Too many toys

My daughter is not yet three, but she has more toys now than I had over my entire childhood.

I didn’t have a deprived childhood either. I received great presents for birthdays and Christmas sure, but it was sensible. My parents didn’t go overboard.

Looking back, I had an awesome Barbie collection, a Cabbage Patch doll and a Care Bear. Toys would be reserved for birthdays and Christmas only. There would be no impulse buying or toys given as rewards for good behaviour.

Curly-locks, over her short life has so far accumulated so many toys that I don’t know where to put them. We have an overflowing toy cupboard, toys in her bedroom, toys in the lounge room and toys in the rumpus room. They are everywhere. I wouldn’t be surprised if people mistook our house for a toy store.

Up until last weekend, I didn’t recognise we had a problem. I just kept buying more. Buying for the sake of buying.

When the toy sale catalogues hit the mailbox, I made a fist pump in the air, said ‘yes!’ and conscientiously sat down to highlight my impending purchases.

After I finished studying the catalogues, I approached Dave with my top picks.

‘So yeah, I thought we’d get her Ballet Star Dora, the Little People Princesses, the chalkboard, the Minnie Mouse Bow-tique …,’ I started.

Dave cut me short, ‘No, kid. We have too much shit already. She’s got enough. We need to get her outdoors. We’ll get her the chalkboard and a veggie patch. That’s it’.

‘And is it just me, or is Dora starting to look more and more like a Kardashian?’ Dave joked lightening the mood.

I knew Dave was right though, not about Dora, about the amount of toys we have.

It would seem I have an unexplained compulsion to spend up big when it comes to toys. I just cannot buy enough. Yes, Curly-locks needs another Dora doll, she only already has 40 of them. Yes, we need a $100 pirate ship. It has a canon that squirts water. Yes, she needs another Lalaloopsy doll to add to her collection. Yes, yes, and yes. I want it all.

When I was a kid, my parents never spoiled me like we (and they) now spoil Curly-locks.

Why are things so different now?

The cost of toys is definitely a contributor. Believe me, we certainly aren’t rolling in cash, but I always manage to find a few coins to buy a special treat for Curly-locks when we go shopping. Over last week, I bought three Hello Kitty toys out of a vending machine to reward Curly-locks for her good behaviour. They were only $2 each, but it all adds up. I don’t even want to think about the cost of rewarding her good behaviour with a toy either.

Buy me!

Buy me!

Marketing is also to blame. The amount of educational toys I have bought because I thought my daughter needed this, that and the other to help her grow into a child genius. We have three interactive computer type toys in the toy cupboard that rarely see the light of day. We would have been better off spending time with our daughter teaching her ourselves than spending money on these toys.

Oh, and don’t get me started on the marketing of Dora. Dora the Explorer, bless her heart, such a talented little girl. She’s an explorer, a ballerina, a gymnast, a princess, a big sister, a mermaid – the list goes on. Every time I see a new one, I want to add it to my Curly-locks’ collection.

For some, me included, it is a case of keeping up with the Joneses. We see the collections of toys our friends with kids have and we want the same for ours.

In this household though, it’s time to cut back. It is definitely going to be hard to curb my toy buying compulsion, but I need to for the sake of my kids and my wallet!

I shopped as sensibly as I could in the toy sales and have made a pledge to focus Curly-locks’ activities more on make believe and the great outdoors.

Does your house look like the inside of a toy store? Do you have a toy addiction like me? Why do you think kids these days have more toys than we ever did?

31 comments on Too many toys

  1. Grace
    July 4, 2013 at 2:32 pm (4 years ago)

    Oh, I know what you mean!!! The toys just keep piling up in this house! And because we buy 2 of everything for the twins…yes, you can imagine there’s a stack of junk!
    We’re done at the toy sales…we got a couple of big ticket items that the boys can play together with but that’s it! No more!

    Reply
  2. mummywifeme
    mummywifeme
    July 4, 2013 at 2:37 pm (4 years ago)

    Lol. God yeah, I can imagine how much stuff you would have with twins. We almost need a bigger house with all of our stuff πŸ™‚

    Reply
  3. Janet @ Redland City Living
    July 4, 2013 at 9:56 pm (4 years ago)

    By the time my kids were 10, each Christmas I seriously felt bad buying them toys because they had so many and really didn’t need any more! But then I felt bad if I didn’t buy them toys for birthdays and Christmas – I couldn’t win!

    At least now they are older the stuff we give them is mostly practical – but we still spoil them …

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      July 5, 2013 at 6:14 am (4 years ago)

      I feel the same way, Janet. Especially with the new bub. We already have all the toys that we would ordinarily buy her, but then I don’t want her to miss out! Thanks for dropping in πŸ™‚

      Reply
  4. Martine@themodernparent
    July 5, 2013 at 8:17 am (4 years ago)

    I must say sometimes this is inevitable when you have large families and lots of parties etc but with my 2 younger boys now I am much smarter at shopping than I was for the 3 older ones. I now look back at the enormous amounts of money wasted by stuff they just didn’t really care about or did only for only a day. I just buy a couple of things I now will last now and more outdoor toys. They certainly don’t miss out as they have friends and family to buy the other stuff. A word of advice, don’t get into the habit of buying them things every time you go shopping…..the toys get more expensive the older they get!

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      July 5, 2013 at 1:50 pm (4 years ago)

      Yeah I bet! I had luck on my side yesterday. When we went to do the groceries the Hello Kitty machine had been taken away. Thank Jesus for helping me lolz.

      Reply
  5. Ai Sakura
    July 5, 2013 at 8:56 am (4 years ago)

    I used to go crazy buying toys for her too but now I try to buy only when she has shown prolonged interest at it in the stores like always going back to find it even after a few visits. Those HK mini dolls are cute though. I would want them too! :p

    Ai @ Sakura Haruka

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      July 5, 2013 at 1:51 pm (4 years ago)

      Yeah I know. Super addictive πŸ™‚ That’s a good idea to only buy something if they show interest over a long period of time πŸ™‚

      Reply
  6. Leanne Winter
    July 5, 2013 at 9:30 am (4 years ago)

    My mother is always shaking her head at the amount of stuff my boys head and saying it’s like a toy shop. Now that they’re a bit older and can make an informed decision (well sort of) about which toys they really love, I do a twice yearly toy cull – off to lifeline if untouched in 6 months or in the garbage if broken. And if they nag enough to get a new toy mid year I make them choose one they already have to go to lifeline to make room the new one. Works ok for us.

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      July 5, 2013 at 1:51 pm (4 years ago)

      Ooh that is a great idea, Leanne. I am definitely going to do that! Thanks.

      Reply
  7. Lisa@Circle of Toast
    July 5, 2013 at 11:07 am (4 years ago)

    Yes, I can definitely relate to this – it’s not so bad now that our kids are a bit older, but when they were little our house resembled a Toys R Us store. I made a ppoint of having frequent ‘chuck-outs’, either throw out stuff that was broken or damaged, and we’d also often do trips to the Salvos with bags of stuff that was still good, but that they just didn’t play with. One time we did a garage sale, the kids absolutely loved getting money for their old toys πŸ™‚

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      July 5, 2013 at 1:53 pm (4 years ago)

      Glad to hear I’m not the only one πŸ™‚ A garage sale is a brilliant idea. I think we’ll be needing to have one of those in the future.

      Reply
  8. Kirsty @ My Home Truths
    July 5, 2013 at 6:53 pm (4 years ago)

    We are about to do a huge cull of the toys my kids have – it is rather ridiculous. I have refused to go to the toy sales this year and we’ll be looking at alternative gifts for the kiddos at xmas – they could definitely do with more outdoor items rather than just toys for toys sake!

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      July 5, 2013 at 8:38 pm (4 years ago)

      It sure is an easy trap to fall into. I can’t wait to do a toy cull too!

      Reply
  9. Robomum
    July 5, 2013 at 9:04 pm (4 years ago)

    Bravo Dave! I totally agree. I think my kids have way too much stuff as well. They actually have even more stuff that is not even open yet. I’m completely over the clutter and I have spent a small fortune trying to store huge, expensive toys.
    I clearly remember a time when we’d go to people’s houses and 4 heads would be crammed around a single Donkey Kong which would then be SHARED pretty fairly. Or someone would bring a ball to kick around.
    I feel like my kids are being told how to think and what to like. Their creativity is being stifled.
    Sorry for the looong comment. This is a great post.

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      July 5, 2013 at 9:47 pm (4 years ago)

      I love long comments Robomum. Thanks for visiting. Hell yeah, I remember the Donkey Kong days. I’ve been thinking today, it’s not only an overload of toys we have, it’s clothes too. We have clothes unworn with the tags on still in the cupboard. Such a disgrace! Seriously though, I fear their creativity is being stifled too! We really need to get them outdoors and playing make believe!

      Reply
  10. Lani
    July 5, 2013 at 10:58 pm (4 years ago)

    Wow. That’s a lot of toys. I’ve gone to the other extreme, I keep my three year old’s toys to the minimum. She has her stuffed toys, colouring ins, books and that’s about it. At birthdays we only open 2-3 gifts and keep the rest for another time or give them away.

    As a result she has the most wonderful imagination and is thrilled by the simplest things. Her favourite thing right now is a piece of ribbon, she takes it everywhere. Bless, it’s a beautiful age.

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      July 6, 2013 at 6:43 am (4 years ago)

      OMG! What a cutie! I am in awe, Lani. This is what I want for my kids. With Curly-locks b’day coming up, she will have just three presents to open up. I now just need to talk to the rest of the family and tell them to hold back too πŸ™‚

      Reply
  11. Emily @ Have a laugh on me
    July 6, 2013 at 9:21 am (4 years ago)

    You would not believe the crap we have around this place, I’m embarrassed to say it’s like a toy shop – however, in the past months we have had a ban on them. I’m in the process of selling them, the more they have they less they play with I reckon x

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      July 6, 2013 at 8:44 pm (4 years ago)

      Yeah that’s so true! I can’t wait to offload half of our stuff!

      Reply
  12. Annie
    July 6, 2013 at 11:10 am (4 years ago)

    I had 3 Barbie dolls growing up. My daughter has about 15 (which she never plays with), plus now, somehow, has accumulated 20 Monster High Dolls. Overwhelmed with choice, and accessibility, I truly don’t believe children appreciate what they have. Too much. And because of that, they might not really play with them for long periods of time, as there is always another toy to give a go! So I think it decreases their attention span a little……

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      July 6, 2013 at 8:49 pm (4 years ago)

      I think you’ve hit the nail on the head there, Annie. The choice really is overwhelming and so accessible. I’m certain my daughter doesn’t appreciate what she has. It all she knows. We go to the shops and she gets a toy. She thinks that’s normal. I really need to start to be a bit more sensible when it comes to toy buying.

      Reply
  13. Lisa Wood
    July 6, 2013 at 6:23 pm (4 years ago)

    We used to be the same – we had a Toy Cupboard that was over flowing with far too many toys!!
    Now that we do not have the space anymore we actually only buy what we can fit into our Motorhome, and have given away {or sold it} nearly all of our boys toys.
    I once heard Oprah Winfrey say that she would buy one thing, but get rid of two things at home so that she did not end up with too much stuff….I try to do that when buying clothes for our family!!!

    Reply
  14. Aleney
    July 6, 2013 at 9:42 pm (4 years ago)

    Our place is so small we’re getting lost under a mountain of toys. The worst thing is that they are all adored for about ten minutes each before it’s on to the next one and last week’s favourite becomes ignored. We’ve just instigated an earn it rule. They need to accumulate points for excellent behaviour before a new toy may enter the house… But first an old one has to leave! they can choose which and we donate it to charity or hand it down to friends. Only prob now is that I really want those Hello Kitty’s on your post so I guess I’ll have to start a rewards chart for myself. πŸ™‚

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      July 6, 2013 at 9:53 pm (4 years ago)

      Haha yes they are seriously mega cute. Good on you though Aleney. I love your new system. I’d like to implement something like that here.

      Reply
  15. Rachel
    July 6, 2013 at 10:51 pm (4 years ago)

    I always resisted the lure of the interactive/computer toys – I always suspected they would look good but wouldn’t actually see much action!

    Having three boys means we can get some economies of scale – my littlest is still playing with stuff the older boys passed on years ago. But we still have to have massive clean outs at least every three months or so to keep things manageable.

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      July 7, 2013 at 8:11 pm (4 years ago)

      Yes, I have two little girls so we can save a little there. I always worry about the littlest one missing out though πŸ™ A clean out every three months is great work. I will have to do that!

      Reply
  16. Valerie
    July 7, 2013 at 6:38 am (4 years ago)

    Hi, I found you on iVillage. πŸ™‚
    I went through the same thing (and basically the same conversation you had with your hubby) when our kids were 2 & 6. UGH, we had so many toys!! And so many of them never got played with (or rarely). I began the slow process of de-cluttering and let me tell you, it feels amazing!
    I still buy things, but they follow certain rules now, and gift-giving/receiving is no exception! Check out how to help well-meaning relatives with their gifts so everyone’s happy: http://atlantamomofthree.wordpress.com/2012/12/04/too-much-stuff-gifts/ I am so into living more simply now, that I wrote a four part series on Too Much Stuff! πŸ˜‰
    Great post.

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      July 7, 2013 at 8:13 pm (4 years ago)

      Oh good on you, Valerie!! I’m definitely going to check out that post. I really need some advice when it comes to generous relatives πŸ™‚

      Reply
  17. Naturally Carol
    July 13, 2013 at 12:03 pm (4 years ago)

    I have noticed that in my household my grown up daughter and my daughter in law both buy toys…for themselves. Even my grown up boys find it hard to resist toys. I have a feeling toys are hard to resist for grown ups ‘cos they are so cute and we love ’em…kids are a good excuse to buy them!

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      July 13, 2013 at 1:49 pm (4 years ago)

      Lol! That is so true! I am definitely guilty of that.

      Reply

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