When you have children, toys take over the house…and the garden.
Every few months I think, it’s time to declutter, especially when N only ever plays with the same toys. But it doesn’t happen often enough as more and more toys, paper and pens get strewn across the house.
A couple of summers ago, I did do quite a major clear out of N’s toys though. Apart from books and craft/art supplies, I didn’t see the point in keeping lots of different toys that he never played with, so with a bit of input from him, we got rid of the majority of his toys.
The toys that I recommend keeping hold of are noticeable in that if you go to a nearly new sale hoping to buy them, you may never see any come up for sale. That’s because they’re put up in the roof after finishing with, to pass on to children and grandchildren.
They’re also the toys that last – they tend to be chunkier and better made than the plastic of today. And they’re mostly the toys that parents used to enjoy when they were kids.
When I de-cluttered it was to retain the toys that N still played with, but once he’s too old for them, they’re also the ones that will be stored away in future for any children he has. Several toys he has now are toys that were handed down from those my brother and I had as children (my brother’s old Duplo – which then went to my godson after N, Lego and Britains farm toys from my brother, and even my old My Little Ponies, Care Bears and school and horse books have been passed on to a friend’s daughter or my god-daughter).
Here’s the toys you should always keep hold of
Toys to keep for the future
Enough said really. The only problem is that you’ll need a lot of storage, and everything will get mixed up. N has mine and my brother’s old Lego (including some of our dad’s) which is all still stored by colour in ice cream tubs. The only probably is all the new Lego he keeps getting bought it getting mixed up.
Wooden railway sets
These last forever, and kids really enjoy them. They’ll last through the years and can be added to. I think it’s the variety that keeps railways as exciting toys through the generations.
Good quality vehicle sets
Whichever your child likes. For us it’s Britains farm toys, and N has everything that my brother collected over the years. I think my brother is a bit gutted he gave it to N so early on, because before it came to us everything was immaculate. Now everything’s largely put into one big box, and there’s little bits which have fallen off through play. But given N still likes playing with the farm toys that were his Gramps’ which are sellotaped together and missing large important pieces, it doesn’t make much difference.
Special books that don’t date
For example any lovely special edition books, or books from your childhood that you’ve passed down to your child. For me it was Each Peach Pear Plum but unfortunately it got lost at nursery never to return. My St Clare’s, Trebizon and Jill’s Gymkhana books all went to my god-daughter which she loved. But my Sadlers Wells series and other dancing stories, I’ve kept hold of because I don’t know anyone who’d value them like I did.
If you have classic games that don’t date, like Cluedo, Hotel, Monopoly etc, then save them. The modern versions are often not as good quality, and if the game is in good condition then keep them.
Prams or pushchairs
N loved my old toy pushchair from the early 80s. He used to sit in it himself and push around his tractors and teddy in it.
Add to the above some basic art supplies, general books and outdoor toys, and N would be quite happy. I’m hoping I can declutter of all the tat we’ve collected from parties and various other toys that are just wasting space.
Do you de-clutter toys? What have you kept for the future?