Don’t worry, Woody (& friends) survived!

In preparation to dogsit for my parents and due to the post-birthday bombardment with new toys and lack of space in my smallish house, I embarked on a project last night to weed through all of Jax’s toys and donate the good ones and toss the broken ones. The project commenced with a hasty trip to Target for big Rubbermaid totes in which to store the toys for transport to my son’s daycare–which, in a win-win situation, is happy to take the toys Jax is too old to play with but still in great condition.

Sidenote: I’m happy to report that in addition to the two totes, I bought only two other items–this is progress, given that we all know how impossible it is to escape Target without buying triple the number of items on your list! I got off easy last night, buying only double! What can I say, I was in a hurry!

While I was at Target, a wave of sadness washed over me as I thought about which toys I should remove from my home. Some toys were bought during my pregnancy and have sentimental value. Some toys I just can’t bear the thought of Jax no longer having the option to play with, even though he hasn’t played with them in months or a year! Like his first babydoll he so lovingly cared for (when he was in the mood). Or stuffed animals older than Jax, given to him at my baby shower.

Feeling sentimental is dangerous when you need to declutter your house, and fast.

To make myself feel better–and because I was projecting on Jax that he would be sad, like me, to lose some of his older toys–I stopped in Toys R Us on the drive home from Target and whipped out some gift cards Jax received for his birthday. I told him how proud I am of him for moving into his new classroom this week (have I written about that yet?!) and would let him choose any one toy.

I also told him we needed to give some of his old toys to his school so that other kids could play with them, too. He seemed receptive to this idea, thank goodness.

He chose this toy, and I freaking love it. It provided belly laughs last night as we chased the dogs around the house with it. Sorry, dogs, but you kind of deserve it after all your shenanigans.

I asked my husband to take Jax outside to play last night while I spent 30 minutes sorting through all of the toys in 3 different toyboxes in my house. Once I pushed out the sentimental thoughts, I got into a groove where it was almost too easy to ditch many of the toys. My husband had already done some of the work and created a huge pile (he obviously is not sentimental) of toys he thought we should toss. I admit I did keep two items from his pile–the first toy I bought for Jax when I found out I was pregnant and a Wiggles guitar Jax still plays with. It is just too adorable when he rocks out on that thing, even though it sounds terrible.

I was able to get rid of one lawn bag full of broken or old toys missing pieces, and I prepared a huge tote for the daycare. What remains at our house are toys Jax still loves and regularly uses, and they’re all organized now! Success!

In summary, I learned a few things about getting rid of toys:

  • It is hard when you’re feeling sentimental. But it’s OK to feel sad about letting go of baby things. For some, it’s clothes. Apparently for me, it’s toys. It was a walk down memory lane as I recalled when he received some of the toys (holidays, birthdays) and from whom.
  • Work fast. This is key. Too much time to think is paralyzing. And don’t put on music or anything that could also flood you with emotion!
  • Probably not a good idea (and perhaps counterintuitive) to hit a toystore on the way home to get rid of toys. My husband definitely made some jokes about it, and rightly so.
  • Make sure you do this kind of project when your kid isn’t around to convince you to keep many of the toys. Unless said child is old enough to reason with.
  • Don’t use trashbags. Totes are best. They don’t rip, for starters.
  • Ask your local daycare if they’d like the clean toys in excellent conditions. If not, donate them. Be sure you don’t pass along anything that is broken or missing pieces. I wouldn’t recommend giving daycares any toys with magnets or small parts, either.

Am I missing anything? What are your tips or advice about getting rid of your kids’ toys?


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  1. Since we plan on having more kids I to take the old toys and keep them for future kids. I usually do this after bday and Xmas. Lil one isn’t old enough to fight me, but I will be using ur style and have hubs distract while I do it. Doesn’t it feel great to declutter
    Leelah recently posted..My mommy fear

  2. I don’t have much trouble getting rid of toys, mainly because we do plan to have more kids. The junky plastic toys I am happy to get rid of – We consign them all, which means that we almost always have store credit when we visit the secondhand kids shop. It’s great for upgrading to older toys and clothes – It’s been a constant cycle, so essentially his newborn gear (all baby shower gifts) have worked to pay for his toddler stuff!

    The nicest thing about toys, in my opinion, is that the quality ones will usually last for years, not only through wear and tear but throughout development. Sebastian continues to play with a lot of his “baby” toys, he just plays with them differently now. My favorite toys are dolls, play food, and other open-ended items for make-believe type play, and those are good from several months old almost up to puberty! Same with wooden blocks and other building toys. I chuck out items that only do one thing. Of course, Sebastian is still too young to ask for toys at the store, etc, thank god. He will happily play with something in a store and doesn’t even make the connection that he COULD take it home with him. I’m sure things will change when he starts to make his own demands and I’m not 100% in charge of what we bring into our house!

    Anyway, glad your experience wasn’t too tolling on you, and that Jax was understanding. I remember being a kid and not letting my mom sell any of my old stuff at yard sales, even though I hadn’t looked at it in years. So sentimental! Nowadays I’m pretty good at tossing the bad and holding onto only the very best and most meaningful – Which is good, because we live in a 900 sq foot apartment!
    Janine (Alternative Housewife) recently posted..Better than thrifting – Family heirlooms

  3. I tried giving a bunch of toys to daycare once, but my son kept insisting they were all his and kept trying to take them home. Never doing that again!
    Raine recently posted..Mad Me

  4. Refugia Flatter

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