn so I can pop back on here...
I think children enjoy unwrapping a gift, despite what it actually may be, so the way I figure it is why not make it useful?! I quite often ask for pretty clothes...dresses or skirts for them...

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#5 of 8 Old 08-09-2012, 12:14 PM
 
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We live a distance from family and no one bothers to even send a card or call for Christmas/birthdays.. Which is "good" in a way since the Christmases we have been near have been horrible (both times I broke down crying afterwards from stress/the negativity of the day).."
I do a couple small gifts for their birthday (one my kids pick, a couple I do) and they are usually books or handmade gifts. For example my middle asked for a set of scriptures for her birthday and Im making her a case to go with it. Then shes getting some hair ribbon and an "adopt an animal" from the local zoo which is basically a donation made in the child's name and they get a small stuffed replica of the animal they are "adopting".
Christmas we do three gifts. I try to do handmade things. This year my older two are getting an art set (book, colored pencils, learn to draw book), my oldest is getting a hopscotch board (again handmade), my middle is getting a puppet theater (her request) and they are both getting bikes (they have outgrown their trike). My son is getting a push car (to replace the outside pushcar that broke), an alien/spaceship set (knitted) and a bag for him to take to church with some activities. The baby is getting blocks with pictures modge podged on them of different family members. They will each get a small stocking as well..


I find that handmade gifts are valued more here and I only give them what I know they will play with. If there isn't 3 things they want for Christmas we do less. I don't give a gift for the sake of giving one. Also, since we homeschool and don't watch TV/commercials they aren't influenced by others on what they are suppose to want.


~Heather~ Mama to Miss E (1/07), Miss A (11/08), Mr.T (2/11) and Miss A (10/12) Expecting our newest blessing sometime late Sept/early Oct.. Wife to my Marine since 11/2005
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#6 of 8 Old 08-09-2012, 11:57 PM
 
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We live a distance from family and no one bothers to even send a card or call for Christmas/birthdays.. Which is "good" in a way since the Christmases we have been near have been horrible (both times I broke down crying afterwards from stress/the negativity of the day).."

I do a couple small gifts for their birthday (one my kids pick, a couple I do) and they are usually books or handmade gifts. For example my middle asked for a set of scriptures for her birthday and Im making her a case to go with it. Then shes getting some hair ribbon and an "adopt an animal" from the local zoo which is basically a donation made in the child's name and they get a small stuffed replica of the animal they are "adopting".

Christmas we do three gifts. I try to do handmade things. This year my older two are getting an art set (book, colored pencils, learn to draw book), my oldest is getting a hopscotch board (again handmade), my middle is getting a puppet theater (her request) and they are both getting bikes (they have outgrown their trike). My son is getting a push car (to replace the outside pushcar that broke), an alien/spaceship set (knitted) and a bag for him to take to church with some activities. The baby is getting blocks with pictures modge podged on them of different family members. They will each get a small stocking as well..


I find that handmade gifts are valued more here and I only give them what I know they will play with. If there isn't 3 things they want for Christmas we do less. I don't give a gift for the sake of giving one. Also, since we homeschool and don't watch TV/commercials they aren't influenced by others on what they are suppose to want.
We're similar in that my husband and I buy one gift each as a present for our girls, we will usually ask them if there is something in particular they would like, then the other little bits like soap and socks and hair clips will be stocking fillers. We have two relatives that like to gift and they ask us what we would like the girls to have so we might ask for a piece of clothing or a new pair of boots, basically something the girls need. The girls don't 'need' any new toys some don't buy them, which I do feel 'bad' about because of expectations around Christmas and Birthdays. My two girls both attend a Mainstream school here in the UK which makes it more difficult. On the plus side they are 99% TV free so they have never seen toy adverts. We don't keep catalogues in the house either. Last year we almost had a 'toy free' Christmas but in the end the girls got a cherry red vintage enamel play till from us and a box of Lego as a joint present from relatives. When they first opened the Lego it looked like they might get a lot of play from it initially, but sadly it's not being played with now.

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#7 of 8 Old 08-10-2012, 01:01 AM
 
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We switched to: something they want, something they need, something to wear and something to read when my guys were young. It's worked really well. And when my ds1 comes home from his friend's house I just calmly say "we don't choose to celebrate that way " i have made it clear through the years that the way they celebrate is fine, for them (the kid gets more DVDs that my 3 get gifts), just not us
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#8 of 8 Old 08-10-2012, 12:26 PM
 
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I haven't found a way to battle the bulge of the toy room, but I go through the toys around birthdays and get rid of stuff to make room for the new(I don't do it around Christmas just because my daughters birthday is in September, so they JUST got rid of a lot, ya know?). 

I've been unsuccessful in my attempts to tell family not to get the kids a lot of toys, so I just try my hardest not to go crazy with the toys. I've learned that having more activities on Christmas day makes them forget they didn't have "a lot" of presents. We bake cookies, sing songs, watch movies, go sledding, etc. throughout the day.


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