Thursday, June 17, 2010

A Toy Story

Do you ever just "give up?" When it comes Toy Management I mean. With the princesses home full time right now, I just don't see myself ever catching up. There are toys EVERYWHERE. I think they are plotting a coup d'etat actually. Toy Story might not be too far off the mark. Maybe they really DO come alive when we're not looking. Only instead of being benevolent, they are power hungry, and procreate in an attempt to amass numbers sufficient to take over.

We've tried all sorts of things to keep control over the madness. We have bins, intended to separate and contain Littlest Pet Shops, My Little Pony, dress up clothes, toy cars, blocks, Barbies, and on and on. Of course, these bins only work if you actually put the toy in the correct bin. And only if you put the correct toy in the correct bin when you're done playing with it and before you get the next toy out. And can you guess how often that happens?

It was easy when we only had one princess, or even just two. But now with 4, it's a lost cause I fear. We've threatened to throw all the toys away. We've gathered the stray toys up in garbage bags and moved them to the attic. We talk about giving toys away to kids who don't have toys. We've sold toys at garage sales. We've donated toys. And yet, the madness remains.

3 years ago we implemented the "One Family Gift" Christmas rule. Instead of us and the grandparents inundating the princesses with tons of crap they don't need, we pool all our budgeted money together and buy one large gift they all can enjoy. The first year it was a dollhouse. Two years ago it was an outdoor playground. Last year they got Nintendo DS' (ok, that wasn't just one gift, but one each.). This has worked out so well. We've been able to bring the princesses joy without turning them into spoiled brats buying them everything in sight that they think they need. And yet, we still have too much.

We are so blessed. So, so blessed we don't even realize. I guess that's why the mess with the toys bugs me so much. The princesses can't even play with it all. They just scatter it around. They don't even realize how abundant our life is in comparison with so many. I suppose most children their age don't. So, what to do? Where is the balance? And most importantly, how do I keep the dang toys from taking over?


  1. Your house sounds exactly like mine, only there are four boys instead of girls. I can't tell you the answer to this question as we have the same problem. I get so tired of cleaning up the same exact mess day in and day out. I clean one corner and turn around to find another with the same mess it had before. Good luck!


  2. when we moved we donated all the toys to Goodwill with the exception of a few "special friends" and started over from scratch. We also got rid of all the toy boxes, bins, and shelves and they each have an underbed storage box...what fits is all they get! Some may call it mean but less toys means less to clean :)

  3. I totally feel your pain...and I only have 2 girls so far! I can't imagine the amount of toys we will have around here after a couple more kids!

  4. I totally know what you mean. It doesn't matter how much I pick up after the kids either. One day I vaccumed 7 times , would turn around and there'd be crumbs. At one point, thought I was made of crumbs or even they were! Their toys are something else though. Sometmes I think they triple when I blink, but with four kids it's going to happen.
    The one way I keep them (ha ha ha, ok TRY) to keep them down is keep a box on our porch that I toss lost toys into. After a week of no one asking for it, I send it off to donation. No one is looking for it, they barely knew it was there to begin with. =) Good luck!

  5. You're not son loves to take out everything he can get to and scatter them across the floor. I try to make it a point (if I'm not too tired to implement this) to get my kids to clean up certain toys before they can play with more toys, or before they can have their snack, or watch a DVD. It works pretty well.

  6. what a great post! i love your idea for christmas!! though we've only got one little guy so far, and not all that many toys, i really don't want the place to get taken over by "stuff" that he won't use. i can just imagine (in a year or two) his toy box sitting full in his room with him running around outside with a stick anyway! ;) but yeah, great idea about christmas. we'll definitely have to keep that in mind. love it! thanks!

  7. This sounds like a glimpse into my house. I like the idea of pooling in order to get one big gift that would be alot more beneficial and used than many things scattered around. Until the last year, my children never even really played with their toys. They would pile them all in large gift bags and carry them around the house. I have no idea what the fun was (except maybe they were leaving a Hansel and Gretel "bread" trail leaving their toys to mark where they had been).


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