Sustainably Single Parenting

Making the most of life's journey alongside my three!!!

Toy Cycling Update January 16, 2013

I began cycling the girls’ toys out this past July. They had so many toys in their room that it was impossible to keep things tidy. There just isn’t enough space for everything to fit comfortably in our condo. It’s a big change from the ample amount of space we had in our Illinois home, but I realized that even if I could find a way to make things more organized the girls would still be surrounded by too many playthings.

There were so many toys on their floor that they no longer liked to play in their room! There were so many options of what to play with that they often chose to play with anything other than their various options. I fought the urge to spend money we didn’t have on new toy purchases, and decided to take a contrasting approach. I gathered most of their things, and took them to our storage unit.

In the beginning I allowed them to choose three sets of toys and three noisy/random toys apiece. Sets were things like their bin filled with Dinosaurs or their bucket of insects. Noisy/random toys could be anything from their keyboard to their jacks. I’d kept for them the dress-up clothing, puzzles, board games, and books. The plan was to keep the same toys for a few weeks and then to go back to our storage unit and switch out old sets for new ones.

Things started off wonderfully. We went to our storage facility every few weeks and the girls were excited about toy cycling. They enjoyed having enough space to play in their room and we were able to keep it clean much easier. When school began in September it became more difficult to make it out to the storage unit for what we’d titled “Switch Day.” Sometimes we’d get to our storage unit and the girls would not see anything that was worth switching for a current set. To avoid this I’d take them out to get new toys before making them choose which they’d be trading in, but oftentimes I’d then forget to take the old sets back and the girls would wind up with far too many items in their room again.

Things got even worse around the holidays. I’d brought home extra sets of toys so that the girls wouldn’t be bored if we got stuck in the house for awhile after Hurricane Sandy. I increased their dress-up clothing stash substantially after Halloween. Also, when the semester was drawing to a close I was so busy that I didn’t take the girls to our storage unit for nearly 7 weeks. Christmas toys just added to the overflow, and it gave me one more thing to include on the list of items that I always keep in their room: their new dollhouse.

Just this week we’ve gotten back on track with toy cycling. They still get to choose three large sets and three noisy/random toys, but now I’m also keeping a list of the sets they’ve chosen and the date we’ll switch again. Knowing when the next “switch day” will occur keeps the girls from begging me to go to our storage unit every afternoon. Also, having the list of which sets they’ve chosen somehow helps them to better understand their boundaries while pickings their toys.

So far it has been wonderful. Today, the girls played peacefully and creatively for over an hour with a set of knights and dragons. They hadn’t seen those toys in nearly two months, so it was a really exciting game for them to play together. I still have plans to go through everything that they never choose and donate things to charity, but I’ve been way too overwhelmed to handle that mountainous task.

I am still so very happy that we began toy cycling and that the system still works.