Monday, November 7, 2011

Monday Minimalist: Toys

We've gone through Sasha's toys a few times and gotten rid of (donated) some, stored some for rotation and stored some for Spencer. I really didn't think we had that many toys left... until we moved. We had boxes and garbage bags of toys! Holy cow they really were all over the apartment!

Tyler, Sasha and TOYS!Tyler, Sasha and TOYS!

Moving into a 10 x 10 room as our main living space served as some severe inspiration! Something had to be done about this mountain of toys we still had! In the photo above (taken in our old apartment), you can see the ottoman in the back corner - it had become a play center where we kept all of Sasha's toys (or tried anyway). You can see it was overflowing. Then there were the random toys scattered about the place.

So what sort of criteria do you use in deciding which toys belonging to a toddler to keep and which to donate? For starters, Sasha got some toys for her 2nd birthday that we thought were great at the time, but quickly lost their wonder. There was the two-car train set that was little wooden posts with blocks that sat on top...

Garanimals My First TrainGaranimals My First Train

There were a couple of problems with this train. First, a 2yo does not keep like items together. At least my 2yo doesn't. Second, once you remove all the blocks, you have these little wooden posts sticking straight up. My husband hated this toy because our daughter kept trying to sit on the train! He was certain she was going to impale her nether regions! So this train... was donated. I actually managed to find all the parts and put them together.

Then look at those plastic blocks on the floor in the top photo. Those are from a Garanimals Gripper Blocks Playset. They don't grip strongly or easily enough for a 2yo to use. Even when an adult put the things together they fell apart with much handling at all. The best part were the 3 animal characters. Sasha carried them around with her for days! Still, not a good toy for the long haul.

My older daughter had passed along several baby dolls. I feel 1 baby doll is plenty. I chose a smallish one that closed its eyes when put on its back. Sasha also got a couple of barbie-style dolls for her birthday. I don't feel they were terribly age appropriate and I don't support the body image, either. Those were easy to pass along. There were a couple of old rubber(?) wrestler dolls... I wonder if they were worth any money. I don't know, but they got donated, too!

I think in the end I had 2 garbage bags stuffed full of toys. We didn't get rid of every annoying toy because some of them are favorites. I tried to choose SMALL toys to keep. I decided that everything I kept had to fit into her single toy basket, which is small.

toy basketSasha's Toy Basket

There are a couple of items missing from the basket in this photo. We did also make a few exceptions...

Sasha's Larger ToysSasha's Larger Toys

First is the Musical Taggies Bear that my mother picked out for Sasha. My mother has gotten a musical plush for each of my children... until Spencer. She passed away in June. Next is a very soft bear Sasha got from my brother last Giftmas. His name is Burkley. He makes for a very nice companion, though out of the three is the least sentimental (and therefore the least likely to survive the next cut). Then finally is the large Elmo. It belonged to my husband's step mother and does hold sentimental value as she is also no longer with us.

You can also see the two smaller Elmo and Cookie Monster dolls. They talk and are favorites. They also have OFF switches, which makes them popular with us, too! There is also a tricycle outside and a ride-on car that converts to a walking toy (for cruisers to push). It fits under the coffee table and may prove useful for Spencer as well. Plus Sasha loves it!

She also has a ladybug Pillow Pet, which I actually use as a pillow when nursing her in her own bed. She also has a Leap Frog Alphabet Caterpillar. It lives in the play room right now. It isn't very small, but she plays with it enough that I'm not ready to pass it along. It is actually pretty versatile for an electronic toy.

What criteria do you use for minimizing your child's toy collection?
How many toys does your child have? or How much space is dedicated to toys?

Momma Jorje: Monday Minimalist
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  1. We TOTALLY have to do this!! I just "organized" our 4 year olds stuff and it was over 12 66 gallon bins, not counting the 2 garbage bags full of stuffed toys and all the stuff I didn't pick up yet! It's insane. Oh, if only I'd stuck to our first year plan of only allowing her wooden or organic toys. (and telling all the gift givers that). That first plastic thing started a landslide.
    My problem is that she will still use everything (if she sees it.) She makes the most incredible, creative things with odd combinations of odds and ends.
    Nevertheless it must be minimized.
    I love reading through your post. It gives me strength and a bit of a roadmap.
    we're thinking of starting a "buyback" program where we let her sell her old stuff for quarters so that she can get new stuff she wants. We also have to stem the flow of new stuff to her. I'm much worse than my husband.
    And then get her to thnk about children who don't have as much.
    It's a big thing.
    I love your Minimalist Mondays and hope to join soon.

  2. Wow! I wouldn't have room for all those... without the use of an attic or something. That *is* a lot of toys!

    If you'd like to involve your daughter, there is a Berenstain Bears book about passing things along to those in need. I can't remember the name of it and Google search on Blogger sucks. Anyway, the entire family gets rid of their extra stuff. It is a great book for getting kids on board with thinning down their junk.

    Otherwise, perhaps plan to thin down by 1 entire bin per week or per day, depending on how anxious you are to get it done. Giftmas is right around the corner, so it is good to get it clear before you have more stuff!

    Good luck!

  3. Ah, we do purges so often but then forget to get rid of them. We're always thinking of bringing them to the consignment shop, so they sit around … and then Mikko finds them and wants to play with them all over again! :P

    One little tip I have learned that's proved very valuable is, no matter how many toys you keep, divide them into at least two piles. Then stash one away for awhile (maybe a week, maybe up to a few months, depends how many toys you have) and then switch. The old, hidden toys will see new again! (Of course, any absolute favorites like Elmo might have to stay out all the time.)

    We are going to do another purge soon. The problem we have is that now Mikko gets a say in what stays and goes, or wants to if he sees us trying to sort. So we have to do when he's not around (which is almost never) — I think we're going to have to figure out ways to convince him to let go of his own volition, but it's harder than I'd anticipated.

  4. Last spring, I went through Little Guy's toys and got rid a a giant boxful. Labeled "Purple Heart", they headed down to the basement for the next pick-up. I assumed they were gone (along with baby clothes, old pots and pans, books, etc.) Guess what I woke up to yesterday morning? My husband has "found" all of these great toys in the basement! He brought them up for Little Guy to play with and it's looking like I might be stuck with them - again!> I cannot tell you the stealth I has to use to get them out of here in the first place. I was so livid I couldn't even talk!

    Now, an entire corner of our living room has been taken over by toys that people have given. I want so badly to get rid of the stuff, but my husband (a HUGE pack rat) flips out whenever I start packing things up. "You're getting rid of THAT really cool toy?!" He'll say it louly san Little Guy will come to see the toy and then have a fit.

    I think I need all of the boys in the house to go for a very long walk one day so I can clear out the toys (and maybe even the rest of the house) the way I should. I just have to make sure that a charity is willing to come the SAME DAY to pick the stuff up so it doesn't wind up back up here!

  5. I'd suggest the same book for Mikko and for all of Alicia's guys! Alicia, you can actually schedule a pick up in advance!

    I definitely recommend getting stuff out of the house the SAME DAY if at all possible. I try to just stop by our local donation center ASAP, which means lots of stops there. They aren't terribly out of the way, though, so that helps.

    The book, btw, is in another post here: Monday Minimalist: Kids' Rooms.

  6. We have been trying to purge lately, too, especially with Christmas coming up. It's hard to part with some toys, especially the ones I love but Baby T never plays with. I just put them in a bag and never look inside it again. We do have 2 large tubs in the garage of toys that get rotated out, and it's funny: Baby T often just goes to the garage and pulls out a tub to play with and ignores the toys that are inside.

    The train with the posts and blocks made me laugh. We have one too, except it has like SEVEN cars and MILLIONS of blocks! It seemed like a cool toy--the blocks do different things, there is a clock and numbers, so it's a learning tool too--but Baby T never plays with it. Another one that I love and he doesn't. It's so hard to figure these kids out!


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