We have been on a toy journey for a while.
It’s a love hate relationship.
Our previous toy rotation system was better than having NO system, but it was still not working for several reasons:
1. The boxes were often accessible to my children, who pulled them out and randomly took toys from the wrong weeks.
2. If every single toy didn’t get back in the box at the end of each week, the bins started to get unbalanced.
3. I had no idea which toy or book went in each box, if I randomly found it in the house.
4. It was hard to accommodate for the phases of interests my children had… Sometimes they are super interested in building with magnets, or playing with blocks, or pretending with animals… Or they had that ONE TRUCK that they wanted to hold onto for weeks. It was hard to keep the system going while still letting them be interested in something as long as they wanted.
All in all, in order to keep up the system, it had to be constantly checked and reorganized and rebalanced.
Yes, it was glorious to not have all of the toys out at once, and yes, my kids actually played with the toys that they had, but I didn’t have the energy to keep it up.
Then Christmas happened, and we were up to our ears in toys again.
So what did we do?
We purged again.
All of the toys and books went back on the chopping block. I laid everything out and categorized it, and then my husband and I went through and tried to be honest with ourselves.
I had a DTR with children’s books. I love books so much that I was blinded to the fact that quality is much more important than quantity. I had all these books that I had gotten for free from one place or another (mostly from this one killer yard sale), and I didn’t even LIKE half of them. I didn’t want to read them when my kids brought them to me.
I taped the ripped books. Then I saved the ones that I loved to read, and the ones that I thought were super cute and that the kids loved, and the rest got donated.
Then we took all the toys, and analyzed whether the kids liked them, whether they were played with, and whether we even liked having them in our house. Maybe we got a certain toy for a great deal at the thrift store, but the kids don’t even care about it. Etc.
Everything that didn’t cut it? Donated.
***SIDE NOTE: We are in the process of telling friends and family the kinds of gifts that they can give our kids. It’s hard to tell them what we want (without seeming like we didn’t appreciate their previous toys and gifts) but it’s so worth it.
For my son’s 3rd birthday, I asked my mom to get our family tickets to a cheap zoo nearby. She also gave him a book about going to the zoo, which the kids love to read. Over. And over…
We are trying to change our mentality AWAY from toys, and towards experiences.***
As far as the toys we DID keep, we tried to focus on toys that fueled their imaginations, like blocks, building magnets, and stuffed animals. We still have an overabundance of cars… 🙄
But we are getting there!
And now, each category of toys gets its own tote.
So we have a box for cars, a box for stuffed animals, a box for baby toys, and a box for random toddler toys (plastic animals, wooden blocks, magnets, balls, etc.)
And last week, I constructed a shelving unit for the other toys that didn’t fit the bill: puzzles, Duplo blocks, big trucks, etc.
We still have a ways to go (and gift giving will keep happening), but our toys are now more manageable, more intentional, and waaaaay easier to put away if I find a random car or stuffed animal under the couch.
Where are you in YOUR toy journey?