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December 26, 2009

Out With The Old-In With The New

I enjoy Christmas at my relatives because I don't have the stress of making room in my small but modest house. Although the toys are enough to drive me bonkers. I would be so much happier if my relatives would each just do one nice gift vs. many gifts. Mainly because we have a small house and the kids are left with twice a year deciding what MUST go and what CAN stay!

You see each child has a toy (bin) shelf in their room. The only toys they are allowed to have are the ones that can "fit" in their bins.

I insist that the toys be grouped by like things. So they just can't have a mess of stuff. Now there might be a few things that are naturally too big for these bins and that is okay. I do make allowances for some things like that, but even then there is a limit.

This is the reason we don't allow them to open things while at our relatives' houses. You see in order to get the item the kids have to make room for it in their room's by getting rid of OTHER stuff. If they don't want to get rid of anything then they can't get anything "new". 

My son as gotten rid of one 13 gallon garbage bag of stuff and has only "earn" 1 new toy.  My daughter has gotten rid of half of 13 gallon garbage bag of stuff and has only "earn" 1 toy. They have a TONS more toys and will have to get rid of a lot more things to make room.  I have a feeling that when they are done they both would have gotten rid of 3-4 garbage bag EACH!!

We do a similar thing in the summer. In the summer they will get rid 1-2 garbage bags EACH. The main difference between Christmas and summer in the summer time there is less stuff and it's POST birthdays. So kid's do have a bit of an overflow of toys for a few months.

What's sad about the whole process is the only time my kids get new toys is on their birthdays and at Christmas.  So often the stuff they got at their birthdays are gone by Christmas and the stuff they got at Christmas are gone by the summer.

In other words the toys here will only stay for 6 months!! This is because often the kids rather keep the newer stuff then the older stuff. This is really the reason we only get them 1 toy each (and often wish other would do the same), because in 6 months we know it's going o be gone because it broke or because the kids got rid of it to make room for their new stuff.

So what do you do? Do you make your kids get rid of their old stuff regularly?


  1. I have to say that I am just a little envious of your toy policy. I thin out toys every few months but they just keep coming into the house. Two and a half years ago we moved and doubled our living space so I have a hard time telling the kids we don't have room for the copious amounts of toys they have. To avoid tears, I systematically throw away broken toys while they're sleeping or out of the house. Toys that are too young for them get rounded up and sent to goodwill. I'm with you on wishing family members would stop at one gift. My kids are the only grandchildren on both sides of the family so everyone likes to shower them with gifts. We're moving in the direction of having people give them gifts for experiences instead of toys (annual museum memberships, movie gift cards and things of that nature).

  2. Sometimes we do better then others! When they were younger I would just go through it on my own. I would about twice a year or more would gather their toys and go through them. Now that they are 7/8 they make the decision on their own. Although we do "help" them to ensure the stuff is going. They aren't crying and we are making them upset in that sense, but sometimes it's hard for them, because they don't know if it should go or stay. LOL

    There ARE some things that my kids will NOT part with and because of that sometimes there are NEW things they do NOT get. Toys that are in usable condition will get sent to goodwill, especially new toys that are NOT opened. For example the one thing Superstar will not part with are his Take Along Thomas toys. His collection has gotten smaller over the years, somethings he gave away with his train table. However seeing he does have collection of Thomas Toys he often has to give up something new. Many of the Thomas items he's had since he was 3 (that's 5 years now).

    Sometimes I'm amazed that he will often get rid of newer stuff just to keep on having room his Thomas Toys.

  3. OOPS! Sometimes I wish I can edit comments. I forgot a NOT in a sentence.

    They aren't crying and we are NOT making them upset in that sense, but sometimes it's hard for them, because they don't know if it should go or stay. LOL

  4. I have the not knowing when to throw things out problem myself. I am working on that. My kids have to clean out toys before Christmas.

    About the small house, My in-laws have a house about the size of yours and they raised 10 kids in it, with 1 bathroom. And this Christmas we had 70 people in that same house. I think it makes you a closer family. It isn't the size of house, it is the LOVE inside it.

  5. I usually go through a purge before Christmas and in the summer. Both sides of the family tend to give alot and it get overwhelming and we have alot of room!

    Sometimes, I literally feel suffocated after Christmas with so much new stuff that needs a home.

  6. To combat this, we have gone to more classic toys. For example, instead of lots and lots of dolls our daughter has a Bitty Baby and an American Girl Doll. She collects outfits for her babies, but they have to all fit in one drawer. They are more expensive, but our families go in together on the gifts. It is the same with our son and Legos. Now if only I could find a better solution for organizing those darn Legos so they weren't all over his bedroom floor! :)

  7. My son has legos as well. For us he has a large storage container that he stores those in. The large container is stored under his bed. So he just pulls it out as needed. I mention the bins earlier I'm also a very "mean" mommy. I only allow them to play with 1 bin at a time. If I find they are more then one bin out they get banded from their toys. I have been known to take them all away. (That's another reason I only allowed liked toys to be grouped together).

    Now I will admit that there have been times where I wasn't the strong enforcer like I should be and things do become a disaster, but over all I do try to enforce the rule. When I enforce the rule things are beautiful here and rooms a kept nicely, and I find they actually PLAY more with their toys!!!

  8. I suppose we are blessed in that we don't have much "toy clutter" around the house.
    The main reason for that is that we don't usually buy toys.
    What the kids receive on birthdays or Christmas is ALL the buy for the majority of the year...other than an occasional special treat here or there.
    The kids have only ever known things to be this way and so therefore do not feel that they are missing out on anything. And I think that it also helps them TRULY appreciate a new toy or gift for it is not a common everyday occurrence for them. When they visit a home where the kids have an OVERFLOWING of gadgets and toys, my kids tend to feel a bit overwhelmed.
    Usually during the Advent season, we take up a collection of things for donation which also helps to keep any clutter to a minimum.
    We have one big closet which is our "toy storage room"...the only things in the bedrooms are baby dolls for the girls...and some cars, dinosaurs, etc...for the boys...the majority of our toys and games are in the "toy storage" closet...this helps us to feel more spacious...which is needed with 10 people in the house! No one wants to trip on toys when we are already tripping over EACH OTHER, ha ha!


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