03 April 2008

Toy management

We have too many toys.
I strongly suspect that little elves sneak in here during the night and add more toys to the fracas, but that theory has yet to be proved.
Last night Dennis and I went through the toys and put a TON of them in a plastic bag to be sold at our spring garage sale (which we ARE going to have, darn it!). We got rid of all the cheap plastic toys, some stuffed animals and all of the electronic things, or anything that makes noise by itself.
A while ago, my mom had read somewhere that a family handled their plethora of toys by dividing them up into several containers and each day a new container was brought forth. At the end of the day, the toys were put away.
I personally thought this was brilliant. We have tried putting away some for a month or so, but there is still just too much choice. And while that probably means that we should just get rid of a whole lotta the toys, the kids really DO play with ALL of those that are left after our purging. And, honestly, Dennis and I are suckers because we think the remainder are cool toys!
SO -- anyway, we divided up the remainder, into some bins. We've got wooden toys, puzzles, a shape sorter and a bead game in one. The wooden kitchen range, pots and pans and teaset and food are in another. All of the Little People stuff is in one set of bins. Another has the Thomas trainsets. Another has cars and other "things that go". And the final one has some plastic animals in it. The last bin will eventually hold dress-up stuff, I think. Annalivia has her dolls and some stuffed animals in her bedroom. Daniel has a little box that can be added to at some point when he claims his own toys. And I think I'm going to develop a little box of Waldorf-esque dolls for Annalivia to take in the car and add the wood clackers, etc to it for Daniel.
I'd imagine that this system will have to be tweaked as the kids grow older. Right now, Annalivia plays with all of those things and Daniel plays with whatever Annalivia is playing with. Maybe their choices will differentiate at some point.
But I'm thinking that for now this will work better for us.

Today is Little People day. So far it's been a big hit.
UPDATE! CLEAN-UP IS A BREEZE!! TWO MINUTES. LITERALLY!! HURRAH!!

5 comments:

Andrea said...

I have heard of the system where you put some toys away and bring new ones out later. We used to do that kind of when Landen didn't go upstairs on his own. I'd switch toys from downstairs to upstairs. Now it's just toys everywhere. Ahh! I've been giving a lot of stuff away to the second hand shop here in town. If it's wore out, he doesn't play with it, or is stupid I get rid of it. I'm wondering if we need to do the whole, something new comes in something old goes out. We have too many toys and Amelia hasn't even gotten to her toy age yet. It's overwhelming for me to see all those toys, which to play with. Some are just junk too.

mid-life rookie said...

manBoy never liked the idea of parting with his toys. We would put them up in the storage shed for six months. If he never asked for them, they were donated or in the garage sale. He would happily part with them if he knew they were going to someone in particular. One year he helped me clean up his workbench and find all the parts to give to a friend for her little boy. Good luck with the system.

mid-life rookie said...

p.s. one of his favorite toys was a littel 1.5 X 2 X .5 inch piece of wood left over from some project. It was his walkie talkie and plenty of other things too. Just a plain block of wood. He's 15. He still has it! Doesn't play with it, but won't let it go.

April said...

That is so sweet, MLR. Fun to see what they choose, eh?

Andrea... I think the key is the each-day, new-box thing. We've tried putting stuff away and bringing it out a month later, but it was still just too much stuff. This way, there's not much in each bin and it all gets played with.

I feel a little sorry for Daniel because he doesn't have any toys of his own, really. But luckily, lots of Annalivia's are not gender-specific and he loves to play with the food and kitchen set and she loves to play with the trains and cars.

Marlaine said...

I, too, did the toy rotation when my children were younger, putting a box or two up in the closet, bringing out "new ones", with no particular timing other than it usually was in the interests of saving my sanity more than sparking their creativity! I would also set aside some books/toys 4-6 weeks before car trips, and the "new" old toys were great to hand back to fussy kids in car seats. Growing up, my mom always kept a "church bag" that we only got to see on Sundays, to help keep us quiet and occupied.