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the dreaded "how many toys" question

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mommyjessica View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote mommyjessica Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: the dreaded "how many toys" question
    Posted: 30 Apr 2012 at 11:10pm
emily's birthday is coming up soon and i need to clean out/ get rid of some toys. i am in the camp of, "if it makes noise powered by batteries, i don't like it." they have some stuff like that but i would like to keep it to a minimum. i would like them to have some waldorf type toys, music toys, building toys, pretend play, and misc (magnetic dolls, puzzles, manipulatives, etc.)


how many toys do you have?
how many toys do you want?
what do you think is ideal for stimulating imagination, but not overstimulating?
do you get rid of "sentimental" toys?
do you get rid of sentimental toys the kids don't play with?
do you have toy 'rules'?
how do you store toys?
how do you get the kids to pick up their toys?
how many toy areas do you have?

i just don't really know if i am being unreasonable with the amount of toys we have. it feels like too many, but i am in it all day.
Jessica- Wife to Jared, Mommy to Tiffany Eve- born gorgeous 12-31-07, Emily Jane- born lovely 5-10-10, Lucy Renee- born beautiful 10-3-12

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Post Options Post Options   Quote samsmum Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 May 2012 at 12:22am
I think it always feels like too much. When my older boys were little we regularly (a few times a year) went through the toys and gave stuff away but it never fails that Christmas and birthdays they ended up with a ton more stuff.
 
Right now Sammy has too many toys and doesn't play with a whole lot. He usually is into one or two things and that's what he plays with. I like the idea of rotating the toys. I do that a bit. They are mostly in the living room on our main floor. This is where he spends most of the time. They are stored in this kind of shelving http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/S89884441/ and a few integrated into the book cases on the lower levels. Upstairs in our bedroom I keep a few things in a basket. So two areas.
 
I'm struggling right now to get rid of some stuff that he has outgrown because they were his baby things or from his deceased gramma and some stuff from his dad. I have to come to terms with these things emotionally and then I'll be able to let go and give them away but I'm not quite there yet. Usually though I just give it away with the exception of a few special things.
 
I prefer waldorfy type stuff too. Books, blocks and that sort of thing as well as outdoor stuff and physical stuff but his dad's side of the family gives rediculous stuff that is either way younger than the age he is or is noisy and useless. Drives me nuts but I know they mean well. My mum usually asks what he needs or wants so I have a little input there.
 
Clean up is another story. He's not really doing that yet but I do get him to help me with stuff like blocks dumped out etc. I or the older boys do a quick tidy after he goes to bed. Every couple of months I dump all the bins out and sort through it all organizing and getting rid of junk.
 
Good luck. It's an ongoing thing until they outgrow toys but then there's all kinds of other stuff they find to fill up the house.


Edited by samsmum - 01 May 2012 at 12:25am
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Post Options Post Options   Quote northwoods Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 May 2012 at 1:12am
We have way too many toys.  There are toys in pretty much every room in the house.  Each room has a toy area - so they aren't just scattered randomly - at least not usually :)  Toy storage is a big IKEA shelf and bin system in the playroom, smaller IKEA shelf and bin systems in the bedrooms, and the lower levels of bookshelves in other rooms.

We do a  pick up every 2-3 days, and a big pick-up weekly.  The boys make pretty grand projects with their duplos, kaplas, trains etc that they play with for several days.  They play scenario gets more elaborate everyday (which I like) so I don't insist on tearing it down daily.

At this stage, we all do pick up together.  Usually I try to time it before something they really want to do, and they don't get to do it until it's all picked up.  Usually that's enough.  If they're being difficult, I set a timer.  Anything left out after the beep I get to keep, and gets put away for a while.   That's usually pretty motivating.

We have a no battery rule.  The only things they have that are powered are flashlights and a CD player.  We also have a no TV/screentime rule.  We are mean.  But I think it goes a long way toward fostering creativity.  I also insist on 1-2 hours of "nap" every afternoon  even though they don't actually sleep most days. It's more like alone time in their rooms with books and  a few toys.  I really believe that a certain amount of boredom (for lack of a better term - unstructured alone time is what I mean I guess) also fosters creativity.   Also minimal licensed character type toys - the no TV rule helps a lot with that one.  Though Thomas the Train and Winnie the Pooh have snuck in somehow .........  We are very fortunate to have extended family that totally get all this and are on board.  It makes it much easier when Bday and holiday gifts fit with the strategy!

The main toys are: Duplo, Kapla, kitchen and playfood, puppets, wooden trains, dollhouse populated by oodles of little rubber lizards and other rubber creepy crawlies, playsilks, cars and trucks, and lots of books.

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Post Options Post Options   Quote moonangel12 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 May 2012 at 9:37am
Ugh. The door to their "play" room has been shut much of the last week or so b/c I just don't want to deal with it. Where the heck does it all come from?? I don't feel like they have that many toys when I think about it, but visually it's totally overwhelming to me. I wish we could get grandparents on board with the whole battery thing... MIL and her sister mostly get them clothes which is fine, but then when they do get toys they are total junk. My mom is the same way. They are struggling financially, but she wants to be the "favorite" so she always brings them something. I'm finally getting through to her though. Still not great, but getting better (she's getting consumable stuff now - coloring books, balloons, etc.). I bought clear plastic filing containers from staples that stack for easy storage. We usually have them grouped by type with one miscellaneous tub. It's still too much IMO though, and that's even after weeding out three tubs worth downstairs!! If it were up to me we would keep: wooden blocks, train set, marble run, playsilks, vehicles and animals (lumped together), some pretend play stuff, music instruments, puzzles and board games, and books. They could open their own children's library I think! Right now we have them all sleeping in one room and the extra room (it's a 3 BR house) has their toys, books, and most of their school stuff plus a day bed with trundle for when we have guests. At least it's mostly contained I guess...

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SAHM to JJC (ODS) ~ 8/06/07, MEC (ODD) ~ 5/06/09, LGC (YDD) ~ 4/14/11, DAC (YDS) ~ 12/31/12!!
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Post Options Post Options   Quote musicmama Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 May 2012 at 10:17am
These are fairly well organized:
-cars/trucks/transportation
-duplo legos
-wedgits
-kitchen play
-dress-up (includes play silks and a parachute)
-mini-tramp
-very small tub w/ stuffed animals
-very small amt. of plastic animals

Music instruments are not really available, currently.  The larger ones are being stored, and the smaller ones I used for Church.  I rotated them out because they weren't being used.  That may change soon.

I have wooden blocks in the toy area.  They aren't being used at all, but I made them by hand w/ my Dad!  Not ready to get rid of them yet.

Miscellaneous mostly fits in one place.  That gets out of control at times, but I like most of what's there: old play phone, shape sorter, some tools, and some of S's construction toys that are oversized.  I have some toys in storage, but most of them should probably go.  I'll have to go through them and check again.

We have a small bookshelf (books are in another room), two plastic floor cabinets and a wide 4-drawer unit from Home Depot.  The kitchen is a small Plan Toys stove w/ a 2-shelf unit (bedside table?) the same height.






Edited by musicmama - 01 May 2012 at 10:18am
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Post Options Post Options   Quote ambrose Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 May 2012 at 2:06pm
umm. i don't even keep count. we should clear some baby-ish stuff out, but that would require effort. Our system is if it annoys us for whatever reason, we put it in the garage for awhile.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote minneapolismama Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 May 2012 at 2:39pm

how many toys do you have? way too many to count..
how many toys do you want? less than we have!
what do you think is ideal for stimulating imagination, but not overstimulating? i think it depends on the kid, and their interest. it should be age appropriate, something of interest to them, and ideally something that can be done without help
do you get rid of "sentimental" toys? not really..  like what are you thinking? 
do you get rid of sentimental toys the kids don't play with? we get rid of things we don't like, or things they don't play with. if it was special I would keep it because your future kids might like it and your kids might wish for it for theirs someday- my mom has nothing if mine and we went to my friend's house and she had a huge armoire of dolls and horse figures, shelves of books, her old dollhouse and doll beds and my kids went crazy for it. i wish I had some of my old stuff. 
do you have toy 'rules'? not *really*. I used to say no guns, but ds really has fun with nerf and squirt guns, so we allow them. I don't allow noisy toys to be left on endlessly, they get put away. 
how do you store toys? we have an organizer- this one http://www.target.com/p/12-Bin-Kids-Storage-Organizer/-/A-12227251#?lnk=sc_qi_detaillink upstairs to hold tools, dinos, animals, little instruments, playsilks and soft toys, trucks and cars, and a couple random things. then downstairs we have this http://www.amazon.com/ClosetMaid-899600-Stackable-Laminate-Organizer/dp/B002IT6E9C/ref=pd_sim_sbs_hg_13 in the family room- it's turned the other way with 3 on top, 3 on bottom and the bins have random toys, the other 3 have books. we keep games, puzzels and more books in ds's room in the closet. dd's kitchen and food are downstairs as well, with a doll bed, dolls and a shopping cart
how do you get the kids to pick up their toys?  ds just has to be reminded not to act like Jimmy lol, dd we have to help her and sit with her, even then she doesn't always do it. 
how many toy areas do you have? two rooms with lots of toys, but there are toys in most rooms except the bathroom, my bedroom, dining, kitchen and living room 
Katie, mama to Alexander 2-8-07 and Maggie Rose 5-3-10 giada md
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Post Options Post Options   Quote expectingnumber2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 May 2012 at 4:12pm
We're in the too many toys camp here too.  Part of the problem is we have "daycare toys" and toys that just belong to my girls (I want them to share but I don't want their things to get broken or lost).  I want less than we have and we do clean things out a couple times a year.  Part of the problem is DD2 is showing lots of interest in things DD1 never really played with so I hate to get rid of things that she will use.  I do have a hard time getting rid of more "sentimental" toys even if they aren't used much but I am getting better.  The ILs regularly buy things that aren't used, have too many pieces and no storage, are just kind of bad quality or don't really fit what we typically encourage our kids to play with but DH really feels bad getting rid of things they buy the kids even though most of it is clutter that doesn't get used.  We don't have any real set rules but we try for things that are not plastic and don't make noise.  We try to avoid commercial and "character" toys (sesame street, disney etc.) but ILs LOVE to buy these things even though our kids have no idea who any of the characters are.  We turned one of our bedrooms into a playroom and have various storage in there.  We got drawers for art supplies, shelves with the fabric drawers for legos, play food, and other things that go together.  We also use the clothes bar to hang some things.  We use the hangers with clips and use small garment bags.  This is especially great for things DD2 shouldn't be getting into (CDs, large puzzles with small pieces etc).  We have cute flower laundry hampers and a window seat with cubbies for stuffed animals and dolls.  Now that there is a better organizational system to the playroom the girls do a much better job keeping things cleaned up since it all has an obvious place.
Michelle wife to Brian mom to DD1 (5/13/06), DD2 (4/23/10) and DD3 (5/8/12)   
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Sarah2106 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 May 2012 at 4:32pm
I feel pretty in control of the toys, but we are very fortunate that we don't buy much and the grandparents also do not flood us with toys.

In the LR we have a 4 drawer piano bench (that I sort of made) 1 drawer are for random toys, 1 for soft books and board books for YDS, 1 is for cars, 1 is for trains. If ODS gets any more cars than he will have to move some out because what does not fit is moved out.

Also in the LR I have shelf with books, coloring books, and a basket of the kids puzzles.

Downstairs in the unfinished basement -
dress up clothes (about a small basket worth)
pillows - they love pillows and my BIL gave us some when he moved and they think they are the greatest thing
3 drawer storage - 1 for random toys, 1 for blocks, 1 for play silks and things like that
play kitchen and another shelf 3 shelf plastic system for those toys.

I find that the fewer the toys the more the kids play with them. They are also not big into toys, they like the more random things and generally would rather build towers with blocks than toys that do things.

We have been given some toys that after a week I put up and then the following month will donate. It is one of those toys that I know is really not going to be used, so I figure pass it on while it is in good shape and all the pieces are there than when it is either broken or missing a part of it.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote mommyjessica Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 May 2012 at 5:26pm
that's partly what i was thinking- the fewer toys, the better received. plus, our house isn't huge. we don't have room for a bunch of stuff. i think i would probably feel differently if we had a huge playroom and a great organizational system for that one room.

we have a few designated toy areas. the main area is the living room.
play kitchen, dolls/ accessories (in a target 'itso' two cube unit, stacked, with two drawers clothes and every thing else and one drawer for dolls), a basket of stuffed animals, small table with two chairs, two three drawer storage "organizers" with instruments, Lego's, Mega blocks, misc., potato head/ peg princesses/ and something else, and two barbies with two babies and four little girls and accessories.
in their bedroom, i just have dress up/ pretend play and a big mirror on the wall. plus the books.
in my bedroom i have a small bookshelf with a few random toys for when i need to be in there. they pretty much stalk me all day...
in the spare room we have shared space- my sewing area, the "homeschool" storage, and shelves on the wall with puzzles, magnetic dress up, paint, playdough, shape sorters and a few other things. our storage is a mix of my craft stuff and their stuff. we also have a dresser in there and a kids desk.

i will have to take pictures to see if anybody else thinks we have too much or if it is just me...
Jessica- Wife to Jared, Mommy to Tiffany Eve- born gorgeous 12-31-07, Emily Jane- born lovely 5-10-10, Lucy Renee- born beautiful 10-3-12

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Post Options Post Options   Quote Sarah2106 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 May 2012 at 9:55pm
Even with a great organization system, unless the kids are good about using it, it just becomes a mess

I also find that as the kids get older they really don't play with much of the toys so YDS doesn't really either. He is only 16 months but would rather be doing what they are doing than playing with "kid" toys.

The blocks, cars, trains, kitchen, music toys, and dress up are the hit. I could get rid of the rest and it would probably not be missed. Hummm I might empty out those last couple of "random" toys and do that
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