Day 68: Too Many Toys – Look Away! I’m Hideous.

6,800 things gone, only 3,200 to go

One of the best things about decluttering is taking the time to reflect on the things you spend money on.

Before we had kids, we knew exactly what kind of toys we were going to buy.

High quality

educational toys

that reflect our values

and say something about who we are

and who we want them to be.

I’m the kind of person who truly believes that embarrassment should come second when there’s a lesson to be learned. So, it surprises even me that I’m having so much trouble admitting this:

I think at least 5,000 out of the 10,000 things I get rid of will be toys.

Look away! I’m hideous.

I knew the toys were a problem but the magnitude of the waste is really hard to cop to in public. And it’s not just the money, it’s the time and the mindset. What was I thinking buying toys that we didn’t even have time to play with?

Ahhh, hindsight can make you feel like such an idiot.

But I just realized that the cure could be right at my fingertips. Now that you know what kind of parent I am. Will you hold my feet to the fire and be my conscience?

I’ll post pictures of every toy I buy my children for the rest of the project.

Every cell in my body is begging me not to publish this…sorry cells, this Mom needs to get back on track.

What I tossed today: Yikes, I haven’t had a chance to toss anything yet. I’ll have to do something quick like files or photographs.

What I tossed yesterday: (and the day before) toys, toys, toys, two body pillows, a blanket, a sheet, Christmas wrap


12 thoughts on “Day 68: Too Many Toys – Look Away! I’m Hideous.

  1. Toys are insane! We luckily RARELY buy any thanks to relatives. However, what our kiddos are gifted don’t generally meet my high standards, so those get donated. I think I’ve maybe purchased one toy NEW, but everything else has come from Craig’s List or Goodwill. I refuse to spend loads of money on toys! When I go places like Target, I scoff at their prices. I still have yet to venture to Toys R Us either by myself or with the boys. Thankfully, they don’t seem to mind…yet. Plus, they make toys out of the recyclables take old hand tools, etc., so we have almost no need for toys. I’m definitely guessing this will change as they age (only 3 yrs & 17 months), but I’m enjoying it while it lasts!

  2. Have you read “No Impact Man?” I’m sure you’ve heard about Colin Beavan and his pledge to make no environmental impact for a year. Anyhow, part of the deal was that they couldn’t buy anything new for a year. So on their daughter’s second (or maybe third… not sure) birthday they took her to a nice used/consignment store and told her she could have anything she wanted. There was a whole store full of toys and stuffed animals and groovy stuff, and the only thing she wanted was a pair of pink slippers with sequins on them.

    Somehow, I can’t help but think that kids aren’t born materialistic, they learn it from us.

  3. Hilarious photo essay. A++, would read again.

    Were you also planning for your children to only watch wholesome, educational films? I think that’s a popular-if-rarely-attained dream.

    You’re not hideous, just a real person with real blind spots— like everyone else on the planet.

    In your defense, many toys are so cheap and almost omnipresent, it’s hard NOT to bring some of them home; Happy Meal toys, tiny toys from vending machines, gifts from well-meaning relatives… and that goes for ALL stuff, really. I think it breeds in our closets.

    Also in your defense, it’s sometimes hard to know which toys kids will ignore and which they’ll carry around for days.

    I LOVE your honesty. You’ve found a personal weakness, and you’re addressing it. Who wouldn’t respect that?

      • We do share a sense of humor, I can tell.

        No lawyers, to my knowledge, but the boyfriend who wrote contract #3 DID leave a comment on that post and not recognize his own outrageous promise. A truly golden moment in my blogging life.

        And that guy who wrote contracts 1 and 2? Just got married this summer to a girl far, far too good for him. I’m already worried for them.

  4. Hey Christine:

    I share your pain every time my angelic 9-year-old swings a sword and regales me with detailed descriptions of his brother’s impending death…sigh.

    I’m curious of your boys’ reaction to the clean sweep of their toys? My raids have always been conducted in secrecy and nobody ever seems to notice that half the toybox is missing.

    • Ah, death by sword can be a pretty miserable thing. I share your pain!
      My kids have not noticed anything is missing. If they catch me in the act, I just say I’m sorting. If they find something they like in my piles, I keep it and get rid of something else. My youngest saved the magnetic people pictured above. I guess I’ll have to look at those for a little while longer…sigh.

  5. I so admire your brutal honesty…as the saying goes “we can’t change our behaviour until we own it”…you are miles ahead of me! Bravo!

  6. Toys are a hard subject. I think as parent’s we’re always looking at the toys we buy for our children as an extension of our parenting efforts.

    As long as my kids aren’t playing with toy machine guns (I’ve seen way too many of these lately) or spearing each other with light sabres, I think I’m good. I have to continually remind myself that my kids don’t know “expensive” or “educational,” and only know what’s fun and what they like to play with.

  7. We´re moving and resently moved 6 boxes of toys, books, stuffed animals and so on from our childrens room. The only thing my 5yearold had to say about it was “have you cleaned my room? it looks tidy in here”. My children have´nt asked about a single thing that´s packad away, I will unpack and give to charity instead of putting it back in their new room.

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