too many toys? {enough, day 16}

Happy Enough Experiment Hump Day, friends! If you’ve stuck with us thus far, give yourself a big pat on the back!

Before you sweet things with no kiddos (or grown ones) get all excited about your FREE PASS today, let’s just think about some of YOUR OWN toys (stuffed animals from childhood, games, trinkets, gadgets, and let’s even throw in DVDs for good measure).

Won’t this be fun??

I blogged about Too Much Kids’ Stuff back when I did my 31 Days of Purging. And some of you had some helpful tips on toys on some earlier posts as well.

This is from my sis, Bethany:Β One thing we did was sell our big exersaucer at Once Upon A Child and purchased one that folded up. Also, switch out bins of toys so they can’t play with them all at once. Or put all their toys in their bedroom and only have larger toys in the living room. Or organize the small toys into labeled bins and store them up high so they have to ask to play with them and they have to clean it all up before they get another bin. Then put the big items that are quick to clean up within their reach. I also have the rule of no toys in the kitchen. At least I have one room that is toy-free!

I also encourage people to think about how many toys their kids can actually enjoy. When you reach a certain point, it’s just overwhelming.

For the past 5 years or so, we’ve had 4 plastic boxes of toys (blocks, cars, rubber animals, characters) and 1 basket of books that we get out for little kiddos who come over, and it’s all we’ve really needed.

We also have a few puzzles, some coloring books, some stuffed animals, 2 baby dolls, and play-doh.

Our girls have iPods, a shelf of games, and drawing supplies. And that’s about it. Kids need sooooo much less than we think they do.

I love how Tsh puts it in Organized Simplicity. “The fewer toys a child has, the more inventive she has to be. and when she’s inventive, she’s using her imagination and her creativity, which stimulates her brain.”

I remember reading her list of “open-ended” toys she suggests for kids: 1.) wooden blocks. 2.) dolls. 3.) art supplies. 4.) dress-up clothes. 5.) play kitchens and food. 6.) building toys. 7.) board games. 8.) cars and trucks.

THOSE ARE THE EXACT TOYS WE HAVE, I exclaimed with glee.

Now. This is all fine and good if YOU are on board with what I’m saying. But what if your KIDDOS aren’t?


Rome wasn’t built in a day. It may take a little while to re-wire their thinking (as it has for us). Patience. Grace. You’ve got this.

Instead of a challenge, some questions (answer as few or as many as you’d like)

1.) Have your kiddos outgrown some toys you could get rid of?

2.) What kind of incentive could you offer for getting rid of toys? (I once gave my girls a quarter for every stuffed animal they parted with.)

3.) Could you save up for something fun to do as a family in lieu of buying more toys? (my girls are so gung ho about Cambodia that every purchase is always filtered through that lens)

4.) If you don’t have kids, which toys of YOURS are we (and by we, I mean you) going to get rid of today?

5.) What obstacles are you facing with today’s challenge?

6.) What tips can you share with the class?

Now, go purge! You can do it!

19 thoughts on “too many toys? {enough, day 16}

  1. jordan elizabeth

    I’m getting rid of four dolls plus the stuff that goes with them – haven’t listed them for sale (they’re good quality and mostly like new) quite yet, but they’re almost ready!

  2. Jennifer Engstrom

    I had a conversation with my kids this weekend about what toys they would want–a single type–if they could only take one bin on a long trip. My 9 and 6 year old were able to come to a decision, though my three year old couldn’t. It was illuminating what they value. Now it’s my turn to actually DO something about it, and that is hard! I did have them find their age number of items to get rid of. 18 stuffed animals have been donated! We also each chose 3 books to give away. And I ditched half the baby toys.

  3. Allison

    The boys have very few toys, mostly legos and action figures. Most of their time is spent on technology, for better or worse. The 3yo has a lot, but not obscenely lots, and mostly toys that spark creativity. I avoid toys that play for the kids. There are some of hers that I have been thinking of getting rid of.

    There are some toys that I think about saving long term… like for grandkids. Things that are expensive, like legos, wooden unit blocks, or Thomas Train, that I would like to be able to pass along. But I’m not sure that’s a good idea, particularly for toys that are so bulky. Is it worth trading the storage space and hassle of moving these things around (assuming we move) for the next 20 +/-10 years, just to have toys for the grandkinds? Probably not.

  4. Beth

    Watch Toy Story 3. Convicting! Toys want to be played with! If you’re keeping toys boxed up in storage or have more than you can play with, they’re sad!!!! Give them to someone who will love them. πŸ™‚

  5. Lynda

    Somehow I think the toys at our house have the ability to reproduce themselves! I waiver between having my 4 year old help with toy purging and just doing it more efficiently myself. I’ve gotten rid of lots of things that he’s never noticed, but I also have him pick out things to get rid of periodically. Before his birthday and Christmas he gets to find a certain number of items to get rid of to make room for new toys he will receive–4 toys for his 4th b-day, etc. I also ask for “experience” gifts when possible to prevent clutter–tickets to a museum or the zoo, for example. If we can go with the giver, that’s an extra bonus!

    Thanks for gently nudging me to consider my mounds of stuff and my priorities!

  6. brooke

    any “excess” DVDs are taken to our rental cabin for guests. they end up walking away (so sad that someone is willing to become a thief for the sake of a $5 DVD), so I’d say another purge is in order.
    these days, I give my niece and nephew “money making more money” (what she calls it when she puts her birthday cash in the bank to earn interest) because they have soooooooo much.

    1. brooke

      also, for my niece’s 10th birthday part at school, she asked the kids to bring donations to the boys & girls club (snacks and art supplies) instead of gifts for herself. I cannot overstate how thoughtful and sweet this girl is!!

  7. Katie

    How do you handle all of the gifts given at birthdays/Christmas? We rarely buy toys ourselves, but we get so many for those special days! What are some other options to ask people to do instead of buy gifts or just ask for money?

    1. Marla Taviano Post author

      Over the years, we’ve really been able to minimize gifts in a big, big way. My mom has always given the girls $ (which they love–and usually use for Cambodia). We opt out of gift exchanges. And we don’t get our kids Christmas gifts anymore. They get $20 on their birthdays. We don’t do b-day parties either. WE ARE A BARREL OF FUN. Seriously, though, they don’t feel like they’re missing a thing. Show me a kid who gets a ton of presents and can actually enjoy even 1/4 of them. (I’ve also found that the more kids get, the less grateful they are. Us adults too. Youch.)

  8. Jennifer

    Just yesterday I was thinking again about going through toys ( which Phil and the kids did a month or two ago). Part of me wants to hang on to things that the baby will want to play with , but then I remember the baby will have a first birthday and people will probably pick out new, special things for him/her. Of course, I still want to keep some favorites. πŸ˜‰

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