There is a chance I might throw away (or recycle, or donate, or regift) a gift you gave to my child.
And I’m really, really sorry about that.
I know that you spent a lot of time and put a lot of thought into the gift. All of that is very much felt and appreciated, and not any less if we don’t keep the gift! Your love means the world to us. Obviously gifts are completely voluntary and we don’t expect or need you to give us anything!It’s just that our house is a finite space, children still thrive with small amounts of toys, and we as parents need to keep our sanity. For these three reasons, there is a chance that I may have moved one of your gifts out of the house during the process of decluttering.
Here are the main reasons why I ended up donating, recycling, or throwing toys out of the house:
1) It doesn’t repeat well
While I don’t mind duplicates of duplo sets, we don’t need three copies of Cars 2. Some toys repeat well, some don’t. You get the point!
2) It’s poor quality
If the toy breaks, I’m going to get rid of it. Sorry. And if it looks like it won’t last long, I’ll preemptively donate it. (On the flip side, if it’s well made, I might be able to fix it if it were to break.)
3) It makes noise
Ok. This plays into the “parents need to keep their sanity” line. There are a lot of well-meaning people out there who pressed each button on a toy once in the store, thought it was cute, and gifted it to a child. But imagine hearing it – on repeat – for hours on end. We’ve kept some noisy toys, but honestly? They don’t make good gifts, and they don’t stay long in this house!
4) It doesn’t do much for them developmentally
A lot of these toys are also the noisemakers – if the only skill it teaches is how to press a button, it’s getting passed on. It’s not a hard thing to pick up and they can learn that easily down the road. I’d rather they work on developing more complex skills.
5) It has a million pieces
Unless you’re also gifting a maid service, I tend to get rid of these toys. They usually bring more pain than joy. I make exceptions for things like duplos, puzzles, and certain kinds of blocks, but I still limit these based on space (and how good my kids are at cleaning them up).
6) It’s really large
Adults need to live in the house, too. And we like to have room for things like furniture – you know, those lovely comfy things called couches? If it doesn’t fit in a shopping bag, you really should ask before you buy it. We might love it!! But please ask. We might not have the space to keep it.
7) It’s a choking hazard
“I didn’t happen to notice an obnoxious choking hazard note” is not the same as “I read the entire package and made sure it was age appropriate”. I’ve had to hide toys in the closet because I just wasn’t sure about them, and wasn’t given the original packaging to double check on behalf of the gifter.
8) My children don’t show any interest
Unfortunately, this happens. It also happens with the toys that I buy as a parent, knowing very well my child’s likes and dislikes. It happens even when my child loves it in the store, or at his friend’s house, or at the children’s museum, etc. Usually I can put it in the closet for a few months and interest will return, but if it doesn’t, the toy will be donated so it can go to a home where it receives plenty of love.
9) It causes behavioral issues/is a source of frustration
Like #8, this is oftentimes unpredictable. But it happens. I’ll try putting it in the closet and bringing it back out another time, but if it always ends up causing issues, it’s going to the donation center. There’s no sense in taking up closet space with a toy they can’t use.
10) For whatever reason, we’ve moved on
Perhaps a it’s a toy that was loved very much at first, and has been played out, so to speak. Perhaps it was developmentally meant for an infant, and the toddlers just aren’t challenged by it. Or perhaps it takes a lot of effort on Mom’s part, and I’m tired of playing with it! (Bubbles anyone??)