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#1 Reason I’m Giving My Kids Experience, Not Toy, Gifts

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Have you seen that YouTube video Girl Moms vs. Boy Moms, where they paint this picture of what it is like to be a mom to a girl in a light that it’s all cupcakes and kitten licks, while being a boy mom is all chaos and mayhem?

To this I say poppycock!

I have three girls, a 5-year-old, 3-year-old, and 10-month-old. Every single one of them, including the baby, is like a hurricane (and I know hurricanes because I am from Florida).

In fact, this is what the older two girls’ room looked like this morning (I’m embarrassed to even reveal these pictures):

This isn’t even the worst I have seen it look, either. The “stuff” doesn’t stay in their room either. It seems to overflow throughout the rest of the house, which means I get to spend every night walking through the house picking up the items nobody else bothered to pick up and return to their rightful home. 

I have tried all sorts of toy clutter solutions. I bought those pretty bins to put on shelves. I bought a toy bin holder. The best of the toy clutter solutions that I could find is to stop buying toys.

The Top Toy Clutter Solutions

This, my fellow mamas, is the #1 reason I vow to not buy any more toys as gifts. This does not even include the 9lbs. (I wish I was exaggerating) of trash, toys, toy parts, books, cups, pieces to various games, arts and crafts pieces, and papers I cleaned out from behind and underneath their bunk bed.

Ridiculous.

I was so angry while I was cleaning out this mess. This is exactly the moment that I proclaimed no more.

On the way home from church last week, I had this exact conversation with my husband. I told him that our house is too small, they have too much crap, they don’t take care of the crap they have, and they don’t put away the stuff they have so NO MORE STUFF.

I told him that I think we should give them experiences instead. 

I would rather spend our money on taking them to the theater (our oldest has been asking about seeing The Nutcracker) or catching the Fancy Nancy live show that is in the area, or having them dine with their dolls at the American Doll Bistro.

I’d rather pay for an extra vacation each year.

I’d rather fill their calendar with even more free library programs than we already attend or pay for additional dance classes, soccer, or whatever the heck it is they want to do than to fill our house with even more stuff that nobody cleans up but me. 

I would rather deposit extra money into their college funds than spend one more dollar on stuff.

Educational Toys & Books

We have overflowing bookshelves of kids books. We have bins bursting at the seams with puzzles and educational toys and games.

At this point, we don’t need anymore. Plus, the two older ones, especially, have educational items in their kindergarten and preschool classes.

PLUS, we can borrow and return most of these items from the library!

This, this, and this are all the reasons why I am choosing to just say no. In the eyes of my kids, this probably makes me “the worst mom ever” but I can live with that. In the long run, they’re not going to remember or benefit from all of the stuff they have.

The experiences they have, however, they will remember for a LONG time. 

What about you, Mamas? How do you feel about toys and all of the stuff your kids own?

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5 Comments

  • Mary

    My baby is only 8 months old and I already feel like we have accumulated so much! I have been hearing a lot about the 4 gift idea, “want, need, wear, read.” Considering have to sticking with those & experiences. Like you said, experiences are so much more memorable!

    • girlmom

      I never hear the two older ones say, “Remember that [insert toy name here] but my oldest still talks about our trip to Germany and Paris and she was only 2 at the time!

  • Amylee

    I also have three girls, but they’re older. I couldn’t agree more. Two things to consider: see if your town has a toy library. It’s a great way to have something novel now and then but then say goodbye to it. OR donate to the toy library. Also, each Christmas I encourage a purge. If I framed it as “making room for new things” they could easily get excited about it. Once we even had a yard sale with those items and donated to a charity.

    • girlmom

      I have heard of toy libraries before. I need to see if there’s one around here. We are going to do a clean out, sell, donate, and give away before Christmas.

      Thanks for the suggestions!

  • Maria

    You are so right! When I intentionally started to declutter, I realized where I had literally been throwing my money away, and at the same time being extremely wasteful. We don’t buy toys either. 🙂

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