I love shopping for my babies and I and so so guilty of overspending on things they have absolutely no interest in. They own one a series……… They must own the whole set I tell myself. They take a momentary interest in something……. I must find everything on the planet according to that theme and buy it! I was always at my worst during the holiday or birthday seasons. Couple my bad spending habits with the many gifts they get every year from relatives or friends and it makes me sick to think of all that money that has been spent on toys and items that were forgotten by the end of January and usually donated by summer.
And the clean up struggle………… No matter how many fancy baskets, toy boxes or organization systems we have owned over the years the toys always ended up dumped on the floor so the boys could find their one favorite toy. Then there would be yelling, tears, and frustration from everyone because clean up time was such a nightmare! Playtime began to turn into a chore, instead of a fun imaginative time we could spend together.
A little over a year ago my husband and I decided something had to change. So we sat down with our boys and gave our boys full permission to throw away anything that was broken and donate all toys they simply did not want. We did not question their choices, truly the hardest part for me, and they knew full well that if a toy went in donate box they would not be getting it back. The result? One trash bag and four large boxes of toys/stuffed animals were gotten rid of that day, and only one small basket of toys remained. In the end, they were relieved to be free from all that clutter and have their play space back. Now clean up time, for the most part as they are only 6 & 7, is a tear and yell free time.
So what have we done to avoid the toys piling back up and starting the cycle of chaos all over again? A want, a need, a wear, a read. They get one thing from each of these categories, and if a gift idea does not fall within these guidelines then we do not make the purchase! We let any extra spoils come from the Grandparents, family, and friends. Now I am not saying we only ever buy our kids four gifts and we never buy them spoils. But we are very careful about not giving in to their every request or temporary interest. Since implementing these four guidelines when shopping for their gifts we have found that not only do they appreciate and enjoy their gifts a lot more, but we save a lot more! We are no longer throwing our money away on anything and everything we think our boys might want.