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Thread: Kids Stuff - Toys/books/etc -how to handle?

  1. #21
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    I realized after posting that I hadn't updated since December. Well, I had managed to reduce some toys before Christmas. But not as much as I'd have liked. So this project continues.

    One thing I did find is that my cleaning lady (who is from El Salvador) regularly sends toys and clothes and books back to her family to distribute to people. So she is willing to take a lot of the toys and books. She gets first choice and the rest goes to Goodwill.

  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by TVRodriguez View Post
    One thing I did find is that my cleaning lady (who is from El Salvador) regularly sends toys and clothes and books back to her family to distribute to people. So she is willing to take a lot of the toys and books. She gets first choice and the rest goes to Goodwill.
    I love that!
    Float On: My "Happy Place" is on my little kayak in the coves of Table Rock Lake.

  3. #23
    Senior Member beckyliz's Avatar
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    There's lots of good ideas out there for gifts other than toys. Here's one: http://www.raisingmemories.com/2013/...ift-ideas.html
    "Do not accumulate for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and thieves break in and steal. But accumulate for yourselves treasure in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, your heart is also." Jesus

  4. #24
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    Haven't been able to get folks to get on board with the "gifts other than toys" except for shifting people to books--and we have a ton of books. I went through my kids books this weekend with their help, and we managed to fill two large reusable grocery bags with books we do not need to keep. I still have about 500 books left on their bookshelf, but at least they are organized and we even put labels on the shelves (Non-fiction, Readers, Fairy-tales and Myths, Bible Stories, Harry Potter, Spanish, etc). Overall, still a win in my book.

  5. #25
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    I noticed that my DIL was RUTHLESS when they moved from one home to another. She gave away everything to charity thrift shops. She has no attachment to things.

    With regard to my GS, she gets things from second hand stores, so she has no problem "recycling" them whenever he starts to lose interest. It's not like she has money invested in the toys. I think his one constant is his "baby iPad" but other than that, she is completely emotionally detached to stuff. In fact, she's going to have GS#2 in April, and I wonder if she regrets giving away everything she did--which included all kinds of baby equipment, but probably not. I think she prefers a clutter-free house.
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
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  6. #26
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    If you buy second hand and donate as soon as you are done with it - then buy second hand again when second baby is born --- its as if you rented the equipment cause it's so cheap. I love living that way. Clutter free is awesome.

  7. #27
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    Reviving this old thread because I have made some new progress! Awhile ago (last year maybe) I started reading simplefamilies.com, which is written by a mom of young kids (younger than mine). The mom is also a PhD in child development and has an amazingly clean playroom where each toy is carefully chosen for a purpose. She has a program called the "Toy Detox" (did I write about this already? I didn't bother to review my own thread. Oh well.)

    I sat on the idea of a toy detox for a while before doing anything close to it. Basically she says to allow about 10 toys per kid and to remove the rest for a period of 3 weeks. She says to choose the toys you keep with care--pay attention to "closed" vs. "open" toys and what skills or development they can promote for kids your kids ages. She says not to make it punitive and to tell the kids that the toys are going on vacation. And she says not to increase screen time as a result of the toy detox. I hemmed and hawed. Then I recently went on a couple of playdates to some nearby homes and I was blown away by how little stuff these families have. And it motivated me.

    A week or so ago, I spoke to my kids about giving the toys a vacation. I said that they could each choose ten things (or sets of things--eg, Lego is one thing, and dolls are one thing), plus two plush toys, to keep during the "toy vacation." Honestly, not one of them completed their list of ten things. That was enough for them.

    This week I took off from work and the kids are still in summer camp (and loving it and complaining if I pick them up early). So Monday I started the toy vacation. I pulled LOTS of toys from the play area and living room, and DH helped me store them in our room. I put them in DH's old armoire (which he doesn't need anymore since we now can share a closet after Kondo-ing the clothes last summer). Actually we put them inside it and ON TOP of it, because there were so many. I know I had decreased the toys last year--but there still was so much more! Well, after three or four solid hours of work, I got so much stuff out of the living room that I managed to remove one entire old bookcase from the living room and emptied another entire shelving unit from the playroom/3rd bedroom.

    When the kids got home that day, they did not even notice for over an hour. Then our oldest (he's 10) finally realized and said, "Did it start?" He wasn't upset. None of them were. They were actually excited that there was more space. (The bookcase we removed from the living room had been blocking a weird window from one room to another, and they were playing with that for a while, plus the other shelving unit blocked a door that connects their bedroom to the 3rd bedroom/playroom.)

    I kept more than the 10 toys that they each had chosen, to be honest. None of them chose the musical instruments, for example, but I want those available to them. I kept the old Simon electronic game and some other card games and dominoes that none of them chose. I kept some of the dinosaurs (the ones that had been left on the floor b/c they had been playing with them--the others went away). I let my daughter keep all the stuffed animals that she already had on her bed, even though there are wayyyy more than 2 of them (I still put a lot away). I kept some other things that no one chose but that I know they play with. It's only been a few days, but so far none of them has asked for anything that I "put on vacation."

    I asked my daughter last night if she missed the toys or if she preferred the space. She said she did miss some toys but also really liked having more space. And I realized that my youngest plays most with the Lego and the K'nex (building toys), so he barely will miss the others. My oldest does more reading than playing with toys anyway. So I probably could have gotten rid of more, but I don't mind a little clutter. I don't need my house to look like the others I visited lately. That would feel too cold to me. I like having a cozy home. But I also really like what we've done, especially with school starting soon. They have enough left to play with, it doesn't feel like everything is gone, there is more space, but it still feels like our home.

    Maybe I'll let them rotate stuff out if they want to. Haven't decided yet, but I told them that this toy vacation will be for at least a few weeks. And if they are okay with not getting the stuff back after a while, I will ask my cleaning lady if she wants to send some of it to El Salvador. She already accepted one of the kids' old bikes that is too small for any of my kids.
    Last edited by TVRodriguez; 8-17-17 at 4:37pm. Reason: finished a sentence and clarified a couple others

  8. #28
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    I can't go by me because I don't believe in throwing away other people's stuff on the sly. But my DS and his wife moved last year and they were ruthless. I can't believe the amount of stuff they donated and threw away in just moving from one place to another But they only had one kid at the time and he was 2, so that doesn't count.

    One time, when we had young kids and a fireplace, my DH told the kids to clean up a board game. They didn't do it. The fire was lit and my DH just picked up the game and threw it in the fire. I thought that was extreme, but pretty effective.

    Part of it is just not buying the stuff to begin with. The alternative is buying stuff at thrift stores. My DS believes in buying stuff for very little money so you don't feel bad when you "recycle" it back to the thrift store.

    At 5, 7, and 9, I think your kids are old enough to negotiate. Set a limit for # of toys, or how much will fit in a toy box or closet, and then impress upon them how much other kids will enjoy the toys they don't care about anymore.

    ETA: Just saw that this is a revival of an old thread, and I already pretty much said the same thing.. duh.

    Glad to see you're working it out!
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
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  9. #29
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    It sounds like you made great progress and awesome that the kids did not care. When my kids were old enough to play without constant supervision I made them their toys in their rooms. That way my main living areas were not cluttered. I think sending them to El Salvador is also wonderful. A win-win. I am surprised that you have friends where there is little toy clutter. That has never been my experience.

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Teacher Terry View Post
    It sounds like you made great progress and awesome that the kids did not care. When my kids were old enough to play without constant supervision I made them their toys in their rooms. That way my main living areas were not cluttered. I think sending them to El Salvador is also wonderful. A win-win. I am surprised that you have friends where there is little toy clutter. That has never been my experience.
    Yes, I'm thrilled! As for the other homes with little toy clutter, they are homes of immigrants and designers, both groups that tend (in my experience) towards minimalism. In fact, one of the girls came over today and made a few comments like "I was organizing things in [my daughter]'s room because, no offense, but it was a little cluttered." This is AFTER I cleaned out, mind you! Hahahahahaha. I couldn't help but laugh. Her home is amazingly clean and streamlined, and I don't seek to achieve that level, but it was pretty funny.

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