Whether you are from a big family, a giving family or just have a lot of generous friends, you probably have run into confusion when it comes to gifts. While you are appreciative of the heart behind why people are giving your children many noisy toys and fun gifts, you dread having to find a place to store them.
Then, in a year or two, you have piles and boxes of toys that are either gently used or never been played with that you have to figure out what to do with while your child continues to find cardboard boxes far more interesting to play with.
Many friends who are also moms I talk to seem to be able to clear out their houses with confidence until it comes to kids stuff. “What about the kids room?!”
The good news is : the toys cannot hurt you. They don’t bite – well most don’t. 😏
You just have to show them who is boss.
When I started to declutter toys I started with noise makers. Not only are they annoying for mama and pretty much any adult but they didn’t seem to encourage my daughter T to create her own songs. Noise makers with batteries = goodwill. At least for now at her age. Your kids may be different.
Then I watched to see what she actually played with. While she had a few boxes of toys, only about 5 where regularly played with. I put all the rest into a box and placed it in the closet. I wrote a date for a few weeks into the future on it to be taken to the donation site. I decided If she asked for a toy I’d take it out for her. Not only did she not ask but she seemed to begin to play with her remaining toys with joy and created even more elaborate games with them.
So great! Now all the toys where cleared! But then we still have holidays, birthdays and “just cause” presents to deal with! All your hard work of decluttering stands to be ruined! 😱
After brain storming we came up with a few ideas. Keep in mind that my daughters are young. I am no expert but these really do work for us.
Hopefully these will inspire you to come up with ideas of your own! I’d love to hear what you come up with!
1) Visits! My extended family is out of state and don’t get to see us super often. We decided that instead of sending numerous onesies or toys for the girls that they would put the money into savings for trips to come see us. You’d be surprised how the money adds up! Those memories of face to face visits are more important and lasting than any stuffed animal.
2) College fund! My dad actually offered this suggestion. He’s never sure exactly what to get the girls so he asked if he could start a college fund. Um HECK YES! Way to go Daddy-o! 🎉
3) For family & friends that live closer this can be tricky. Remember to be respectful because after all – they don’t HAVE to give you stuff! They want to! Here are a few suggestions you can offer instead of letting them wander down the toy isle:
– museum, zoo or other passes
– Netflix subscription, movie tickets or iTunes cards (great for educational games or movies for T’s iPad)
– dance or other classes
4) lunch or play date! I always like to ask if whoever is wanting to give the gift can come over for lunch or have a play date. This is a free and fun gift! (For long distance try FaceTime or Skype!)
You can also set up a wish list on Amazon. That way if you do need clothes or certain toys they know exactly what to get you
A gift given is often a desire to be apart of someone’s life. Why not make lasting memories for your kids filled with experiences? Your kids may not remember every visit but they will feel loved.
Again I’d love to hear if you have any other ideas below!