Now is a good time…

If your kids got a bunch of stuff (or will be getting stuff for the next few days), now is the perfect time to get rid of a bunch of stuff too.

If your kids are like mine and actually notice when something is gone (and get upset about its disappearance), it can be hard to get rid of their play things. Gift giving occasions can also be opportunities to purge, because kids are distracted by all their new stuff, and are less likely to realize that something older isn’t around.

My son just got a set of Hot.Wheel cars, so I went through his box of vehicles and removed twice as many as the new set had. Last week I emptied my son’s board book box so I could store the art supplies in there, and use the old art box to store the new Mag.former sets they got. I also donated my daughter’s puzzles so she has space for the new fashion designer set she loves.

I am also “storing some new toys for later.” I put that in quotation marks because I suspect those Christmas presents will eventually be given as birthday presents. With the amount of stuff their grandparents gave them, I doubt my kids will even miss these things. Hopefully the grandparents will eventually forget about them as well. (I’ll keep them around for a while in case someone asks after them.)

Finally, it was requested that the grandparents themselves house some of the bigger presents. The crazy Thomas jump set that takes up half a room is DEFINITELY staying at my parents’ house, and a bucket of Dup.los is staying at my in-laws.

My kids got a lot of stuff today–they are very lucky. I appreciate how much their grandparents love them and understand that showering them with gifts is one way they show their love. I also refuse to be held hostage by my kids’ things. We live in 12,000 square feet and I am organizationally challenged; we cannot have an excess of toys. There is sure to be more purging in the next weeks, as we struggle to accommodate all the new stuff. I will definitely have my kids make some of their own choices about what to let go of; they know that when new things come in, old stuff must also go out. I will also model my efforts to jettison the items I no longer need, as I make room for what I was given (which thankfully were only things I asked for because I actually needed them).

How are you feeling about all the new stuff that came, or is coming, into your house this holiday season? Do you make an effort to get rid of old stuff as you accommodate the new?


  1. I am so frustrated with the amount of stuff in our house, lately I just want to burn the whole thing down and start over. Yesterday I went through the house and filled 3 garbage bags with stuff to throw away. I’m hoping to do more today, maybe clothes to donate. But seriously, 3 garbage bags makes no noticeable difference in the house. There’s so much more to do!

    1. I feel you. I really do. I have been bagging stuff to get rid off since Thanksgiving, in anticipation of the holidays and it still feels so overwhelming. I have four days off work the week after New Years when my kids are back at school. I hope to get some good purging done then too.

  2. I am feeling so overwhelmed by the amount of toys my kids got from their grandmother (and we haven’t even had Christmas with my parents yet). It’s so excessive and too much. I’ll definitely be purging and saving some of these gifts for later.

    1. I have been working on both sets of grandparents for a few years now, and the amount of gifts is better, but it’s still way more than I’d like. I just try hard to get rid of old stuff as new stuff comes in, and also try to keep some of the new stuff from ever entering circulation. I wish we could get grandparents to embrace the “less is more” mindset. It’s such a challenge.

      1. This year my MIL followed the rules we gave her… 3 gifts for each kids, no clothes, no stuff animals…. we forgot one “detail” to tell her that these rules applied to my husband and I too….

  3. I love my MIL and I love her relationship with my son but the gifts are out of control. I think gifts is part of her love language so I haven’t said anything. But over the past year she has bought him about 15 stuffed Disney characters and multiple crappy Disney books and claims that he just loves Disney but doesn’t seem to get that she is feeding him Disney!!! She got him a few big birthday gifts and then two weeks later more stuffed characters because she couldn’t wait for Hanukkah. At that point, even my husband, who is also into gifts, thought this was too much. (It also then becomes our responsibility to keep track of his collection). She claimed that her Hanukkah gift was just a token but it was stickers, a book, and a puzzle. To me, a token gift is a slinky or some crayons. It’s sweet but I’m hoping she will curb it. We also took some of his birthday gifts and hid them for Hanukkah (and well, his friends birthdays).

    1. Oh man, stuffies! Those take up so much space. And most donation places won’t take them. I have worked so hard to stem the flow of stuffies into our house. This year they didn’t get one stuffie for Christmas! Yay! It definitely sounds like your husband is going to have to talk to your MIL about the gift giving. I think it will have to be an ongoing conversation. Good luck!

  4. What a wonderful purging reminder. I send you all good luck wishes on that. Really also like the ‘hold til later idea’ and ‘regift for bday parties’ ideas.
    No ideas for controlling grandparents beyond what you suggest of having large items and some excess remain at grand’s houses for playing with while there. I have ALWAYS had my short shopping for holidays and days lists vetted in advance by my children … who sometimes find that a nuisance but both families also understand my desire to not swamp homes or children. Have you asked the grands about where in your house they think these things could fit? Though they might be oblivious even then and suggest netting on the ceiling for stuffed toys. HORRORS!
    I remember when one friend used a L**e infestation to remove 100% of stuffed toys to black garbage bags in garage to …. wait out the hatching opportunities … and gradually then the items would be in bottom of garbage bins with garbage hiding them on top when No item was ever asked for again.
    Happy vacation with children in school and you not next week!
    May the new year bring unexpected joys and only happy surprises….

  5. NOTE: I HAVE LOOKED AT 3 cuisinart chopping blades. They ALL were riveted. One looked ok right now. One was cracked in two places near the rivets. One had the chips on the blade you can see in the Cuisinart ‘reason to recall’ pictures.
    PLEASE: AT ONCE, if you have a Cuisinart, go to RECALL CUISINART on your internet, by phone or computer, and get replacements Before there is a nasty accident in your home.
    AND PLEASE share this to everyone you love or care about.

  6. We do OK with relatives. My children have just one grandparent left, and she only sends a small gift card to each. Only one other person in our family gives them gifts, and that person was out of control, but I had to put my foot down and basically now that person will purchase one or two items from the list I preapproved. Long story but it goes further than just buying too much for the kids in that situation.

    But what we did have a problem with this year was birthday gifts. Both my kids have birthdays close to Christmas, and we did a joint party this year. A lot of kids came and they bought a lot of presents for our kids. I’ve done the no gift thing before, but at the stage my kids are at it wouldn’t have gone over well (in retrospect I still should’ve done it). Some of the kids attending the party are friends with both my kids through preschool or other things, but some kids that came only knew one of them; however some of these children still brought gifts for both kids which was unfortunate. I was worried about this, that I didn’t think there was any polite way to say hey only bring one gift, because that presumes they’re bringing a gift at all which I think is rude. One mom of a kid that only knew my older daughter emailed me and asked what my kids like and that was an opportunity to say oh if you choose to bring a gift please bring one only for the child you know. But most people didn’t email me with that question. So ugh, way too many presents this year for the kids. We even got a duplicate of a Lego set we have already have, and I was planning to donate it to one of those toys for tots things, but before I got a chance my kids opened it. Another gift involving ink stamps I was planning to send also, but again the kids were quicker than I was.

    Another issue is that people seem to spend a lot of money on kid’s birthdays – – more than I generally do, unless it’s a child we know real well and both my kids are attending or something. I felt kind of guilty at what I presume people spent – – yikes.

  7. One more thing. It’s amazing to me that when people say no gifts, lots of people still bring gifts. We went to one party where the invite said no gifts necessary, which I thought was a clear message: don’t bring any gifts. Then we were horrified to get there and see that like 90% of the attendees brought a gift – – it was a table full of gifts. To make it worse, we got a thank you note that said something generic like thank you for the thoughtful gift.

  8. My hoarder daughter WILLINGLY got rid of a garbage bag worth of junk, and made two small donation bags today! Progress!! I’m so proud of her!! I’m an if it doesn’t have a home it has to go type of person and today I introduced her to the container rule. No matter how much stuff you accumulate when your storage stays same things have to be let go. She did well and I’m hoping she will actually play with what she kept. We’ve had similar rules before, when she received a giant Minnie stuffy and it was kept at my in laws (who gave it to her). I don’t have room for that.

  9. We have had luck asking for memberships to things and promises to take them to the membership place a certain number of times. Both girls got a trip to le.goland for birthdays last year from one set of grands and it was glorious. This year the girls got a bare minimum of gifts for the winter holiday (6 each from the whole family) and we have a one-in-one-out rule that they seem all right with. Purge day is Saturday. I plan to get rid of twice as many things as they do and hopefully it helps. I think it’s miraculous that our persistence about fewer things as gifts has worked but it has, so it’s worth continuing the fight. I think for birthdays this year we will ask for donations to something so no toys are to be kept, all will go somewhere (maybe a children’s hospital or something). I’m going to involve the girls in selecting the charity.

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