31 Days: Toys

If you walked into our basement home, you might not know right away that I'm kind of a clean freak. Our space doesn't look that organized, at least by my standards. But let me just say that it's tricky to keep things clean and orderly when you live in a basement. Most things have a place. We have storage. But it's not your standard way of storing stuff (i.e. attic, under beds, hall closet/hot water heater closet, pantry under the stairs, linen rack for a coat closet... you get the idea). All that to say, I don't have the mental capacity to deal with toys taking over my home. Even though it feels like they do at times. But that might just be the clean freak in me.

I've only been a mom for two and a half years. One child of mine plays with toys, the other just drools and chews on them for now. So I think we're only at the very beginning when it comes to the toy battle. Mamas know what I mean. Everyone thinks your child needs a new toy whenever Christmas or birthdays roll around. What is that about? With Amelia turning three in February, I've been thinking about this a lot.

the aftermath of Amelia's 2nd birthday

Our girls don't have a ton of toys. Earlier this week, I shared about our fun shelf. In the same play area as this shelf, we have some wooden building blocks and a chalk board. On the other side of that area is this collection of goodies.

go play, little ones!

On the first two shelves, we have a container for all of the play food and dishes. There's also a tea set and picnic basket. Along with those items, there's an alphabet floor puzzle and baby doll stuff. Lastly, the girls have two little play buses (a Minnie pet shop and a Leap Frog alphabet bus). Obviously, there's bigger toys like the play kitchen, a baby stroller, and a car seat.

In our actual living room area, where we have the television, we have another small shelf that houses the last of the toys.

you bet I left the legos out instead of cleaning
up before the photo. keepin' it real, people.

Clearly, we have Legos. That's one of Amelia's new favorite toys. I mentioned in the fun shelf post that Amelia loves puzzle. And I mention it again. See what I mean? If you can see beyond the pile, there is a shelf that has more puzzles, some random fine motor skill projects for Amelia, Minnie dress up accessories, and a container of all the baby toys {rattles, rings, and small stuffed animals}. Besides those shelves, we have books. Lots of books. Because, if you read a couple days ago, I mentioned that Amelia is a book worm. But I don't think you could ever have too many books. We keep those in Amelia's bedroom and one basket in the living room. 

no worries, it only looks likes this once every two months.
no joke. amelia prefers her books all over the floor.
in fact, she yelled quite sadly, "mama!! you cleaned up ALL
my books!!" upon seeing her shelves full. :)

So back to this talk about excess toys. Those are the toys we have. All of them. There's no rotation schedule for toys. I might switch the shelves around here and there so they look different. I don't have more toys in another room that I pull out to make playing more fun and exciting for Amelia. Plus, we can't afford to buy her cool, new toys all the time. Way too often, all these facts weigh me down. I find myself getting worried that we don't have enough variety of toys and my children will suffer! Dramatic, I know. 

I'm here to tell myself, and you if this is your same struggle, to STOP IT! I've slowly come to the realization that Amelia is not bored with what we have. She has found new ways to play with many of these toys that she's had for a year or more. I love watching her imagination come to life in those moments! Now that Elsie is starting to play, Amelia will play with her and "show" her how to do things. It's wonderful and fun.

I like how fairly contained our toy collection is. Of course, relatives don't always remember that less is more. So for Amelia's second birthday, if family asked, "What would Amelia like for a gift?" I told them that puzzles and craft supplies were a great idea. Nearly eight months later, we are still pulling out craft supplies that I had put away while she got a little older. With Amelia's third birthday coming, I plan to do the same thing. For Elsie's first birthday, we're thinking we will ask for books instead of toy gifts if people ask. We thought that was a good alternative since Elsie won't need much more than that what we already have. 

What are ways you keep your toy collection in control? What are some of your child's favorite toys? If you do have a toy rotation, I'm curious about how that works for you! 


  1. With our 4 month olds first Christmas coming up I convinced my family to just draw names for the kids gifts instead of everyone getting every kid a present. At first everyone was like "can't you afford it?" Which yes we could but we prefer not too and our child doesn't need that much stuff! We also want him to learn the real meaning of Christmas and *hopefully* not became too distracted by Santa and presents

    1. yes!! that's such a great idea. we draw names for adults in my husbands family. but i didn't think about for kids. :) we have done a "4 rule" for our little family : "1 thing you need, 1 thing you want, 1 thing you wear, and one thing you read". :)

  2. I had a small "boot" box that I wrapped in pretty wrapping paper and that was the toy box for Karyanna her first year. It held anything she might play with. After her birthday she ripped the paper off and I got a large wicker basket and told her that only toys that fit in there stayed in the house. Then I put everything in it and she LOVES going through it. It's always new to her. My goal is to keep it this way...forever! I think the most I'd do is one basket per child. And maybe an extra basket of dress up stuff. And yes, books are quite different! :)

    1. Wow! that's one way to control the toys! so what kinds of things does she have now?

    2. She's got a couple dolls (the girl LOVES dolls!), a wooden puzzle, one of those walking ball poppers, baby rings, Fisher Price Rock-A-Stack, (notice we tend to like "old-school" toys?), a Gymboree ball, a noise making lion that spits out big plastic balls (although she doesn't use it that way!), a TV remote we got her from Goodwill because she loves those too, and also a couple paper pom-poms and mason jar lids.

      Now that I think of it, she has a drawer in the kitchen too, but that one has kitchen tools in it (turkey baster, plastic corn trays, canning tools and cookie cutters) so it kinda doesn't count??

      My sister has a bonus room in her house with so. many. toys...I've watched her and her husband clean it, and clean it out, several times and I just don't want to have to deal with that. Karyanna gets lots of play time at her cousins and grandparents house, so she gets all the cool big toys over there (kitchen sets and what not).