Swimming in toys but they play with it all - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 18 Old 04-19-2013, 10:04 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My kids are spoiled. They have so many toys books games educational supplies. Our home is largish and can fit it all but I'm really sick of walking all over the toys and picking them up with them only to have them back and spread out everywhere. I could move all their toys into a spare room but I'd rather have the room to have my own spot to try and get back into selling on ebay. I'm toying with just taking all the toys and having them placed on shelves in the shed. If I left only some matchbox cars out they would be fine, I'm sure. What would do? What do you do?

 

They play with their toys but the ones I put into closets and under the bunk pull out trundle dont see the light of day anymore, But yet there are still so many toys out and they only get put away when I do clean them up or enforce clean  up time, which is a real battle right now. I can't just donate it all because it's nice stuff, or course right, and i used to sell things online and that's the goal again, but that can't happen until i get this house under control.

 

I feel like the clothing and toys are drowning me and it's easy to just stick it all into a huge box in frustration but then i know i'm stuck with the task of organizing it again because it kills me to just donate them when I know they are worth money. would a toy library work? They already basically have one but the toys just sit there unless I take them down and rotate them and that just doesn't happen. My oldest is 6 so I can get him involved in the process but then again I feel like he doesn't need to be involved. 

 

Maybe if i took all the toys and put them on my shelves in the ebay/craigslist room and said they were for sale they would play with them and take better care of putting things back when they should. One box down, one box back type of deal? But then that kind of defeats the purpose i feel. I don't know what to do!


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#2 of 18 Old 04-19-2013, 10:12 AM
 
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Same thing here; we have room for a lot but the little one will drown in toys unless I thin the herd. wink1.gif MIL is a rabid yardsaling hoarder so there's no mercy here.....if it doesn't get played with a reasonable amount to goodwill it goes! You could always put stuff in the spare room and toss it if they don't notice it's gone.
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#3 of 18 Old 04-20-2013, 12:15 AM
 
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If you have the money- get clear plastic bins and put all the spare toys in them. Put them somewhere out of sight.

 

Leave one or two only (or the contents, if you have enough shelving space or similar) out to play with.

 

Each week or every two weeks, rotate the bins.

 

This works very well for us.

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#4 of 18 Old 04-20-2013, 12:42 PM
 
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I pack stuff away and if they don't ask for it for 6 months or so, I just sell it. I tell them if they want a new type of toy out of the toys I put away, they have to clean the play room first.

Mom to: Honey (6/04) and Bunny (9/09)
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#5 of 18 Old 04-20-2013, 10:34 PM
 
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> I feel like the clothing and toys are drowning me and it's easy to
> just stick it all into a huge box in frustration but then i know i'm
> stuck with the task of organizing it again because it kills me to just
> donate them when I know they are worth money.
 
Sometimes the guy and I buy tickets for a play or another event, and when the night comes, we don't want to go - we're tired, we're stressed and want an evening at home, we've read reviews that make it clear that we won't like the play, whatever. We tell ourselves that we should go, because we spent all that money. And then we realize that the choice is:
 
- Accept that we spent X dollars, don't go to the play, and have a pleasant evening.
- Accept that we spent X dollars, do go to the play, and have a tired, stressful evening.
 
The first choice is the choice that will make us happier. Why should we reject it? Yes, we spent the money, but why should we be the servant of that money that we spent, why should we allow the money to bully us into having a lousy evening? 
 
You spent the money on the toys. You can:
 
- Leave the toys out and have a crowded house and a lot of stress for you and for your kids.
- Put most of the toys away, permanently, or give them away, and have a neater house and less stress.
 
The money's spent. The money's gone. My suggestion is, don't let that money bully you into cluttering your house and stressing yourself and the kids out. 
 
It sounds like those toys are making you angry at the kids - you're calling them spoiled, you're talking about threatening to sell the toys unless they clean up and take better care of them. It sounds like the duty that you feel to the money is being passed on as a duty that the kids have to the money.
 
But neither of you have any duty to the money. Your kids are probably too young to deal with so many possessions, and the fact that the money was spent doesn't change that fact. It doesn't impose a duty on you, it doesn't impose a duty on the kids. I'd say, send the majority of those toys away.
 
Now, "send...away" can mean donating those toys, or it can mean putting them in the shed. I would advocate donating, but if you have plenty of space and that  space isn't costing you in dollars or emotion, the shed sounds like a perfectly fine solution.
 
But if those toys call out to you from the shed, trying to tell you that you have a duty to them, a duty to sell them for maximum profit, or a duty to get your kids to play with them, I would suggest trying to force yourself to get rid of them. 
 
You don't owe that money anything.
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#6 of 18 Old 04-21-2013, 07:00 AM
 
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I'm going to be blunt. Either give it away or live with it. I don't mean that in a rude way, so apologies if it does come across rudely. But as Crayfish said, you've got to make a decision and be happy with it. Which one sacrifice are you more comfortable with? Currently, you can either sacrifice the money you've spent or the happiness that comes from a calm and tidy environment. Which one are you willing to give up?

 

What would I do? I'd get someone to take the kids for a weekend and be really honest with myself. The main question to ask yourself would be: "What do my kids really play with?". Personally, my 4 kids can play with almost any toy I set in front of them and if I were to fill a room with toys, they would certainly *play* with it all.. But, there are few very they will consistently return to. IMO playing with a toy for five minutes and tossing it aside, doesn't constitute playing. Playing with a toy for a couple hours or so, three times a week, means it's probably a keeper. Which toys do your kids run to first? Which toys do you not mind picking up time and time again? Which ones do you think add value to your child's existence? Which ones are simply outgrown? Or yet to be grown in to?

 

The toys that don't meet the keeper criteria - regardless of how they much cost - can be cleaned and set aside in *that empty room you mentioned* for sale at a later date on ebay. Put them in a black garbage bag, so that they can't be seen and re-negotiated back into the toy area.

 

Good luck mama!
 


 

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#7 of 18 Old 04-22-2013, 10:45 AM
 
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We also drown in toys.  And I can't get rid of anything because DS plays with ALL OF IT.  Even broken bits and pieces are treasured and repurposed.  I fear he will be a hoarder.  Only very recently, after much education, is he starting to understand he needs to let go of things.  The one time I gave something away without his knowledge he had a complete breakdown. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by larablue View Post

If you have the money- get clear plastic bins and put all the spare toys in them. Put them somewhere out of sight.

 

Leave one or two only (or the contents, if you have enough shelving space or similar) out to play with.

 

Each week or every two weeks, rotate the bins.

 

This works very well for us.

 

The above works well for us too.  My problem is staying on top of what is "out" and getting something boxed up and put away so everything doesn't return.


Mom to DS, born fall 05 after ,,, wife/best friend to DH We have
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#8 of 18 Old 04-22-2013, 04:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I love this board! Thank you all for taking time to respond. I got the toys under control. I took some of your advice and I feel better. Toys are all separated for the most part, matchbox cars and accessories in another. I had bought some clear plastic shoe boxes a while back and finished sorting things like pattern blocks and connectagons into them. For the most part though I'm using the cardboard boxes from diapers and and it's amazing how many books can fit in there along with boards games and bulkier toys. It's all put inside a low cupboard down the hallways and the rest are in the older boys closet.  

 

The spare room is now functioning as a library/learning room and I have space to do my work and they can do puzzles, draw on the whiteboard, read, etc. . The playroom is pretty much free of toys now with the exception of the lego table and spring horse. There is a bed for bouncing on and then a large l desk on the opposite end for school work and whatever.

 

Crayfish you really knocked some sense at me! Sometimes I forget that I DO have a choice and allowing myself to be bullied by money and stuff is wacky! Maybe the fact that I grew up with a single mom and there was no money to spare plays into this. Spoiled is a bad word to use though,  but they are very fortunate to have what they have. They have the home and family life I wished I could have had as a little girl. I'm going to ease off on caring so much about this STUFF. The stupid thing is that most of these toys and books I got for very cheap and it doesn't matter what they cost in the end, because when they grow up, the only things that will remain will likely be the matchbox cars and legos that were my husbands.

 

Despite most of the toys being tucked away in other rooms they are finding their way out but it's a lot more easy to maintain now. Yay!

 

Sometimes the guy and I buy tickets for a play or another event, and when the night comes, we don't want to go - we're tired, we're stressed and want an evening at home, we've read reviews that make it clear that we won't like the play, whatever. We tell ourselves that we should go, because we spent all that money. And then we realize that the choice is:
 
- Accept that we spent X dollars, don't go to the play, and have a pleasant evening.
- Accept that we spent X dollars, do go to the play, and have a tired, stressful evening.
 
The first choice is the choice that will make us happier. Why should we reject it? Yes, we spent the money, but why should we be the servant of that money that we spent, why should we allow the money to bully us into having a lousy evening? 
 
You spent the money on the toys. You can:
 
- Leave the toys out and have a crowded house and a lot of stress for you and for your kids.
- Put most of the toys away, permanently, or give them away, and have a neater house and less stress.
 
The money's spent. The money's gone. My suggestion is, don't let that money bully you into cluttering your house and stressing yourself and the kids out. 
 
It sounds like those toys are making you angry at the kids - you're calling them spoiled, you're talking about threatening to sell the toys unless they clean up and take better care of them. It sounds like the duty that you feel to the money is being passed on as a duty that the kids have to the money.
 
But neither of you have any duty to the money. Your kids are probably too young to deal with so many possessions, and the fact that the money was spent doesn't change that fact. It doesn't impose a duty on you, it doesn't impose a duty on the kids. I'd say, send the majority of those toys away.

 


Ma (26) to a happy boy 04.07 and due with another 01.11 ~ finally marrying my HS sweetie 02.12!
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#9 of 18 Old 05-02-2013, 03:29 PM
 
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There's another option than sell them all or live in chaos. We downsized toys massively to only the special types, but I found we still ended up with massive mess every day. Even if the ONLY toy I allowed them to have was their much loved blocks, they can still make the room look like a tornado hit it easily. For us the problem was they just take things out and don't put away. We have the toys organized really well into separate baskets, but they just weren't getting put back in. So now we have a rule, even though I am not fond of 'rules'. But basically they are only allowed to play with ONE THING at a time. And if they want to stop playing with it and get something else out then they pack it away. I have two kids so if they want to play different things, that's fine as well, but they pack away what they had.

 

My kids tend to play with one thing for a while but spread it all over. They are learning how much easier it is to keep it clean as they go along versus letting it get out of control and taking forever to clean it all. Kind of a two steps forward one back learning process. It's easier said than done to start doing this rule though as you have to really make sure to remind them about packing away, instead of just moving to something else like they used to and leaving the play room in a mess. But it starts to work really well. Our play room is our living room so it is really horrible having it in constant mess. I used to just leave everything til the kids were asleep, pick it all up myself, and vacuum. They were really good about it if I asked for help cleaning it up, but I just found that way easier. But now I am pregnant with triplets and need to rest, I simply CAN'T pick up hundreds of tiny bits and pieces off the floor and take them to corresponding boxes. Physically I can't do it. And honestly, I think it is fair. It's real life. You make a huge mess, you should be responsible for cleaning it up. It's kind to help each other and what not and I do help as much as I can. But ultimately if I am resting nearby and they make a huge mess, I don't feel it's my job to clean it all up. They can choose to throw blocks everywhere, but also means later they do need to collect them again to keep our house livable. Just common sense if you ask me. Might make me sound strict, but I am really not :) We're a very relaxed family. There is no punishment or nagging or anything of that sort.  

 

So just saying, if your kids use all their toys, you don't have to get rid of them all if you don't want to. Though I'm all for minimalism, I personally didn't find a smaller amount solved the problem. Instead, you could just try a better system that doesn't result in toys everywhere all the time. thumb.gif  

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#10 of 18 Old 05-07-2013, 08:56 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Love your insight! We are working on the ONE TOY ONLY rule,  but right now it's more like the ONE PLAY SET rule. Like you said, it really is easier said than done! I'm learning to accept that kids can "make the room look like a tornado hit it easily". I hate feeling like a nagger but I think the more I remind them to take things out and put them away, at some point, it will stick and I won't have to nag. By then they will likely be teenagers and not playing with bunches of toys anymore. We'll have moved on to other things, oh dear! 

 

Our play room is our living room too and the central part to the home. When you come inside you see a fish tank, an art area and then bam the open area. When my husband comes home from work and walks from the laundry through the playroom to the kitchen he does not want to walk over toys, dirty clothes and a mish mash of whatever. When I'm home all day I don't want to walk through that either. But a few thiings I can live with. It s what it is. I'd rather have a few toys scattered around than no toys and no free spirited little beings to make me smile each day.

 

But your right... ultimately if we are nearby and they make a huge mess by throwing blocks and toys everywhere, they should clean it all up when they are done. It is total common sense and it takes less than a minute to complete the task. While writing this my two year old grabbed a container of little people and then went off with his ride on toy, but now he wants to play with his cars so I asked him to clean up his animals and he listened. Now he's going for his cars.

 

At the moment now there is still a large spring horse, a huge plush dog that they bounce on and use as a bean bag chair, a large lego table (with the tub in the big boys room). two crib mattresses stacked on top of each other for seating, a huge conference table for us to spread out on for work and coloring, playing, whatever. There is also a few accessory toys and big pillows for tossing and playing on but when it's time to vacuum and clean up it will take no time. The bed is back in the spare room since we have company arriving next week. 


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#11 of 18 Old 05-07-2013, 04:27 PM
 
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Oh yeah ours is more one thing, than one toy. So more of one game at a time. Which might mean DS brings out all his cars and races them all around the room. Which is fine. He knows now that if he brings it out then it is his responsibility to tidy the mess he makes with it. Which means he can choose to just keep messes smaller or he can go crazy, it's all his choice. Tidying even a pretty big mess doesn't take that long when you only have the one thing out to sort. Its when there are a million different pieces from all different sets and games spread all over, that it takes forever to sort out. Definitely don't nag about it. Just keep it really light and make it fun if need be. Mine just know that I expect it now so I really just remind them gently and that's it now. I encourage them to clean up before getting something else out. I don't force or make it something negative or bad though. I also want them to be free spirits like you said, plus being a nag or bossy is so not my style lol. They can choose to not tidy up when suggested, just means later on they will need to do it all at once. And they are fast learning how much of a pain it is to do it when it has gotten out of control. They do know that at some point, it needs to be cleaned up. As we can't live like that day in day out.  If they are wanting to take out something particularly messy I just remind them that it might be something harder to clean up, so they can choose if it's something they want to deal with. They are usually fine with that and bring it out anyway. Once I'm not pregnant anymore I will be much more able to get down on the floor and join in their games like I used to (miss that a lot), in which case I will also be responsible for tidying up the games after ;). We are all equal. We are homeschooling so I'm glad we can start creating better habits now, since there is no end date when they will not be playing during the day at home. We are still a work in progress though!

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#12 of 18 Old 05-10-2013, 01:11 PM
 
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Same here, DD is getting so much more toys than DS ever had, I think part of it is 1, hand me downs, 2 she likes toys more than DS did. Ds still doesn't play with very many toys but DD will play with everything and anything that is a toy. So IDK what to do, DD has probably 10 purses. Mind you I didn't buy 1 of them! They were all gifts. She has turned into a purse hoarder lol. And now she has play heels, what a fight we had when I would not let her wear them to pick up DS yesterday at school! And about 15 babies and I am guilty of buying her 3 of them...But the above post about not letting the items own you was very insightful. I once read that letting clutter or items cause you unnecessary stress is a sign of OCD, but that ocd is a response to a greater stressful trigger. During and just after my divorce items and clutter was driving me mad, I seriously thought I was developing OCD I was cleaning a lot too. But now I have calmed down, probably because my life circumstances and emotional state have calmed down too. I have a corner of toys just kind of thrown there and and it doesn't drive me mad, or a pile of papers. My house isn't spotless or a huge mess and I am feeling okay and not letting the homes cleanliness determine my stress level. But I am going to try and tackle that cluttered corner of toys tonight, and I think I will go at it a little differently now that I have read this thread.


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#13 of 18 Old 05-10-2013, 02:04 PM
 
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There are many fun ways to organize and get your kids involved too as they get older. Our son has a designated spot in the living room for where he can play. It helps if you have furniture too that can double as storage! Makes all the toys disappear and keep your space somewhat adult too if your friends are over! thumb.gif

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#14 of 18 Old 05-10-2013, 04:01 PM
 
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How old are your kids, OP? You may want to venture into the Minimalist, or Simple Living method. Currently, I feel the very same as you. Only I have one child, and he's only 25 months old. Still, even though we told our parents "NO toys, period." ..They still got him toys. And his aunts and uncles got him toys(which, for them I can understand, because they don't live in the same state). Needless to say, they've built up. I'm finding them all incredibly useless. Toys only keep a child inside the home, anyway..when they should be outside exploring and getting fresh air and sunlight.

 

I'm about to weed his toys down to what his aunts and uncles got him out of courtesy, and keep the toys that make him feel like a little adult(his broom and dust pan, vacuum cleaner, his old remote controls that serve as that or phones, or whatever his mind makes them, and power tool sets).

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#15 of 18 Old 05-16-2013, 09:41 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My boys are 6 and 2. We spend a ton of time at home and we spent a ton of time outside exploring our town and swimming in our backyard now. I would love to be minimalist. We started out that way but over the last couple years things broke away from that a bit naturally. It's just stuff and we don't NEED it. It's stupid when it comes down to it. I'm taking a bunch of games and educational stuff down to our local bookstore. My 6 year old loves going there, and so I think it's a decent trade to get rid of 15 things and allow him to buy 1 thing and pocket the credit for another day or for lunch in their cafe. I guess this declutter/organize process is like losing weight. You lose some pounds but then they creep back on. It's a constant process, I just need to accept that and "work out" a little bit each day to keep the weight off. 


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#16 of 18 Old 05-18-2013, 03:29 PM
 
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OP: It sounds like you're taking some solid actions to reclaim your family's minimalist origins!  Good for you!

 

I just wanted to mention that I think children's play is like water; the source is endless, and it fills and takes the shape of whatever vessel it has the opportunity to occupy.  Which is why some children happily play with a tin can and a piece of string and a rock, because that's all they have.  And then other children play with massive playrooms jam-packed with toys, because that's what they have.  I think it's possible to start slowly editing out toys and they'll be content to play with what remains.  Good luck!


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#17 of 18 Old 05-19-2013, 11:45 AM
 
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I love the play is like water visual, that is so true, I've just never thought of it that way!


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#18 of 18 Old 05-22-2013, 12:05 PM
 
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too much is as bad as not enough right?

 

I dont think your kids are spoiled.  You just have to organize things more efficiently -rotate the toys, organize them sot hey are easy to find and easy to store

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