We have been inundated with requests to go to the toy store in the last three weeks. My now four year-old just had a birthday and along with a few gifts he got a serious case of the “I want a”s. I want a green train (after seeing it advertised on the box of another train he was given). I want the farm (after seeing it advertised on the back of a book he was given). Those toy manufacturers really know how to market to the preschool set.
It’s not even December and I already feel burnt out from talk of presents and requests for stuff. We also now have a cruising and getting into everything nine month old so there has been a lot of “sharing” of toys, tears and requests that the younger brother be sent to bed instead of playing with the older brother’s stuff. It’s fun and we’re learning a lot but man, it’s tiring.
This has all made me extra motivated to trim our toys down before the holidays. I’m writing this and documenting our progress so anyone else in a similar situation will make the time to do the same. Now. Before December hits and you’re at school concerts and up late baking for cookie exchanges.
Here are the steps we took to reduce our toys:
1. Make note of what is played with. We rotate our train table and train set out every few weeks. It’s a bit of work because we have to move the table to another room but well worth it. If we didn’t it would be all our older son played with. We recently had no train week and it was a good chance to see what he is still interested in; we’re done with Mr. Potato head but very interested in our new magnetic puzzle set that Grandma sent us.
2. Choose your method. Some people prefer including their children. There are a few different strategies listed here. You know yourself and your kids best. For many families the method changes over time. I expect Henry and his brother will have more involvement as they get older.
3. Decide what is stored, donated or sold. This year I am going to take a stab at selling some of our trains on eBay. That’s where Santa purchased some of them last year and I love how quickly it gets your stuff into the hands of people that want it and will use it. If I don’t get around to listing them before the end of the month I will donate them. I am storing very little for our younger one as he barely plays with the few baby toys we have.
There is always a lot of discussion on these posts about how many toys kids need and how much people have.
Above is what we culled and below is a snap shot of what we kept. I will stress, this is just what works for our family right now. I know some of you probably have more or less. Fantastic. Go with what works for you, your kids and your home. All of our toys that are in rotation live in our living room, we have limited storage and I have limited energy to pick up toys or harangue my oldest to tidy up constantly. You may have better storage and kids that are excellent at putting things away.
Anyone else planning a toy purge before the holiday season? What is your method?