Help!! The house has been overrun by toys... - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 12 Old 07-08-2006, 03:18 PM - Thread Starter
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We have too many toys. I have been good about buying toys for years now, but it still seems to find it's way into here at birhtdays and the holidays and when the grandparents want to "spoil" them. But now, the girls don't even play with half of the stuff we have. And we have more crying over trying to get them to help clean their stuff up than anything else. They have so much it is truly overwhelming to them to try and keep it all cleaned up and to get it back tidied up when it gets out of control.

I'm tired of having to constantly pick up after them because they have so much they really "can't" seem to do it themselves. I want to get rid of 80%+ of what they have. Has anyone done this? Did your kids miss the stuff when it was gone? Or if you never had a lot of stuff to begin with, what do you consider "essential" toys for your kids? Their favorite things seems to be the simplest -- ropes, sticks, playsilks -- and things like books, art supplies, and dress up clothes. Do kids "need" the types of toys you buy at toysrus? Also, what about board games, how do you keep them all together when you have a three year old who likes to take the pieces and use them in her pretend play?

Any advice for me? The girls are 3 and almost 6 and I was hoping to do a first pass at night when they are asleep to get rid of what I am 99% sure they won't miss and then have them help me do a second pass to get rid of more until it's down to a managable level. Does that sound like a decent plan?

Also, DD1 has a birthday coming up, is there any advice on what to tell family who want to get her a present? DD wants roller skates and a small pony toy which is fine, and other than that I was thinking of asking for things like a zoo or museum membership and things that get used up like paints and sidewalk chalk. We're already just going to have the neighborhood kids over for cake and ice cream instead of a "party" so that they won't need to bring gifts and DD is thrilled with the idea as she doesn't even "want" anything other than to have her friends come run through the sprinkler with her. Any other ideas for me? The last thing we need is more stuff cluttering up the place. Ugh.

TIA for any advice.

Mama to three sweet girls (a dramatic, chatty 10yo, a bouncy, dynamo of a 7yo, and a delightful, whimsical 3.5yo)
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#2 of 12 Old 07-08-2006, 03:53 PM
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You should check out the Decluttering Forum over in Mindful Home Management.

I declutter toys every few months...anything broken, with missing pieces or from a happy meal (though we don't eat there, grandma still supplies stuff UGH) gets pitches right away.

Board games, we keep in a cupboard that the youngest cannot open right now. When the older kids were smaller, they'd ask for a game so that we only had one out at a time.
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#3 of 12 Old 07-08-2006, 03:54 PM
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Moving this Mindful Home Management

We may not have it all together, but together we have it all
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#4 of 12 Old 07-08-2006, 05:56 PM
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This is just my 2 cents but I wouldn't give them a say in any of it. You know what they play with and what they don't. If you give them a choice they'll want to keep some really silly things or everything. Like cheap party favors from birthday parties or things they never play with. This is what I do

first, anything and I mean anything that is broken or missing peices, second things I don't like or approve of, third things the have duplicates of, how many spiderman action figures does one boy need? Fourth things you never see them play with.Fifth, things that are now below their age level. And sixth stuffed animals, I think the multipy at night.
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#5 of 12 Old 07-08-2006, 06:39 PM
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Yep. Anything broken or unusable in ANY form = GONE. Stuff they don't play with = GONE. You might try rotating their toys for a few weeks to get a feel for what they really, truly use and don't use. And I agree with AngieB - they really don't get much say at this younger age.

When it's gift-giving time, try putting together a book list, craft list or favorite charity list and ask party-goers and gift-givers to use the list, and not stray from it.
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#6 of 12 Old 07-08-2006, 10:16 PM
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I "try" (notice I say try) to go through and take toys/clothes to the Goodwill and sell on Ebay twice each year. In fact, I used to be gung-ho about this type of thing and loved to do it. I used to move alot. After we bought our house 2 years ago I got lazy I guess. I usually go through their stuff in the summer and right before Christmas. I've been bad about it this past year I need to get on the ball.

My daughter is the worst with having so much STUFF. She still has baby stuff that I just can't manage to let go of too My son no longer plays with toys but her room is just overrun with them. *sigh* I dread de-cluttering her room and it needed to be done yesterday if you kwim. I just can't muster up the energy to do it anymore.

I've always loved the idea of rotating their toys but in the last 11 yrs I could never find the time to do it OR the place to hide the toys that they are rotating out of the play area.

46-year-old single (divorced), self-employed working, home schooling, part-time college student mommy to:

19 yr old
12 yr old
5 yr old
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#7 of 12 Old 07-09-2006, 12:14 AM - Thread Starter
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Oh, I'm so happy to have found this forum!! And thanks for the good advice! I guess I'll just go ahead and pack everything up and stick it out in the garage and whatever they haven't asked for in a month or so goes to goodwill. Now if only I can get this done before the birthday...

Mama to three sweet girls (a dramatic, chatty 10yo, a bouncy, dynamo of a 7yo, and a delightful, whimsical 3.5yo)
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#8 of 12 Old 07-10-2006, 05:22 PM
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I have also been trying to scale down the toy situation and basically prevent an overload of toys. This year for my dd's birthday, she is having her first invitation party and we are asking her friends to bring donations for the animal shelter but no gifts please. For Christmas, I will be asking family members (primarily Gramma) to seriously scale down the number of gifts and to consider memberships or subscriptions.

Lisa mom to Gillian (7) : and three : :
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#9 of 12 Old 07-11-2006, 11:44 PM
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Thank you for this thread! I need inspiration and suggestions as my house is getting overrun, too. I am reallllly good about buying toys. I just don't. In fact a few weeks ago we were in a toy store and DS#1 really wanted this little thing that cost $3.99. He was actually shocked (and amazed!) that I bought it for him. We just don't do it except for Christmas and holidays. That said, I feel overrun. Now DS has started a little pile of things on one part of the kitchen counter of certain things (including sticks, twigs, etc) that need to be "put up high" and safe so his little brother can't touch them. I have them in the kitchen, upstairs, downstairs, everywhere. And I'm just too darn tired at night to do a massive sweep. :
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#10 of 12 Old 07-12-2006, 12:01 AM
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after i got rid of all the odds and ends mis-matching stuff i had the girls help me, at the time they were about 4.5 and 3...i told them there were children who didnt have many toys and some who didnt have toys at all and could they pick out some toys to give to these children?
they picked out a LOT of toys and some that I had trouble letting go of! =) then i had to remind myself that they are things that are played with BY them and if they want to release it then by all means i should let them! =)
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#11 of 12 Old 07-12-2006, 03:08 AM
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We recently decluttered for the same reasons, our 5 and 7 year olds had WAY too many toys but I had such trouble even thinking about getting rid of them. So what we did was start with one room, we emptied it out of all toys, then carefully put them back in. We had different bins for different things...for instance, in my DD's room, I had one bin for my son's stuff, one bin for pieces of things, one bin for donatable stuff and one for obvious garbage - then just unsorted bins for the rest. As we emptied the room, we were sometimes able to sort the items into appropriate bins or we just threw them into bins that we sorted later.

After the room was empty, we cleaned it entirely, including moving furniture and vacuuming. Then we started putting it all back, sorted thoroughly.

After doing the first room, we did the same with the second. We ended up with quite a bit of garbage (broken toys etc.) and a small amount of donatable toys but surprisingly, at the end, once it was all sorted, we were surprised to realize that it fit back quite nicely and spaciously and we really didn't need to get rid of as much as of it as we thought we would.

This was an entire weekend project for the two of us, we didn't get the children to help us much, we just decided to give them a couple of special movie times to help us focus.

As for the things that we did give away or throw out, we actually asked the children if they were willing to give certain items up to donate and they were perfectly willing to get rid of some things that they have outgrown or never play with. Once your children's areas are tidy and organized, they will be so happy to play in them again that they will probably be quite willing to let go of some of those extra things.

Another idea if to pack up some items that are less frequently used and see how long you can leave them hidden in a closet or the garage without having the children ask for them. If they don't miss the toys, then you can probably give them away without incident.
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#12 of 12 Old 07-12-2006, 04:27 AM
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We keep the majority of our toys in a closet and only have out what we are playing with. This helps greatly.
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