Having trouble decluttering the toys - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 41 Old 04-29-2005, 01:35 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My son's toys are out of control. But, everytime I start to put some in storage I find myself thinking that it should still be available to him. For example, the stacking rings. He never plays with them and he is 2. Should I just let go of the "shoulds" and box up the things he hasn't touched in a long time.
Please give me some good ideas!
Thanks!
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#2 of 41 Old 04-29-2005, 07:01 AM
 
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I am so RUTHLESS that I dont know I'm a good help. I just throw throw throw. My kids have never had many toys and I find now my third is 2 I really overindulged my boys! The boys lose most of the junky toys they have because they dont put them away. Eliza just never had many in the first place.

I've found that without a deluge of toys kids make their own fun, and play with stuff around the house. I keep it to a few tried and true things.

I just plain dont allow playdoh and paints and the like because of the mess.
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#3 of 41 Old 04-29-2005, 07:33 AM
 
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Maybe washing the toys and giving them to a family in need? That might get you to get rid of them if your little one is not playing with them. You're not only cleaning up the toys but giving to someone who has children who would use them
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#4 of 41 Old 04-29-2005, 05:54 PM
 
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Originally Posted by kindacrunchy
Should I just let go of the "shoulds" and box up the things he hasn't touched in a long time.
Yup!!!

Kids have more fun with less "stuff." Too many posessions become overwhelming.

You could put the toys in boxes, and if he looks for a certain toy, unpack it for him. After 3m, figure that anything still in the box won't be missed and donate the box to a thrift store, local charity, or Freecycle.

Ruth, single mommy to Leah, 19, Hannah, 18 (commuting to college), and Jack, 13(homeschooled)
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#5 of 41 Old 05-01-2005, 04:14 PM
 
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We aren't in super-minimalist mode, but I try to limit what toys he has. It was a bit difficult yesterday because my son had his birthday party (3yo) and although I wouldn't have chosen all of those gifts, they will be fun for atleast a while. When the time comes, they'll be gone.

We try to limit his toys to building, pretend play, musical, and some skill type things (like shape sorters, sewing cards, etc.). He wouldn't be as creative as he is if he had a lot of toys.

It sounds like the toys you are thinking of are ones your son has outgrown? That's hard because sometimes I feel like I'm pushing my son on to new toys. He recently began playing with his stacking rings (he's 3 this week) and loving them, but the only reason I still had them to give him (they've been in the basement for over 6 months) was that we were saving them for the next baby. I think there are few things that a child "needs", so getting rid of something that he might play with for a few more hours in the next sixth months is fine. Also, do you rotate toys? If you switch toys in and out you'd see which toys he doesn't play with when they are reintroduced.
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#6 of 41 Old 05-01-2005, 07:54 PM
 
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If you're having a hardtime right now, you could always box up the toys in question, label them & then in a few months bring them out. I do this with my DD. Just yesterday I brought out a bin of toys & books & she went wild saying "open it Open it"....to her they were all new toys & books but in actuality they were just out of her sight for quite some time. Today all she did was play with & read her *new* stuff & I quietly packed up a bunch of the *old* stuff to take out at a later date. It works wonderfully & I'd encourage you to Just Do it

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#7 of 41 Old 05-01-2005, 11:09 PM
 
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It sounds simple to follow the "If they haven't played with it in ___ weeks/months, toss it" rule, but here are things I struggle with:

1. What if the older one doesn't play with it, but the younger one might like it someday?

2. Sometimes, I am the one who likes a toy even if the kids don't like it, so I keep it around hoping they will someday like it.

3. If the gift-giver spent a lot of money on it, I feel guilty about tossing it.

4. If the gift-giver is a special friend of mine or dh's, I also feel guilty.

Recently, I've been able to toss toys in the above situations. But we just moved to a place with a large garage, so now there is less of a reason to toss stuff. "I'll just put it in the garage!" :LOL

I figure the younger child is going to get so many gifts each year from our relatives that we don't need to hang onto the older one's old stuff for her. And if I like the toy (usually a stuffed animal) I keep it if there is plenty of space on my own bookshelf.
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#8 of 41 Old 05-02-2005, 03:51 PM
 
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I'm one of those moms with an emotional attachment to toys - even if its something that hasn't been played with in a year. I've recently done a decent sized purge of the toys - I called it round 1. It went well. I was in a rush to get them out of the house so just donated them to Goodwill. The next round will be going to a women/children's shelter though.

As I went through the toys I looked at whether or not it has been played with recently and the potential for future play. Then I'd compare it to the toys that are actively played with and made a decision. Most of the toys that haven't been played with recently ended up getting donated as their potential for future play was low. =)

It can be stressful but it feels good when you stop stepping on legos and tripping over little people.
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#9 of 41 Old 05-02-2005, 04:05 PM
 
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I did a cull of the toys before Xmas, and figured that once a year was good. DD's birthday was at end of March, and I think we need another one now!

I have one carton where we keep the really good baby toys (DD is 3). She does still like to pull them out, quite regularily, and they are nice to have on hand if we have a younger visitor.

I also keep an eye on stuff as it comes into the house. Yes, it may sound terrible, but even as we are opening gifts, I am thinking, "are we going to keep this?" If its something that I don't want to keep, then I try to keep it either in its packaging or in good shape, so that it can either be regifted or given to a toy drive at Xmas.

I would like to instill in DD the idea of passing things on, especially as we have received so, so, so much from others since she came along. We hardly have bought anything for her, or have gotten it second hand. I'm not sure if she's ready yet for that concept. I'd like to get to a point where she can decide herself, with a bit of gentle guidance, what goes and what stays.

The idea of rotating toys is great - I've just never been organized enough to do it!
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#10 of 41 Old 05-03-2005, 02:47 AM
 
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3. If the gift-giver spent a lot of money on it, I feel guilty about tossing it.
Quote:
4. If the gift-giver is a special friend of mine or dh's, I also feel guilty.
I saw something on Clean Sweep about these very situations and it has helped me tremendously. The decluttering 'expert' guy said that people give a gift to you so that you can do whatever you want with it, and if what you want to do is donate it then you should feel no guilt. I'm not saying it nearly as eloquently as he did, but that was the gist of it.
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#11 of 41 Old 05-03-2005, 03:46 PM
 
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I need to do this as well..... Alex hasn't played with his stacking rings in ages (he's 18 months)....and there's other toys he hasn't touched in a while. We're going to be TTC this month for #2, and it's probably time to box some of them up (and make some more room in our family room!) for the next child.
It's hard because sometimes he'll surprise us and pick out something he hasn't looked at in 8 months and decide it's the greatest thing on Earth! He did this just a few days ago with his little teething book....weird. Of course, he wasn't interested in chewing on it this time....he wanted to play with the doors on the house on the cover!

Shannon & Paul...married since 2000. Parents to Alexander Paul Martin - 30 October, 2003 Grace Elizabeth Maile - 12 June, 2009
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#12 of 41 Old 05-04-2005, 01:25 PM
 
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We have this to an extreme. Our oldest is in 1st grade, with several behind him ... and our toy overload is just beyond. So we agreed (just this past week) to be merciless. Anything over a year old is GONE, with very carefully spelled-out exceptions: We keep legos and wooden blocks, Thomas train stuff, cars/trucks and DD#1s dolls. And the LeapPad stuff grandma&grandpa bought them last year.

So that's 5 categories plus 1 :LOL

Everything else ...

We have to do it late at night. We've noticed that they don't notice. Which is amazing, when you think of it.

Also, as far as donating, so much of it is missing pieces or broken parts, but if we are throwing out stuff that seems to be whole, that gets donated.
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#13 of 41 Old 05-05-2005, 02:04 PM
 
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When I was growing up, my parents would regularly box things up that we had stopped playing with. We never asked for them back. I'm pretty sure after my little brother grew out of them, my parents gave them away. When we were older, as we lost interest in things like Legos and tinkertoys, my parents would pack them up and wrap them as additional gifts for Christmas after some time had passed. When we opened them (totally loving all the extra boxes, you understand) it was like "Cool! Forgot we had these, aren't they great!?"

Anyway, go ahead and pack the toy up, if your son notices the toy is missing, put it back. Asking him to help contribute to something like Toys-for-tots or other charity would be good as well.
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#14 of 41 Old 05-05-2005, 02:20 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cornflake girl
I saw something on Clean Sweep about these very situations and it has helped me tremendously. The decluttering 'expert' guy said that people give a gift to you so that you can do whatever you want with it, and if what you want to do is donate it then you should feel no guilt. I'm not saying it nearly as eloquently as he did, but that was the gist of it.

What I got from that guy was, "The giver of that gift did not want to saddle you with things you don't want and doesn't want to saddle you with guilt either."
So you should get rid of whatever, and not feel guilty.

*I can SAY this, but I still feel guitly getting rid of a lot of things.*
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#15 of 41 Old 05-05-2005, 02:21 PM
 
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this is a great thread.
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#16 of 41 Old 05-07-2005, 02:45 AM
 
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Yes, great thread!

I struggle with feeling guilty too over giving away anything that is from family... *sigh*

My boys have waaaaay too many toys by my standards and I've been slowly going through them... I need to get motivated again and go through them some more...

They always seem to end up playing with things that aren't "toys" anyway. *lol* Sticks, leaves, toilet paper rolls...
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#17 of 41 Old 05-09-2005, 11:34 AM
 
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Yes,
get rid of as much as is possible... my children play so much more peacefully when there is less clutter and they have less choices......

Make things look as beautiful as possible. Hang up play silks, use baskets to store the toys...

Warm wishes,
Tonya

Simple Living, Joyful Homemaking, Homeschooling Mom of 6
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#18 of 41 Old 05-09-2005, 12:34 PM
 
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I've found that without a deluge of toys kids make their own fun, and play with stuff around the house. I keep it to a few tried and true things.
ITA. I decluttered the toys last week and now have two garbage bags full! of toys to donate. The bags are sitting in the living room right now and the kids have not even asked to take anything from them.

Dee, mama to Robin , Wren , Finch and baby Lark born 12/27!
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#19 of 41 Old 05-09-2005, 01:08 PM
 
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Amy-- I'd still donate the games with missing pieces. You never know what people are looking for. For whatever reason, we keep losing Scrabble tiles. An older scrabble game for .25 gives us all that we need without having to buy new. My kids have also made up their own games with stray pieces found at yard sales etc.
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#20 of 41 Old 05-09-2005, 01:13 PM
 
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We regularly donate old toys. The only things i save are heirloom things. Dollhouse, brio, certain playmobil etc. I also do not keep anything that is not attractive or can't be played with in multiple ways. I have no problem giving away anything the kids are never going to play with or anything they did not request. The children actually enjoy going through their toys before b'days, holidays etc to give away. I have no guilt whatsoever, but niether do i toss items without consulting them. When they were little, I regullarly donated items they did not play with. When in doubt, put it away. if they do not ask for it, donate it.

there is one other tricky area. Fi, blocks. These get played with in spurts. lately, 3 of my children have been building with them, but hadn't for awhile. Who would have thought a 12 and 11 yr old would be spending hours playing with blocks? But again, those are heirloom, classic type toys. Those are harder to decide about, ime.
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#21 of 41 Old 05-18-2005, 01:48 PM
 
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alright, i've been inspired...

going to declutter dd's room RIGHT NOW! :LOL
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#22 of 41 Old 05-18-2005, 02:15 PM
 
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I do alright with decluttering smaller toys (put several in a Rubbermaid tote, also have a tote with just blocks, and just train pieces), where I have problems is the larger toys such as the kitchen set, larger trucks, car wash toy, etc. that get played with sporadically. We have a big house, but very little attic and closet storage.

Like Greaseball, I don't want to get rid of all toys when my boys outgrow them since I think the baby (or future children) may play with them. Any ideas on storing bigger toys neatly?

Slightly off-topic - I've already choosen some toys that I plan to keep for my grandchildren to play with (Thomas train pieces, wooden blocks, and K'Nex). Has anyone else made smilar plans?

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#23 of 41 Old 05-27-2005, 02:24 PM
 
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Tanya~ yes, I plan on saving a few things for the kids or their kids as they see fit.

I will save a lot of books (kind of my thing :LOL), some olls for dd, the legos, probably some Fisher Priice sets and a few special stuffed animals. We also have a wooden rocking horse that was a gift and I won't get rid of that. I think some toys hold special memories for kids and us, as parents, and it's ok to hang onto them

~Joan, Happy mom to 2 beautiful kiddos, one new puppy and 2 lovely felines
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#24 of 41 Old 05-27-2005, 04:44 PM
 
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Haven't read all the replies, but if you can find the space to store a big box of extra toys, I would do that. Especially if you plan to have another. We have a box or two of toxs in the basement and they are great for rainy days when dd is kinda bored. It's kinda like Christmas every time you bring up a box.

You gotta rotate the toys. Kids just like things that feel "new" or that they haven't seen in a while.
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#25 of 41 Old 05-27-2005, 06:06 PM
 
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I go through DS's toys every so often and get rid of the broken things, the cheep plastic things (from b-days and the like) and other things that just are not at all being used. About one month ago I decided tot ake ther rest of them and put them in the hallway closet. The only toys that are out are some hard animals that he plays with constantly and some some stuffed animals which he also plays with non-stop. The toys in the closet can be taken out one at a time.

This has been working so wonderfully. When I see that some of the toys in the closet haven't been asked for or used, they will be boxed up and sent to charity.

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#26 of 41 Old 05-28-2005, 01:42 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruthla
Yup!!!

Kids have more fun with less "stuff." Too many posessions become overwhelming.

You could put the toys in boxes, and if he looks for a certain toy, unpack it for him. After 3m, figure that anything still in the box won't be missed and donate the box to a thrift store, local charity, or Freecycle.
I admit, I didn't read the whole thread b/c I read this post & love this idea! I'm going to try it! Now to read the rest of the thread. nak

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#27 of 41 Old 05-28-2005, 04:43 PM
 
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Several of you mentioned saving "heirloom" toys -- which is exactly what my MIL did for my DH & his sister - for nearly 30 years in her attic!

I have to say, it has been a lot of fun passing my Dh's toys onto our son. MIL kept things like Matchbox (all made in England back then vs. China now), old Fisher Price toys (which had a lot more wood than the one's today), Dh's first ride-on 4 wheel trike (which DS rides all the time), special books (Curious George, Mike Mulligan), Star Wars toys & loads of legos (we haven't opened those boxes yet) and other stuff.

I know this idea is not for everyone, but it has been a wonderful connection to my DH's childhood for all of us - him, me, MIL/FIL and my son.

We plan to continue this tradition with our DS - with some of the toys from both DH and DS's "collection".

As far as *organizing* toys, I do a rotation, as some others have mentioned (box 'em up & put them into the attic for a few months, then pull it out again).

We also do a "toy swap" - mostly with my SIL, but you could do it with any friend/neighbor who has toys you like We each choose a few toys to "trade" with each other for a specific length of time - usually a month (DS & his cousin are close in age).

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#28 of 41 Old 06-03-2005, 02:21 AM
 
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I box them up every so often and rotate&donate.

I will never forget the day I gave away Curly Sue It was dd's first dolly love; Nana had given her to DD. She was "just" a thrift store dolly, nothin' special (to me anyway ) with annoying felted hair that I could never brush through. She got another dolly for her birthday and I slipped Curly Sue into the outgoing box. When dd noticed, it was utter devastation. "but Mama! I loved Curly Sue!!!" She still, to this day many years later, sees pics of her 'nursing' Curly Sue and gets sad and asks why I gave her away. The only thing that gives her any comfort is that I told her Curly Sue belongs to a little girl now who had never had a dolly before and it made Curly Sue happy to go and love her.

So, now I give them a longer garage life before they go to the CPA. Her room is in dire need right now, I'll tell ya, and with a huge b-day bash coming up in 10 days, it's gotta be sooooon!
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#29 of 41 Old 06-03-2005, 03:52 AM
 
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I really struggle with simplifying the kids' toys...but I think they play with more toys when there is less there.....simple but in my experience true...good luck...

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#30 of 41 Old 06-08-2005, 09:36 PM
 
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I'm getting some great ideas here!

I had been saving all of dd's toys for ds. I left a bag of baby toys out after pulling out a rattle or something for him, and dd scattered the rest all over the house. Now they are mixed in with her toys as I'm trying to figure out how best to declutter them so she can enjoy organized, quality toys instead of being overwhelmed by junk toy chaos. I realized that it's kind of silly to save everything for ds, because we didn't buy any of those toys for dd, and the same family members are going to shower ds with toys too!
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