Why I Have My Sons’ Toys Held Hostage in the Garage


My sons (six and four) used to occasionally fight over toys and their willingness to share them, but for the most part they played together quite happily. In fact, I had thought we reached a place where I could actually get things done around the house and occasionally work on my blog because they were so content. Then Christmas came… We have had nothing but arguments for the past three months over their new toys. Gone are the days when they played nicely and my role has changed to referee and forget about getting anything done! They only want what each other has and neither wants to share.

Two weeks ago I reached my limit of trying to resolve this. I packed all the toys that were downstairs (some were from when they were two years old!) and put them in a storage bin in the garage. I left some items like Legos and blocks and a few toys that were in their rooms. And you know what? It took them two days to notice they were gone and they cannot even name what is missing! A sure sign that we had too many toys. They have gone back to more imaginative type play and the fighting is mostly gone.

I have a reward chart set up for them to earn them back if they can go a day without tattling about the toys, whining, or arguing about it. It’s a very strict chart so they have only earned back one toy each. My lesson in this is that there was too many choices in the house and it was making them crazy. I have enjoyed no longer having a living room littered with toys and am happy to help them put on costumes or set up paint or play dough. I am back to being able to get things done around the house with only a small incident here and there.

I am considering changing the chart after they get back a few of the toys they really do like to be one where they can earn something instead. Maybe they should earn a new book or new pens? Time with us or a trip to the beach? It’s a first world problem to have too many toys I know, but this experience taught me that less is more when it comes to toys and I should’ve been clearing them out every year instead of letting them pile up.

Has anyone else had to take the toys hostage or sneak them off to charity?

Nicole is the author of a newly launched site –Mind over Messy. Following a ten year career in Human Resources, Nicole unexpectedly found herself a Stay-at-home Mom due to a series of mishaps. Now, finally settled in the Mommy role, she created Mind over Messy as a place to reflect, share projects and information, and hopefully a laugh or two. Be sure to visit Mind Over Messy and follow along via your favorite form of social media.———————————————————————————————————————————————————————
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  1. I’m trying to get through my stepdaughters room in his way! There are so many toys that she can’t even get to most of them!

  2. Well, we are working on getting a charity pile together, but maybe if I did what you did and took all of the toys out first, it might be easier. The room is a cluttery mess and my son wants to keep everything, but maybe the tune would change if all of the toys were taken out but for a few that he could easily get to and play with.

  3. I am loving not picking up a huge mess of toys at the end of every day! They still have only earned back two toys each and now they have been asking if we could set up a chart to earn new things instead. I am hesitant to buy anything new after seeing such good results with less toys in the house. I am trying to come up with a creative way to keep up the good behavior without buying new toys! Hopefully someone can give me suggestions:) — Nicole

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