Thoughts on Toys and Preparing for Christmas

November is the perfect time to clean up, clean out, and organize toys before Christmas. In my short time as a mother I have come to the conclusion that kids don't need a lot of toys, but a chosen, well loved few.

Last year, because I had a baby 4 days before Christmas I thought it was a genius idea to get a lot of new stuff for the kids to play with. I thought it would help me.

It turned out to be a total mess. The stuff we bought was not well made, it got left in the yard, or broken. The kids had no respect.

I will never buy a bunch of cheap crap like I did last year. Lesson learned.


The other day (in preparation for Christmas and because it just needed to be done) I took all the toys out of my kids' rooms and sorted, organized, and threw away the toys that have seen better days. I did this while they were at preschool.

They seem to play better when their toys are few and neat.

My Christmas plan this year is to follow the 4 gift rule I discovered on Pinterest the other day.

1 thing they want
1 thing they need
1 thing they wear
1 thing they read

Here's some more inspiration about having fewer toys.

 Why I took my kids' toys away {& why they won't get them back}

Dealing with toy Overload Part I
Dealing with toy Overload Part II

Children Don't Need Toys

For the past two days, my children have barely touched their toys but have enjoyed playing with homemade play dough. Recipe here.

Recently I switched out toy kitchens. Sold this one, bought this one. That's a post for another day.

I love these two quotes.....

If you want your children to turn out well spend twice as much time and half as much money. - Abigail Van Buren 

I love it when I step on a toy and it breaks and I can throw it away. - random person who commented on my friend's facebook wall.


Thank you all for your overwhelmingly positive response about Somehow We Manage. I love your comments, questions, and e-mails. Next week I hope to share some of my thoughts on budgeting, materialism, and managing our finances. 


  1. I just keep thinking - how did you get to be so, so smart at such a young age. And I love the Laurie Betty and play dough picture. What a doll she is!

  2. I don't have children yet but I totally plan on doing the 4 gift rule when I do! That is so smart!!

  3. I love this new blog! Way to go, SB. Can't wait to hear more about the Dave plans and money management!!!! Blog soon!

  4. Kim from PhiladelphiaNovember 8, 2013 at 4:04 PM

    Hi Sarah- I'm on board with the "less is more" toy load. Though I'm not a total minimalist when it comes to our 7 year old's toys, I do avoid excessive plastic and junky ones and I often "weed out" those that he outgrows on a regular basis.

    I have found the best way to limit incoming toys is to encourage experience gifts to family members who are open to this form of giftgiving. A ticket to see "the Nutcracker" or a children's play or even swim lessons has been very well-received in our house.

    I also do not buy toys as a reward. Gifts are given at Christmas and birthdays. If he expresses interest in a toy I'll say "add it to the list" By the time the holiday has come around, he has lost interest in the majority of thing he mentioned previously. If he desires a small toy inbetween these events he uses money from his "piggy bank" This only happens twice a year or so. We also request that his friends do not bring gifts when he has his birthday party. We've been doing this since he was little and only recently has there been a few isolated complaints, then he is over it.

  5. Loving the new blog (loved the old too)! I looked for years for a kitchen exactly like your new one--it's genius and so fun. Hope you have a great weekend!

  6. I love that crayon scribble on the table in the last picture. :) Worth a thousand words.

  7. We decided to do the four gift thing for our daughter - and now baby son - this year. I also want to do a major toy clean out before then. In her short, almost three years of life, we have accumulated so much random little junk toys! I'm curious about what toys your kids have loved and play with again and again, would love a post on their favorites, and yours.

  8. We are toy minimizers, as well! Last night, we made the play dough you linked to...thank you!


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