Monday, March 5, 2012

Toys! Toys! Toys!

Peter has a great toy collection. He has wooden blocks of all shapes and sizes, a wicker basket of different balls, matchbox cars from my husband's and my collections, puzzles, dolls and stuffed animals, Duplo blocks, musical instruments, and those plastic links that make cool chains. I love these toys. They engage his imagination, provide learning opportunities, and are made to last. They are easy to clean and keep organized. But I'm constantly on guard against them.

I am firmly opposed to the accumulation of too many things. I go through my closet four to five times each year, searching for items that haven't been worn often or are very similar to something else I own. I allot a maximum of 21 t-shirts each for my husband and myself. (Because really, who needs more than three weeks of t-shirts?!) I keep a close eye on my music, movies, and books, to be sure the ones on the shelf are good enough to deserve that space. To be totally honest, I'm somewhat pleased to find coupons have expired, because then I can recycle them guilt-free.

So it's hard for me to accept the growth and change of Peter's toy collection. I try to appease my anti-clutter self with "a place for everything and everything in its place," which is helpful. But I also know children need freedom to play, to have the cars and blocks and puzzles all out at the same time, because the puzzle pieces are the tops of the block buildings and the cars are driving over them.

Coffee table turned toy organizer

How do you manage toys in your home without micromanaging?


  1. I totally understand what you mean! We have a very small house and it seems like it just keeps getting smaller! We have a small area in the living room where we keep some of David's toys & books. We have a basket for misc. toys, a basket for his squishy blocks, his duplo blocks are stored in the bag they came in and his wooden blocks have a clear plastic box that they came in (which fits on the shelf next to the basket of squishy blocks). We've got 2 small book shelves that house some of our DVDs, so the DVDs are on the upper half and David's toys are on the lower half. He also has some toys and books on the bookcase in his room and a small basket of toys that stays in our bedroom (they come in handy while David is sitting on the bed while Mommy and/or Daddy are getting ready - usually for church or a weekday outing). I went through the toys and pulled out most of the "baby" toys and put them away a while ago, just to help clear up some space (although they will be coming back out soon!) and once our little girl makes her appearance I will probably try to slim down on some of David's toys. I also have turned down toys offered to me by others, or returned toys (usually large, battery operated ones) that have been given to him as gifts 1. because we don't have the space and 2. because I would much rather use that $ to get him a toy that requires him to use his imagination.

    1. Thanks for the ideas! Yeah, we are happy that our families have respected our wishes and stayed away from cheap plastic and batteries. At your suggestion, I did recently go through and pull out the baby toys, so that makes me happier. :-)