Confession: I Hate Toys

Confession I Hate Toys - cropped picture of woman putting toys in box

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Good morning, peeps.  I apologize for my brief hiatus from the blogosphere.  I don’t have daycare this week due to the holiday and I get very little done when my kids are running around.  They’re so cute and fun….but incredibly distracting.  And, ask any parent, it’s hard to write when someone is asking you for something every five minutes!

Anyhoo, I woke up the day after Christmas to a mess of monumental proportions.  Boxes everywhereStickers out the wazoo.  New toys in various stages of play.  Wrapping paper was littered here and there.  Basically, it looked like some sort of toy explosion had taken place.  Needless to say, it stressed me out.  And I have a confession to make: I hate toys!  Some of them are okay, but it seems that most toys my kids get are poorly made and falling apart.  My kids think they’re awesome, of course, but it drives me crazy when we get a giant new batch of junk all in one day.  Sigh.

Fortunately, we had a plan for all of the new arrivals at our home.  Unfortunately, I was the only one to see the plan through since Greg had to work.  Bummer.  So, how are we recovering from Christmas?  One step at a time.

Clean Up

We started by cleaning up all of the trash.  Then we sorted the gifts and made two stacks:

  • What to play with now
  • What to play with later
We will unpack these toys after we move....
We will unpack these toys after we move….

Since we’re getting ready to move, we decided that it would be prudent to hold back all of the gifts with small parts.  That way we don’t lose them.  I also think that too many gifts at once can be overkill, so it made sense for us to let the kids open a new toy or two every few weeks.  They’re used to doing it this way so they were very compliant.  Once we chose which toys to store temporarily, I let them go ahead and start playing with the toys they chose to keep out.

Packing some of the toys away made a huge difference.  Since we’re living in a smaller, temporary home, we just don’t have room for a lot of stuff.

Something’s Got to Give

I also needed to do something about the fact that the number of toys we own just doubled.  I mean, we can’t very well accept 30 new toys into our home without moving some of the older stuff out.  And even though I mostly bought my kids practical stuff like clothes, bedding, and art supplies, they got all kinds of toys and things from our very large extended family.  So, we chose to do what we always do.  For everything that came in, something had to leave.

We spent about an hour going through their old toys and my kids were surprisingly willing to part with about 25.  And fortunately, the volume of toys leaving the house is larger than the volume of new toys (two boxes old vs. one box new) so I feel productive.  At this point, I’m either going to bring the toys to Goodwill or donate them to someone.  Regardless, they aren’t coming to my new house, capiche?

Anyway, check out my new Christmas present.  It’s a food dehydrator and it’s currently making apple, sweet potato, and banana chips.  Yum!
What do you do to keep your kid’s toys under control? Do you let them have them all at once?

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  1. My Wealth Desire says:

    We received gift toys specially during my kids birthday and we open one gift at a time. Then we let them play one at a time. We have a storage box we bought from IKEA and we let then return all toys to the box after playing.

  2. We were lucky to get ANY gifts growing up! One in one out sounds like a sensible way to keep things under control.

  3. Your food dehydrator sounds pretty awesome! Even though we don’t have kids yet, we try to do the same thing with clothes that we get for gifts: one in, one out. Otherwise I fear we’d wake up one day and be overtaken by crap!

  4. Love the dehydrator!

    I totally agree on the toy thing, although we actually pare down before the holidays in anticipation of what’s to come. Also makes good tax deductions to donate excess “junk” before the end of the year.

  5. Ben @ The Wealth Gospel says:

    I stopped buying toys for my nieces and nephews a long time ago because they already had so much crap that they never played with, that it really wasn’t worth it to me to give them something else to add to that pile. Opening one or two every few weeks sounds like a great idea!

  6. Sounds like a great plan you’ve got, Holly. When we moved a little over a year ago, we got rid of LOTS of stuff, but there’s still lots more that needs to go. Rick’s got most of that stuff up into the barn loft, waiting for me to go through it and give it away, but that will have to wait until it’s not freeze-your-tail-off cold outside. 🙂

  7. I’m not a big toy guy, either. My wife and I battle what seems to be an endless barrage of “prizes” from what seems to be an endless number of family members, often begging them not to buy any more toys. We actually JUST has what almost amounted to an intervention with one family member… We have been rotating them out for a bit, but may have to get a little more aggressive… like for every toy someone buys, give them two toys for their house. Then when they say “we have too many toys” we can respond with “now you know how we feel.”

  8. Your house sounds like my house but instead of kid toys we have a million shreds of dog toys! Hopefully they fit in the new house well!

  9. When my son was little each year before Christmas we made him choose several of his old toys to give away before he received Santa’s gifts. We took them to the local shelter where children were place after being removed by the state from abusive homes. We were told that often they had to just grab the kid and go without extra clothes, pajamas and toys. So when our son delivered the toys he chose to give, he could see that someone worse off than him was receiving something they otherwise wouldn’t ever have. Just a small way for us to teach him about giving back.

  10. Jennifer @ Budgeting in Baby says:

    Emmett got mostly toys for Christmas as well. I’m just now opening toys that we got for him at the baby shower (8 months ago). Luckily he’s still little enough that I can control some of the toy chaos, unless his cousins are over then they think that Emmett should have every toy out of the toy box

  11. I don’t have kids so it’s pretty easy to keep their toys under control 🙂 But seriously, good to hear that they were willing to put 25 of them away. I know that when my cousins (age 5 and 7) come over for Christmas they get very spoiled since my siblings and I are adults, plus my parents (their aunt and uncle), their grandparents…and that’s just my uncle’s side of the family! Toys everywhere!

  12. Love the 1 in 1 out rule and I am so impressed that the kids know that as the norm in your house. I should probably start instituting that rule with the cat since his toys may have reached maximum capacity for his toy basket.

  13. My old lady lovers her food dehydrator. She makes some pretty tasty jerkies on it.

    As far as toys, our little guy has his toy box and we pretty much do our best to get most of his toys back into it each night. I think his favorite thing to do is to just take everything out. As far as toys he plays with, it is mostly a train, a ball (or 5) and a hammer.

  14. I don’t have to deal with toys, but I hate extra stuff. I going to declutter one room a month this year.

  15. I’m feelin’ ya girl on this one! We did a big clean-out a couple weeks ago to make room for the cheap Chinese crap that was coming in Santa’s toy bag this year. Happy to report that the stuff Santa brought this year was fairly small in size, except the Barbie dream house which is obnoxious, but without a doubt the biggest hit for my 2 girls.

  16. I love the one thing in, one thing out system you have with your toys. We do something similar with clothing (set number of hangers…to hang a new item up, somthing’s got to go). Great idea with doling out new toys over a period of weeks. I’ll be stealing that tip!

  17. I can relate to this one, I HATE toys! We don’t usually buy the kid any toys, just the practical items, like clothing. This year we did buy him a guitar and computer (both pre-owned), but extended family did spoil him with toys. We tend to keep new toys put away and bring them out bit by bit. His birthday was in July, and we still have some unopened toys from then. When he shows an interest in them, we’ll open it, but not before making a Goodwill run with older toys. It works out alright for us, and thankfully we just have one kids stuff to deal with.

  18. I remember being obsessed with getting as many toys as possible as a kid. Nowdays I see it all as so unnecessary. Maybe that will all change as I have kids of my own or nieces and nephews to buy for, but it’s crazy how kids just accumulate so much “stuff”.

  19. Your plan for gifts is great, along with your girls being perfectly fine with it. If I ever have kids I’ll have to remember this! Everyone in my family is currently spoiling my cousin’s baby, and I can’t bring myself to get more toys and “stuff” for her. They only have a townhouse and I imagine it is annoying to have toys scattered everywhere.

  20. As minimalists, I wonder how this is going to work when we have kids. I like the 1-in-1-out rule! I also like Kathy’s suggestion of donating old toys before the holidays.

    Hmm, who knows? We both grew up with an excessive amount of toys, so I hope we can keep it under control!

  21. I think your plan is awesome, especially since you’ve got your kids trained to know that’s just the way it is. Our house was always so cluttered with toys when I was growing up. My mom would go through my room and my brother’s and just box up stuff and take it to Goodwill and we’d never even know it was gone…. we were definitely a little spoiled.

  22. Baby Romanian is still very young – just 6 months old and we’re not planning to flood him with toys, but there are still quite a few of them and we just wonder what will happen when he’ll actually start walking and messing things around… Probably it’s something we just have to deal with and we’ll all end up hating toys :))

  23. I feel your pain. I’m very glad my 3 kids didn’t get many toys. They usually don’t play with them for very long, and they end up cluttering the house up.

  24. Love the idea of having the kids pick toys to play with now and toys to play with later! Very smart (especially since you’ll be moving soon). Even better that they willingly parted with some of their older stuff – less clutter and other people can enjoy those toys if you’re donating them. Win-win! And that dehydrator is really cool – you’ll have to let us know how your chips turn out 🙂

  25. Looks like a cool gadget, the dehydrator. I could use that for my dorm. Healthy snacks! Toys are everywhere at my cousin’s place, as she has two kids. She’s constantly battling the toy battle!

  26. I don’t have kids but just watching the amount of toys all the kids in my family got was crazy. I would go insane with that much STUFF around.

    The food dehydrator looks awesome! I’ve always wanted one.

  27. It’s nuts how many toys are out there, these days. I guess there were a lot of toys when I was growing up too but I don’t remember having as many! I probably did though. Family members love to give toys to kids on holidays.

  28. I know exactly how you feel about this. My son’s room is totally out of control! It’s just Lego’s everywhere you look. There have been so many times we have to threaten his life just get him to clean up.

  29. My kids are a little older now…but we used to do two things to keep the # of toys at a manageable level (ie, that would actually fit within the toy room):

    1.) Have a garage sale in the fall
    2.) have a pre-Christmas Craig’s List sale where we’d have the kids go through their toys and point out the ones they had outgrown and don’t want any more. We’d sell them on Craig’s list – decluttering the house AND generating money to help buy Christmas presents.

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