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PeterPan

Decluttering blankets, do it, don't do it? And toys?

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I have literally an entire closet of BLANKETS. There are pink fleece blankets, baby blankets, old comforters, thin blankets from our poor days, aghans crocheted by great grandma, you name it. There might even be some stray sheets. They're really great if you decide you want to make tents and forts, which of course 10 yo boys do. But how do you decide when to just let them go and when to keep? I need this closet for something else (the room is becoming Area 51, haha), so they're out. Only question is how far out...

And toys. Duplos. Super structs. Funky trucks you can assemble and disassemble. How you do decide what to keep in the name of grandkids, being that mom with toys around, etc. vs. letting things go out to bless the world? I cleaned out my MIL's house after she passed, and it seemed like she *didn't* play with many of the extra toys she kept (even though she had like 13 grandkids, I kid you not) and by that point they were so old they were of value to no one. So what's your line on that? 

I'm actually going to get rid of some books too. I think. That's more ginger, but I'm telling myself to get there, lol. I think I am about 2-3 years behind on decluttering from being swamped with asthma and IEP fights. Now I've got my mojo and am ready to get radical. I'm just worried I might get TOO radical. I don't want to REGRET getting rid of stuff, but really we're at sort of an insane level here. I could just toss stuff and it would not matter. Like really, it does not matter if I keep the pink fleece blanket from what dd was 8, kwim? But do you actually throw this things away? Donate? They're sort of charmed, with happy memories, just not necessary anymore.

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I would keep all the blankets likely to be needed to keep everyone warm (plus a guest or two) on the coldest night of the year.  I would donate any extra except for personalized ones (my kids each have 1 baby quilt with their name on it).  The personalized ones I would put away in case my own kids wanted them for their kids.

Toys, once they have served their purpose and my kids are willing to part with them, get donated.  I am not sentimental about toys at all.  (Well, except for my kids' "loveys.")  Most books, the same.  I have bought far too many that never got used.  I doubt we will ever see a day when there isn't a library we can go to if we need a book we can't afford.

We got rid of our linen closet several years ago to build an addition.  We just keep a reasonable number of extra sheets and blankets in each person's clothes closet.

Edited by SKL
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If the blankets are in a usable condition, I would donate them. The local shelters are always asking for blankets. If they are a bit raggedy, I'd still donate them---to the local pet shelter.

*I* would personally take a photo of the blankets, and keep anything of heirloom quality. By heirloom quality I mean: 1. Something that is in good condition currently, 2. something that I have good, sentimental feelings about (possibly afghans by great-grandma) and something that 3. I would be willing to use. If it doesn't meet those three criteria, it's out.  So, I personally kept three handstitched quilts. Two were done by my grandmother, one by my great-grandmother. I also have a piece of a 1880s crazy quilt that I had framed and mounted behind UV glass that was stitched with the initials of my g-g-g-gma. It hangs on the wall in my guest room.  

I donated or threw out a number of things that were either ugly, in poor condition, or that I had no sentimental ties to even though they were made by now deceased relatives.  Think about it---if you are a prolific sewist or quilter, you've made a ton of stuff. Your children shouldn't be required to dutifully care for it all. If they feel attached to something, great, but otherwise, let it all go.  I make those kinds of things to be used---and they'll be used in the local shelters. 

I kept one large shoebox sized bin of infant (0-4yo) toys--all wooden, heirloom quality pieces.  I'm going to keep a similar sized bin of Playmobil, I think, once Youngest is out of the toy age.  (She's 6, now).  These two bins will stack easily in a small footprint in a closet in the guest room. Everything else has either already gone or is going to go.  

Live the life you are currently suited for. Worry about the future later. Odds are you'd enjoy getting a few new toys for the grandkids if/when they come around anyway. 

 

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I purged blankets recently.  We live in a super cold-weather climate, but even then, we had way more than we needed.  I kept the nicer ones, kept enough for company, one that we use for picnics, and one for the car in case of a break-down.  (And probably a couple extras still!)  I ended up giving rid of half.  (And we do need ones now and then for things like camping, but I can always take ones off the bed if I need to.)

I also have a hard time getting rid of old sheets!  They make great forts too.  🙂  But also, it just feels wrong to get rid of sheets when they're perfectly useable still, but we've moved on to more simple (instead of Mickey Mouse!) patterns or a better quality (instead of rather scratchy old ones).

We don't really have places to donate to in our area except for a thrift store, but I know that if I take things there, they'll be sold for a next-to-nothing price, so I usually do that.

I've never regretted giving away extra blankets.  We always have enough!

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I would keep whatever’s still being used , even if for play forts.    I would not keep things for theoretical future grandkids.  Or if you do, designate a small box and keep no more than what would fit in there.   Or a special trunk in the attic .  

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nm

Edited by ```
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If the blankets are still being used, keep them. Once they're not, they can be donated to any number of places, including animal shelters if they're in bad shape or fabric recycling if they're in REALLY bad shape. (You can also use old sheets to practice sewing, if you or your kids are interested in that. The fact that we had a ton of old sheets is the only thing that kept the kids from cutting up even MORE of our blankets.)

For toys that aren't being used: I'd donate the duplos now, to a domestic violence shelter or a library, or "free to a good home". The plastic is likely not going to last until your grandkids are old enough to play with them, and they're not going to go out of style between then and now either.

For the other things, take an honest look and consider what sort of condition they'll be in 15+ years. For most of them, the answer is "unusable, even with good storage". Donate those right now as well.

If they WILL be usable, and they're in good shape now, then you can consider if the sentimental value and probable cost of future replacement outweighs the inconvenience of storage.

As far as books goes, do yourself and your kids a favor - write down an alphabetical list, sorted by rough age range, of all the books in the house. When they're grown and are plagued by vague memories of "that book where the kids do the thing and it had a blue cover", they'll be glad to have a place to start looking for the title! I spend a lot of time on "find that book for me" forums, and people are constantly asking about childhood books. Half of them are actually well-known classics, but the other half are close to impossible to track down.

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I've been known to keep a stash of donateable blankets in my car and give them to anyone who might need one. I donate plenty to the shelter as well, but sometimes it's nice to give directly to a person in need. 

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Another way to store extra blankets is under the mattress pads in your regular beds.  This works particularly well if you have those newer ‘deep sheets’.

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Put on Netflix, watch an episode of Marie Kondo for inspiration, and tackle the blanket closet.
-put back the ones you love.
-put back the ones that are handy.
-put the ones good only for a fort in a rubbermaid tub along with a bag of clothespins.

Donate the rest.  Done. 

Lay out the toys.
Take ONE large rubbermaid tub and fill it with the most loved. 
Donate everything else.

I have a box of toys my kids loved, and I have ones that I have held on to for a few years before donating to a church or youth organization when I realized they weren't going to age as well as I thought.

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I keep sentimental blankets -- afghans knitted by my grandmother and DH's grandmother (one each), a quilt made for DH by his grandmother (even though it is stored away, because I think the colors -- orange and brown -- are ugly, and baby blankets made for my oldest by people that I know. I also have a pink crocheted baby blanket that I believe my grandmother made for me.

Store bought baby blankets I did not keep after my kids stopped using them.

We have some older twin sized comforters that are no longer used on beds, but we kept them to use when we go to a picnic. We keep most of those in a stack in the basement by the tv where we watch movies, for snuggling. My kids and I do like those blankets, because it's colder down there. So those are extras, but we sometimes use them.

I do have a few fleece blankets in my linen closet that are not currently used, but I think they may be used again, so I am hanging onto them. I just pulled one out recently to take to a track meet when the weather was frigid.  I also have an extra blanket and an extra comforter for guests to use if we need to unfold our pull-out couch.

It is hard to get rid of them, for some reason. And old towels; I tend to keep them in case we need rags, but then they just sit there, taking up room. When we moved last year, I finally cleaned the excess towels and blankets out.

Bottom line -- keep sentimental items if they mean something to you. Keep things that you have a use for. Get rid of the rest without qualms.

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We got rid of most of the toys and picture books when we moved last summer, because my kids are now all teens. We saved LEGO, American Girl, and a few other things like that, and they are now in a closet in the basement and don't get used, unless we have young visitors.

I also saved a large box of preschool toys and puzzles that are sturdier and higher quality. I thought they would last until I have grandchildren, maybe. And I thought my teens might use them when babysitting (they don't babysit, however there is still a chance of that).

The not-worth-much early childhood toys were given to Good Will. The nicer things -- Barbies, books, puzzles, games, doll clothes, etc. -- were passed down to my grand nieces, who are 4 and 6 now.

I have not regretted getting rid of anything. I did keep some Barbie and doll clothes that were made by my grandmother when I was a child.

But most of the toys saved from my childhood were not really in great shape by the time I had kids, and I learned that it's not worth doing if there is a big gap between generations in the family. We did save the wooden kitchen and little wooden table and chairs from my childhood -- those are about 50 years old and still look like new, despite heavy use, so they were definitely high quality and worth saving.

Things like toy trucks can be gotten rid of. Although I do have a nifty metal truck and trailer that was my dad's toy in the 40s, and I'm glad I have that. For display, though, not play.

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I love giving away things while they are still usable.

Re. Toys, anything that DD doesn’t want is fair game, but I don’t toss over her objections.  I am keeping some books and some of the wooden toys that are pretty much decor-worthy but getting rid of most of the rest.  You know what is hard for me?  Stupid Build a Bears.  I remember her kissing their little hearts, and cherishing them, and even though she is ready to let them go, *I* find it hard.  Isn’t that silly?

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I saved the grandma/aunt-made baby blankets, & am giving one to each grandkid.
It has spared me ANY pressure to sew my own quilts for them. 😉
As the makers of these quilts will soon pass away, I am so glad we saved them.

Our sons are Lego fanatics, even as adults.
I saved a box of all the special Duplo pieces, and a box of just plain bricks.
I ended up using the same size box for each type of building toy I saved, so it's very easy to store/identify them.

When kids come to visit our house, it's always nice to have something for them to play with.
I'm very content with the "favorite" toys we've saved---even if it's MUCH more than the PPs have saved!
(Matchbox cars, Brio Train track, magnet boards & felt books, 6" plastic bendable GIJoe & gear, wooden blocks, 3 boxes of kid books . . . and Every Single Lego that ever entered our house.)

Edited by Beth S
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6 hours ago, Carol in Cal. said:

Another way to store extra blankets is under the mattress pads in your regular beds.  This works particularly well if you have those newer ‘deep sheets’.

I would not have thought of that!!

9 hours ago, J-rap said:

I purged blankets recently.  We live in a super cold-weather climate, but even then, we had way more than we needed.

I've been thinking about this all evening since I read your comment, and I think you're right, lol. Because it's cold here, blankets multiply, sorta like rabbits. And there are always new ones, pretty ones. The old ones are kinda thin. Your taste changes and then you want a different kind. 

6 hours ago, HomeAgain said:

Put on Netflix, watch an episode of Marie Kondo for inspiration, and tackle the blanket closet.
-put back the ones you love.
-put back the ones that are handy.
-put the ones good only for a fort in a rubbermaid tub along with a bag of clothespins.

Donate the rest.  Done. 

Ok, first I did not know MK had a tv show, lol. Thank you for the summary. I also realized that I could quantify it because the amount of fort blankets should be what fits within the upper shelves in that closet. And yeah that's basically a rubbermaid or something. Really, the blankets we use in bedrooms are already in those bedrooms. Those criteria (love it, handy) are helpful too. Perfect.

6 hours ago, HomeAgain said:

Lay out the toys.
Take ONE large rubbermaid tub and fill it with the most loved. 
Donate everything else.

I have a box of toys my kids loved, and I have ones that I have held on to for a few years before donating to a church or youth organization when I realized they weren't going to age as well as I thought.

Yup probably that's reality. One bin of younger toys is more than enough. Oh, I just had a brilliant realization that I have a use for them!!! Don't know why it took me that long to figure out. 

6 hours ago, Hilltopmom said:

Donate blankets, keep Duplos, donate rest of toys 🙂

Yup, the duplos are so classic.

6 hours ago, Storygirl said:

we kept them to use when we go to a picnic.

You're right, we picnic in our yard a LOT! It's just so nice to sit outside. I forgot some of these blankets are probably for that.

6 hours ago, Storygirl said:

But most of the toys saved from my childhood were not really in great shape by the time I had kids

Yup, that's what I'm realizing...  And I think I had this sort of hoarder, wanter thing going on from my own years of not having as a kid. But really, my kids have had everything, I'm fine, we're good. 

5 hours ago, Carol in Cal. said:

 I remember her kissing their little hearts, and cherishing them, and even though she is ready to let them go, *I* find it hard.  Isn’t that silly?

Oh this is so precious! 

5 hours ago, Carol in Cal. said:

I love giving away things while they are still usable.

Yes, I'm trying to see it this way. If I save them, they'll just deteriorate. Giving away will spread the joy.

3 hours ago, Beth S said:

I'm very content with the "favorite" toys we've saved---even if it's MUCH more than the PPs have saved!
(Matchbox cars, Brio Train track, magnet boards & felt books, 6" plastic bendable GIJoe & gear, wooden blocks, 3 boxes of kid books . . . and Every Single Lego that ever entered our house.)

That's a nice list of classic things!

Thanks ladies!!!

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I was the girl present at your wedding and baby shower feeling all of those homemade quilts and crocheted blankets saying, "Ahhh, pretty!"  I was also the girl who received no blankets as gifts or hand-me downs...we just barely have enough, decades later=(  I have blanket envy!

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20 hours ago, PeterPan said:

I have literally an entire closet of BLANKETS. There are pink fleece blankets, baby blankets, old comforters, thin blankets from our poor days, aghans crocheted by great grandma, you name it. There might even be some stray sheets. They're really great if you decide you want to make tents and forts, which of course 10 yo boys do. But how do you decide when to just let them go and when to keep? I need this closet for something else (the room is becoming Area 51, haha), so they're out. Only question is how far out...

And toys. Duplos. Super structs. Funky trucks you can assemble and disassemble. How you do decide what to keep in the name of grandkids, being that mom with toys around, etc. vs. letting things go out to bless the world? I cleaned out my MIL's house after she passed, and it seemed like she *didn't* play with many of the extra toys she kept (even though she had like 13 grandkids, I kid you not) and by that point they were so old they were of value to no one. So what's your line on that? 

I'm actually going to get rid of some books too. I think. That's more ginger, but I'm telling myself to get there, lol. I think I am about 2-3 years behind on decluttering from being swamped with asthma and IEP fights. Now I've got my mojo and am ready to get radical. I'm just worried I might get TOO radical. I don't want to REGRET getting rid of stuff, but really we're at sort of an insane level here. I could just toss stuff and it would not matter. Like really, it does not matter if I keep the pink fleece blanket from what dd was 8, kwim? But do you actually throw this things away? Donate? They're sort of charmed, with happy memories, just not necessary anymore.

I like to work from the size of my container when I'm overwhelmed with excess. Do you have a new spot (or a smaller space in this closet) that your blankets will live? You need to know the limit you can keep. Then, empty the area/container and then put back: 1) the item you would pull first from the closet (ie: your favorite item or two) 2) those things you need (ie: 1 blanket per bed or something) 3) those blankets you love (ie: sentimental) 4) anything else that can fit and you think you will use (ie: blanket fort, picnic, funky pattern you just love, etc). Then, your spot is full and you have to donate the rest. 

I don't keep hardly any toys, so I can't speak to that. I figure there will be new must-have toys by the time my kids have kids. The things I do have: Tonka Trucks (they aren't mine to declutter; they're actually my brother's), a dollhouse my dad built, and American Girl.  

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7 minutes ago, beckyjo said:

1) the item you would pull first from the closet

What a good point!! You're right that I was so sentimental about all of them that I hadn't really thought about FAVORITES, hmm.

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10 hours ago, Familia said:

I was the girl present at your wedding and baby shower feeling all of those homemade quilts and crocheted blankets saying, "Ahhh, pretty!"  I was also the girl who received no blankets as gifts or hand-me downs...we just barely have enough, decades later=(  I have blanket envy!

Yeah, I don't know. Maybe learn to sew? Some of these things are things I made. Some were gifts or hand-me-downs. But really, I make stuff for myself. It's not really THAT hard to make something and have it be sentimental. I'm pretty sentimental about the tied fleece blankets I made for my ds, hehe. For my dd I have these silly puppy fleece "sleeping bag" I made that isn't harder than a pillowcase and a zipper. Actually I screwed up the zipper, lol. So maybe teach yourself to make things? Rag quilts are super popular now and you can make them from things you already have lying around. Nothing harder than a straight stitch to sew, then snip snip and wash. 

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16 hours ago, Carol in Cal. said:

  You know what is hard for me?  Stupid Build a Bears.  I remember her kissing their little hearts, and cherishing them, and even though she is ready to let them go, *I* find it hard.  Isn’t that silly?

 

My kids love my childhood soft toys (I have at least two 18 gallon totes full) and they still sleep with their Build a Bears (one each of full size and mini). They saw my childhood photos which have soft toys in them and asked where are those soft toys.

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11 hours ago, Familia said:

I was the girl present at your wedding and baby shower feeling all of those homemade quilts and crocheted blankets saying, "Ahhh, pretty!"  I was also the girl who received no blankets as gifts or hand-me downs...we just barely have enough, decades later=(  I have blanket envy!

 

My maternal grandma made each grandchild a quilted baby blanket very similar to this link https://www.canstockphoto.com/quilted-triangle-blanket-8652219.html

Some sewing shops have free classes/lessons/handholding for beginners.

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Free yourself. What makes sense, donate. I got rid of a good set of sheets recently because I accepted the fact that my family was not going to use them (flannel and only fit ds' bed. He decided he didn't like them even though he's always the one saying he's cold in the morning). The older bedding (sheets) I took to an animal shelter.

Right now I have a little I dunno what you'd call it, rectangular ottoman? I told the family that's for blankets. We have one blanket that finally bit the dust... ripped in several areas, holes. Dh wants to cut it up for rags but hasn't done a thing with it and last time I washed it, it let out pieces of fabric all over the washer/dryer. Now we have another started to do the same. I probably won't even replace them. We have a lot of throws (Star Wars, Walking Dead, Toy Story, plain purple, Paw Patrol, etc.). Almost ever throw is a gift from some Christmas.

 

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2 hours ago, PeterPan said:

Yeah, I don't know. Maybe learn to sew? Some of these things are things I made.

 

1 hour ago, Arcadia said:

 

My maternal grandma made each grandchild a quilted baby blanket very similar to this link https://www.canstockphoto.com/quilted-triangle-blanket-8652219.html

Some sewing shops have free classes/lessons/handholding for beginners.

Funny, that I do know how to quilt & crochet.  

I guess it’s the minimalist in me that keeps from buying, the lack of fortitude for the hobbies that keeps me from a project.  I think that receiving something that someone spent the time making is what I appreciate and desire.   Just have never had that type of love in my life - on the receiving end.  Ok, eldest DD has since given me wonderful handmade items.

I get that many here have purchased and made for themselves, but my first thought, reading this post was the memory of watching my friends opening those handmade gifts, and realizing, when we were swaddling our first born, that I had not received anything like that and owned no baby blanket or throw except the blanket the hospital sent us home with.  Granted, a few more have entered our home to cover the necessities, but even most of DD’s creations are display items and hers, not mine.

I love the suggestions for how to prioritize them, especially by @HomeAgain

Edited by Familia

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3 minutes ago, Familia said:

 

Funny, that I do know how to quilt & crochet.  

I guess it’s the minimalist in me that keeps from buying, the lack of fortitude for the hobbies that keeps me from a project.  I think that receiving something that someone spent the time making is what I appreciate and desire.   Just have never had that type of love in my life - on the receiving end.  Well, until now...eldest DD has since given me wonderful handmade items😍

I get that many here have purchased and made for themselves, but my first thought, reading this post was the memory of watching my friends opening those handmade gifts, and realizing, when we were swaddling our first born, that I had not received anything like that and owned no baby blanket or throw except the blanket the hospital sent us home with.  Granted, a few more have entered our home to cover the necessities, but even most of DD’s creations are display items and hers, not mine.

I love the suggestions for how to prioritize them, especially by @HomeAgain

 

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