One In, One Out

December 7th, 2012

As parents know, the Season of Giving is often the Season of Getting when you have small children.  Kids are fun to buy for and even in families who try to show restraint in their holiday purchases, the total accumulation of “new stuff” during the holidays can be massive.

One way that we try to keep from becoming buried under a mountain of toys is to institute a “one in, one out” policy when it comes to stuffed animals and dolls — all of whom are collectively referred to as “friends” in our house.

When Miss Mouse receives a new “friend” for her birthday or Christmas (or any other occasion), she must select an existing friend to part with.   The rule applies to Buggie, too, but at the moment, I’m making his choices for him.  When he gets a bit bigger, he’ll be able to have a say.

I confess that I had a hard time letting go and allowing Miss Mouse to make the selection unassisted.  I mean, what if she picked my favorite friend??  Then what?

Happily, I read the answer on another blog: your child picks the friend, you pick its destination.

It is your child’s decision which friend to remove from their collection.  Whether that toy is then donated, trashed, or tucked away in a keep-sake of memories is up to you.  Problem solved.

Miss Mouse received two new friends for her birthday last month and carefully selected two existing friends to part with.   There are two friends in the line-up of gifts for Christmas, too, so we’ll be repeating the process.  It keeps the toy box within its physical capacity and ensures that her “friends” actually get played with.

I’m also planning to put the same rule in play when it comes to books for the kids this holiday season in an attempt to keep their already-unruly bookshelves from collapsing under the weight of all their books!

6 responses to “One In, One Out”

  1. Emily says:

    I have no problem with the one in, one out rule with miy and Zach’s clothes and shoes. But, we are struggling with this even at Maddie’s tender young age of 10 months. I think it’s more emotional for me because in the span of one week, I’ve had to put away all her swings and bouncers she has outgrown, get out her 12(!) month clothes, and buy a convertible carseat. So for me it’s more the fact that my little baby is about to become a toddler. I just can’t bring myself to put away the baby rattles. However, I’ll probably feel differently when the avalanche of toys from Christmas hits our house! I like the idea of the keepsake box just for you. :)

    • Kate says:

      Oh, I hear ya! We didn’t implement this until Miss Mouse was older. I totally boxed up everything from her first year of life and kept it ALL. And the rattles and baby toys were out way longer than necessary. Then again, Buggie arrived about that time so they got a new lease on life!

  2. Emily says:

    I have no problem with the one in, one out rule with miy and Zach’s clothes and shoes. But, we are struggling with this even at Maddie’s tender young age of 10 months. I think it’s more emotional for me because in the span of one week, I’ve had to put away all her swings and bouncers she has outgrown, get out her 12(!) month clothes, and buy a convertible carseat. So for me it’s more the fact that my little baby is about to become a toddler. I just can’t bring myself to put away the baby rattles. However, I’ll probably feel differently when the avalanche of toys from Christmas hits our house! I like the idea of the keepsake box just for you. :)

    • Kate says:

      Oh, I hear ya! We didn’t implement this until Miss Mouse was older. I totally boxed up everything from her first year of life and kept it ALL. And the rattles and baby toys were out way longer than necessary. Then again, Buggie arrived about that time so they got a new lease on life!

  3. G'Mom says:

    Probably the parents of Buggie and Miss Mouse follow the same rule on books – one in, one out? Snork.

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