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How do you handle toy overload?

HELP! My 2-year-old has more toys than 5 kids need. (Thanks to 4 sets of overindulgent grandparents.) He actually plays with all of them and he seems to remember every toy that has ever passed through his chubby fingers. I need to do a major clean-out before Christmas (he's only getting a couple toys from Santa, but I can't make promises about limits from my inlaws), but I'm not sure of the best way to go about it. Do I let him help or do it when he's asleep? And how do I choose what goes? His 2 favorite phrases are "That's my favorite" and "I love _____," so it's hard to know what he's really interested in and what he's just saying that about. How do you handle toy pruning?


Asked by AaronsMommy1015 at 10:32 AM on Dec. 17, 2008 in Toddlers (1-2)

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Answers (14)
  • He is way too young to understand sharing with less fortunate kids or that Santa will be bringing him replacements. To him, all toys are his. End of story. Yes, he will need to learn these lessons in the years to come but this is not the age to do it. You need to wait until he is 3, maybe even 4. If you try it this year, he will have a major meltdown and may very well associatae Santa with someone taking his toys.

    While he is asleep, go through and pull out everything you don't remember him playing with in the last week. Put it in a bag and put it away. If he asks "Where is ____" and gets upset that it is missine, tell him you'll look for it and give it back to him when he isn't looking. Do NOT let him see the big bag of stolen toys. Because that's what they are to him - stolen.

    Answer by kaycee14 at 12:13 PM on Dec. 17, 2008

  • does he have any that he plays with more? you can do it when hes asleep or tell him he will be getting new ones from santa so you have to get rid of some of the old ones he can help but it makes it worse good luck

    Answer by wendy232425 at 10:40 AM on Dec. 17, 2008

  • I agree to do it while he's sleeping...pack it all up and send it to the first pregnant friend:)

    Answer by micrespo at 10:44 AM on Dec. 17, 2008

  • A couple of solutions for you to ponder. First you can tell him that there are children in the world that Santa needs help in bringing them toys. He can be Santa's helper and help pick out toys from his collection to give to needy children. Then you can give the toys to a charity of your choice. I've also put toys into a large storage bin and swapped them out with other toys every 6 months or so. It's like Christmas all over again! Lastly, you can keep some of the new Christmas toys hidden and distribute them through the year as rewards when he does something good. I've used all three solutions and they work great. Good luck!!

    Answer by mom_2byz at 10:57 AM on Dec. 17, 2008

  • I go through the kids room once or twice a year. I tell them it's time to get rid of some toys. So we donate them. I have them pick out the toys that they don't play with any more and tell them that we are going to give them to kids that don't have many toys. They usually do pretty well with picking some out. Then I do the rest while they are away. We also throw out any and all broken toys. I think that giving them a chance to pick out some of their toys is a wonderful learning experience for them. Even if they only pick out one or two!

    Answer by 01buckler15 at 11:06 AM on Dec. 17, 2008

  • I agree with the last poster. Let him be involved in the process. Tell him that there are kids who don't have any toys, etc. A good rule of thumb for when you feel like you've reached your toy threshold is to have him pick one toy to get rid of/donate for every new toy that he gets. If you start that practice now, your house should stay manageable.

    Answer by Kimebs at 11:07 AM on Dec. 17, 2008

  • I was going to say exactly what the last two posters said. It would be a good lesson for him to give to others less fortunate, even if he doesn't fully understand it now, if you make it a tradition in your family that ever christmas your kids give some of their old toys before they get new ones I think you'll be raising some generous kids. Maybe make it into a game at first, like get a big santa bag and have your sone put some toys in it for santa to bring to other kids? i don't know haha. I also do what another poster said and rotate toys, I put half of his toys in plastic bins and store them and every so often I rotate the bins. Then there aren't so many toys out at once and its like he's getting new toys every rotation!

    Answer by Aimee139 at 11:30 AM on Dec. 17, 2008

  • i just did this with my three year old. Make him involved with the cleaning out. What i did was i threw away everything that did not work anymore, was broken, or missing pieces. I got rid of about half his toys (he still as alot and they are in storage). But my son kept throwing everything in the bags it was kinda funny but then it kinda comes as his idea so he was not so upset when i threw them away.

    Answer by saysha100687 at 11:32 AM on Dec. 17, 2008

  • As for the toy overloading in-laws.... I told mine that I have opened each of our boys a savings account , they send them each cards with money and then I take the boys to the bank and let them give it to the teller. It teaches them about saving money and then I'm not overloaded with toys...I told our boys that their money is growing at the bank, and everytime they put some in it,it gets bigger and bigger, they think it's cool.

    Answer by cheryl4martin at 11:54 AM on Dec. 17, 2008

  • As for the grandparent's, see if you can get them to limit themselves to one toy and/or a contribution to a college savings account for him. If you make it clear that you are limiting his toys and tell them that extra toys will be given away to homeless shelters they may shape up. But you have to make it clear that you will consider only the toy - not the giver - when decideing which toys to give away.

    Answer by kaycee14 at 12:13 PM on Dec. 17, 2008