“No more toys, please!”

No more toysEven before motherhood, I had but one rule for myself: Don’t overdo it with toys. We had a small apartment at the time and were doing the it-looks-sparse-because-we’re-broke look, so this rule had clutter and financial implications.

But then I had my first daughter and with being “properly” educated in how to “properly schedule a baby’s time,” I bought a few educational toys to fill my newborn’s 15 minute activity window. It was insane, but at the time, I promise it made sense. So, I bought those toys, those rattles and geometric designed books and would “whip” them out whenever she seemed “bored.”

I continued buying toys when I became a work from home mom and again when I  quit my job because in theory, my children needed them. Or, that’s what I told myself. I hardly ever paid full price for any of my toys. In fact, many of them were gifts, given for birthdays or by kind hearted neighbors who were hoping to do a little spring cleaning.

People love giving away toys because other than clothes, they are relatively inexpensive and do provoke “oohhs and ahhhs” by the receiver, if only for a few days. They also are, I’ve learned, hard to re-sell!

But, I’ve come to realize, that in our house, we don’t really need any new toys.

I mean, there are some items, like a toy kitchen or play vacuum, that I would like to provide for my children in the near future, but only I know what those items are. So, for now, I’ve come up with one steadfast rule about my girls and birthdays. Please, no toys!” I say to family and friends. Then I add the caveat that unless you can get any items from this list, then no more toys. I kind of feel horrible for doing this, but after cleaning through our basement and garage, I think, at least for now, it’s the best way forward.

So, no toys, please!

How do you ensure that your home doesn’t become overrun with toys?

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Jessica lives in the Washington, DC metropolitan area with her husband and two girls. Once upon a time, pre-motherhood, she did many things as a “serious-looking” woman who managed to successfully balance a reality TV addiction with a career and academic pursuits. She's now a serious-acting woman whose primary job is raising her children. She writes, reads, fantasizes about minivans, and takes midday naps. She enjoys (among many other things) dancing to 80s music, photography, laughing out loud (at, usually, inappropriate moments), and writing about writing, being a writer, and becoming fearless on her blog Jessica F. Hinton

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