Yesterday I took away all of my son’s toys. All of them. At some point during the course of the day I hit the point of no return – watching the way he abused his belongings had irked me one too many times; putting his toys away for him either because he wouldn’t or because he wouldn’t do it right… I may be asking too much of a three year old but the thing that really bothered me happened after I took them away. He didn’t care. Guys, I’m serious – I took ALL his toys away and he didn’t even whimper. He seemed to think it was funny. And apart from asking for one stuffed animal before nap time, he never asked me for a single toy. And the rest of our day was pleasant. Awesome even. What the frig?
When my husband came home and saw the empty toy room he was a bit astonished. “Do I even need to ask how your day was?” I believe was his response. When I told him that after I’d taken the toys away it had been a great day and that his son didn’t even seem to miss all the great stuff I’d put away… He was a bit surprised, too. I’ve often thought that MM has too many toys – sometimes it’s hard to really appreciate something when you have it in mass quantities. But whenever we’ve tried to weed through his things and donate stuff, we never get very far because it’s all great stuff, you know? Where do you draw the line? Last night we played hard ball. Sort of. We went through all his toys and got rid of well over half of it. Except, by got rid of, I really mean we put it in our storage closet downstairs. And looking around his toy room there is still a ton of stuff, but the difference is still huge. Instead of having several dozen stuffed animals on his bed, he now has six. And those are the only stuffed animals in his possession, there aren’t any in the toy room. So what’s left in his toy room now you ask? Let me show you…
We left all his train accessories and of course the terrific table my dad made for him.
Likewise with his awesome tool bench – an old Christmas present from his auntie – honestly the big toys are the least of our problems and this one is in constant use.
This used to also house all his little stuffed animals, which are now in storage. He loves to dress up in funny hats and put his worldly possessions in fun bags. Now these things are front and center in the Dress Up Bucket and the stuffed animals which used to mostly just get dumped on the floor when he wanted a fun hat… yeah those are gone.
Dan and I are huge nerds and we wouldn’t have the heart to get rid of great educational toys. The puzzles, abacus and the wooden “foods” all stay. These are also favorites of the boy’s so I know they’ll be used frequently. Hopefully now they’ll be used MORE in fact.
These are in addition to a bunch of little matchbox cars that live with his train set. Like any boy, MM loves “things that go” – we kept most of his trucks and cars out (though not all of them).
Of course the great Mega Bloks have to stay and the blue bucket has a couple toys we deemed worth keeping…
We used to have two buckets filled to the brim with small toys, some things in multiple, like he needs that many. This is probably the part I’m proudest of. I feel a little silly having such an empty forlorn looking bucket, but then I remember Christmas is always just around the corner…
There was no chance of us getting rid of the great pull out couch, his “baby sister” doll and blanket. Likewise with books and the things above the bookshelf. NO books were gotten rid of – because well his parents are book fiends.
Like we’d probably be shot if they went missing. His prized possessions to be sure.
The bottom line for me, and the part that makes this a Love Thursday is that I want my son to LOVE the things he has and in turn, take marginally good care of them. When we moved we got rid of so much of our own clutter (maybe not enough, but a LOT) and our main method for selection was, “Do we HONESTLY love this thing?” We were brutal but it was worth it. It was liberating. And MM has been happy as a clam today, playing with the toys which remained – not even a second thought seemingly going to things which are gone. At some point we may donate a bunch of the stuff downstairs – and if he asks for it and we are feeling nice we may bring some things back up. But honestly, I think he still has plenty and it’s all stuff we all love.
Love Thursday is the brain child of Chookooloonks. Check out her post today for more thoughts on love, and the comments section for other people playing along.
5 responses to “Love Thursday: The Things We Keep”
We do find that taking away something special works, a lot more than time-outs do.
Toby refused to put away his nice tractor, after I asked him several times. I even told him it would be going away if he didn’t, he said fine. So, I did. And he learned! I had a sign that had a picture of Toby, a “no” sign, and a picture of the tractor. He kept telling me it was because he didn’t put it away. It hasn’t happened since.
However, this post inspired me to “clean house” and get rid of the stuff he doesn’t play with. I used to rotate toys…now the unused toys take up space in my attic. Some time I’ll get rid of it all!
I remember one day my husband coming home from work to an empty toy room. He thought I had lost my mind. (He may have been right.) I had just reached the end of my rope with the clutter. I definitely recommend the bin system. We bought 4-5 clear bins and divided all their toys out into each bin. We only kept one bin down at a time. So most of the toys were away, but it made them way more exciting when we rotated them back in every couple of weeks.
Your toy room looks so great!! Good for you for teaching your son this very important lesson at such a young age.
I did that when my son was about the same age. It did make a huge difference to us as well. I also found that taking a favorite video (yep, pre-dvd’s) & putting it on the freezer where he could still see it but not get it, ie “time out” worked amazingly well too.
We also did the switcheroo. Wonderful plan.
[…] considered. His playroom is actually still clean for the most part – I’m thinking my toy purge was a very, very good […]
You may even switch toys out, once he grows tired of the ones he plays with now, switch them out with the others and rotate it that way.
I also probably will do another toy purge soon. As long as you don’t take the wii and computer away, these boys rarely actually play with toys. Games and books a different story though.