overwhelmed by toys...need help - Mothering Forums

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Old 03-31-2003, 05:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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This is a problem of plenty, but I am hoping to get some advice, either concrete or philosophical about an over abundance of toys. My two sons just turned 1 and 3, and after Christmas and these birthdays, my tiny apartment--and my tiny men--are overwhelmed by toys. I am trying to winnow them down, but it is a struggle.

Most of they toys are "good" toys--shape sorters, playdo, wood blocks and train sets. We have a mini fold up kitchen, and a simple wood dollhouse. But there is just so much of it. I find I'm spending more time cleaning and putting things away than I actually am playing with my kids.

How do I decide what to get rid of? (I’ve spent so much damn money on all this..) Just recently I visited my in-laws for a week and brought a duffle bag full of toys I intended to leave there--Lincoln logs no one had eve played it (because they were in the closet because we had duplo, wood blocks and tinker toys in circulation and how much building can a boy do), soft colored unit blocks, a tiny plastic piano, etc. When we got there, we took the toys out to play with and they loved everything, keeping themselves busy for hours. It was everything I could do not to bring them home.

I actually believe children need blocks, crayons, playdo, books, a few figures--animals and people--and our time and attention. Of course, you wouldn't know this from our house.

A part of me would love to just get rid of almost everything--have little to clean and organize and spend my time playing, baking and napping with my boys....

Has anyone else faced this? What have you done? What would you do differently if you could? I would love to hear.....

Thank you,

Suzanne
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Old 03-31-2003, 06:42 PM
 
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I don't know if my suggestion will work for you. It sounds like we have about the same stuff as far as the toys go. I also try to keep my children away from plastic junk toys, and we stick to good wooden toys that inspire imaginative play. What I did to manage all of the clutter was go to Lowes(or home depot), and I went to their closet organizing section. There I found a large cabinet that has double doors....I think it cost about $100. It has plenty of shelves, and it was easy to put together. Then I bought rubbermaid boxes to organize everything. Every type of toy has its own box. The boxes go on the shelves, and everything stays neat and tidy. My kids are 5, 3, and 1, and they are pretty good at getting things back where they need to go. We also have one of those big buckets with the rope handles for misc. toys. We have a kitchen center, and I bought a cheap rolling cart for keeping pots, pans, dishes, and food in. We also have a train table that has storage drawers underneath for storing the train pieces. And of course the wooden doll house, but all of that stuff just stays in the doll house.

The one thing I have going for us is that we have a whole room dedicated to the children's toys. That is the best thing ever. I will never live in another house that doesn't have a separate room that I can use for a play room. I don't know if you have the option of doing that, but If you do, I highly recommend it!

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Old 03-31-2003, 06:53 PM
 
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If there are things you can get rid of, take advantage of that freedom now while they are small. A little bit older, and they will freak out at each and every small loss.

I regularly whittle down various collections. For playdough -- I don't feel we need more than one container full of accessories. I throw out whatever is broken, and whatever is doubled. We don't need 4 rolling pins, etc..

There is great storage under beds. I have bins lined up under each bed with play collections in them. We have a two small set of shelves with bins in the family room. Balls and whatnot are in the shed. Each kid has a set of closet organizers where toys are stored.

I recently gave up the large kitchen center and several plastic riding toys. They did play with them, but I was overwhelmed by their size. I kept the dishes and play food, and they enjoy them in "pretend" appliances made of the familyroom shelving. They have chances to play with other kitchen sets at friend's houses, and other places we frequent. Dress-ups are kept in a trunk in the family room.

When you come into my house, you might see a few toys scattered here and there, but for the most part things are put away and brought out one by one. My kids know to put something away before they take out something new.
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Old 03-31-2003, 07:19 PM
 
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I don't know if this is feasible for you but do you have family or close friends near by that you see a lot? We have spread some of the wealth around. It saves us lugging things around when we gp to visit and it keeps things fresh for our son.

The other things that works for us (if you have the room) is to rotate the the toys within the house. We weed through the junky stuff and get rid it and then sort the rest and put about 1/2 in a plastic bags in the attic. We do this about every 4 months or so. Since we got rid of the junk only the "good" stuff is put away. When we bring it back out it like new to our son. Of course key favorites are never rotated out!

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Old 04-01-2003, 12:09 AM
 
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I widdle the collection down every christmas after new toys present themselves. I will begin to involve my dds in this process in the coming years.

So, what can we give away to someone who doesn't have toys?

Then I call Purple Heart and they come to my door and pick it up.

WOHM married to SAHD, living the dream w/our: 3 girls (14,12,10) and 3 boys (7,5,3) and tie-breaker due Jan 2014

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Old 04-01-2003, 05:54 AM
 
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I haven't read all posts so maybe this has been said already: what about rotating toys? Put some away and keep others out, then change them around. Less clutter, more novelty.
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Old 04-02-2003, 05:44 PM
 
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Another vote for rotating toys! We do this every 6-8 weeks and have been amazed at how much easier it makes everything. We set out 8 pieces of contruction paper and bring all of the toys downstairs. We let Lydia (3) choose toys that wants to put on the paper (this helps her have a concrete idea of how many 8 is). After she has chosen, we put everything else in big rubbermaid containers and store them.
The best part is that we can go in and throw out any trashy, broken, inappropriate toys while they're stored and she completely forgets about them. Also, she really plays with the 8 she keeps out. There are not so many that she gets overwhelmed.
We always keeps out books, art supplies, balls, wooden dollhouse and playdough. Though art supplies and playdough are kept up on a shelf and are only used when supervised closely!

Good Luck!

Paige, mama to three girls, (10), (8) and (3)
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Old 04-03-2003, 02:57 AM
 
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I have the same problem Suzanne, and my boys are 3yrs and 1yr also... Its never ending, I have to admit I dont have *all* wooden toys some fisher price they love the little people. but it is tiring and timeconsuming, my children want to get everything out trash the place then want me to clean up.
and I wish we could downsize, but I feel like its their stuff and I dont want to take away things they enjoy~
I also live in a apt, and have no storage to rotate so that isn't an option................. hmmmmm what to do ~

Valerie

"If you truly love nature, you will find beauty everywhere." -Vincent Van Gogh
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Old 04-03-2003, 02:36 PM
 
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Before we moved we lived ina tiny apt. How I got around the "no storage" situation was to get assorted containers that would fit easily under the beds and sofa. This has also been great in our new house. While we do rotate our sons toys via the attic I still use under the sofa to store winter/summer clothes, old magazines I want to keep etc, anything that I don't need to get at too often. Thought this might work for you in you have no room to rotate toys.

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Old 04-05-2003, 01:49 AM
 
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I can say that organizing the toys makes a huge difference. Our toys are currently completely jumbled and now there seems to be an awful lot of them. When they are organized and I know where they are and I rotate them, it makes a huge difference to how I feel about the clutter and mess. That means that the toys need to be put away by the children (with your help) at the end of the play session, but it is much less wast of energy than fretting about why the toys are driving me crazy.
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Old 04-05-2003, 02:27 PM
 
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yet another vote for rotating toys. We also rotate toys around to different rooms of the house--it's amazing, but then it seems like a brand new toy.

Also, what about doing a toy exchange with friends?

Or, we have a local toy library, which I LOVE. If you have something like that, you could donate some of yours, and then always be able to go check them out again.

We, too, have lots of plastic bins, and use shelves and under couches/coffee tables to store stuff. The kids (2 1/2 yo twins) are both expected to (and think it's natural!) pick up before we pull out new things. This means that I have to be part of their play, but hey, I want that, anyway (most of the time). It also means that they focus a lot better if only a few toys are out at a time.
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Old 04-05-2003, 02:33 PM
 
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I vote for throw all of the unplayed with ones all in boxes and take them to the goodwill and don't look back. I think too many toys is overstimulating for kids and I just finished getting rid of alot of toys and my daughter is playing with what she has again. LOL
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Old 04-05-2003, 04:20 PM
 
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I have found when they are younger it is easier to make some of the toys vanish when they are asleep. I take some to my inlaws and also rotate them, we do have a playroom for the toys and that helps. Also we have a rule with my 6 yr.old anytime she wants a new toy or is going to be getting presents for what ever reason, she has to give away a toy or two she is not playing with anymore, I mean a toy in good condition if it missing pieces I just toss it. We take the good toys she has agreed to get rid off and bring them to a community school in our neighborhood, it is a preschool and headstart program but they also offer free babysitiing to moms who are taking high school classes or learning english as a second language we donate our good clean toys to them or we save them up and a friend of ours has a yard sale every year and the money is donated to a animal rescue center and dd feels great about doing that. But like I said when she was younger we just went thru them when she was not looking and as she got older she new what we were doing so we had to come up with this.
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