My husband and I are considering a change around here. A BIG change. For months now, we’ve been feeling overwhelmed regarding the toy situation in our home. We have an entire room in the basement dedicated to toys, and a closet upstairs filled with toys. Obviously, we have a few too many and they’re everywhere. They’re under the couches, under the beds, all over the floor, stuffed inside drawers, pillowcases, laundry baskets… I’m constantly finding them (or pieces of them) somewhere. I’ve tried everything I know of to help the kids keep their toys picked up and none of it is working. Granted, this is my own fault for not teaching them to pick up their toys when they were small, but blaming myself isn’t helping, either! :)
A few days ago, I became particularly upset and frustrated when I discovered that, thanks to little fingers, some of my calendar numbers were missing:
And the original operators manual from our very old sewing machine had been taken out and torn apart:
That was “the moment” for me. The moment I wanted to pull out my hair and scream the cry of so many Mothers: “I can never have anything nice around here!”
I restrained myself from screaming.
But I did cry a bit.
And I prayed.
The result of all this is that it has come to our attention that the kids may simply be living with too much. When the children of Israel came into the Promised Land, they were soon overwhelmed with all the good things there and it wasn’t long before they forgot where those good things had come from and stopped valuing what they’d been given. I feel that my children have come into a similar place of forgetfulness and under-appreciation. They simply have so much they don’t value what they have.
I’m ashamed of the fact that I can throw a toy away and the kids won’t miss it. I’m saddened by the fact that if something breaks, the kids simply say: “we’ll buy a new one.” I don’t want to raise them with a spirit of poverty, but I also don’t want them to live in such abundance that they don’t even try to take care of their things. So my husband and I are considering a change. A BIG change.
We’re considering giving most of the kid’s toys away. We’re considering keeping about five or six small tupperware boxes of much loved toys and not allowing any more into the house. Or, I should say, not allowing any more into the house unless they are pre-approved, educational toys that will last (i.e. nothing made of flimsy plastics). Or, perhaps, not banning new toys but making sure that when new toys come in, old toys go out. We’re still trying to determine what would work best.
So, I’m asking for your opinions/advice. How would you handle this in your home? And if you were getting rid of practically all of your kids toys, what are the things you’d keep? What are the toys you feel your kids couldn’t/shouldn’t be without?
Some things we know we want to leave (or buy in the future) are:
1.) Dollhouse w/wooden furniture and doll people. I especially love these little dolls.
2.) Play kitchen (made of wood) with play food and pots/pans/dishes (plastic and metal)
3.) Baby dolls and wooden cribs, doll clothes and blankets
4.) Cars, trains, etc. (wooden, metal, or durable plastic)
5.) Crafting toys (paint sets, brushes, paper, crayons, sewing things, etc.)
6.) Horses (made of plastic but very durable)
7.) Educational electronic toys (Leapfrog, Vtech, etc.)
8.) Outside toys (shovels, buckets, balls, bats, etc. to be kept OUTSIDE)
This isn’t a complete list, of course, but some things I can think of off-hand that I know we’d like to have for the children. And now I’d like to turn the discussion over to you. Your thoughts/ideas/suggestions would be most appreciated.