Deciding What to Keep and What to Let Go

I usually have no problem parting with things we don't need anymore. In fact, I throw away/donate/get rid of so many things that my kids don't believe me when I say I don't know where their treasures went. I'm the first person they suspect when something goes missing. But today I was cleaning the bathroom and came across these in the far recesses of a cabinet.


The end of an era. Our last bathtub toys. They probably haven't seen water in at least a couple years and I can't imagine my girls will be asking for them again, but I hesitated to just toss them. Long gone are the days of starting the tub, throwing a couple kids in it, and dumping the toys in the water to provide a little entertainment. The squeals of delight, the bubbles, and the slippery smooth bodies cuddled in a towel have all disappeared. Only the toys remain.

Then I thought about all this in the playroom...


For some reason, the boys outgrew their toys more quickly and they all disappeared gradually. Getting rid of these will require effort. I don't want to let go of the dollhouses, Polly Pockets and Barbies. Many of these things belonged to my oldest and were passed down to the twins. They've been moved from house to house and entertained children over and over. We've gotten rid of a lot of toys over the years, but these have always stayed in the "keep" pile.

My youngest are in their last year of elementary school. There won't be many more scenes like this one greeting me in the hallway.


They don't need wheelchairs and strollers for their stuffed animals anymore.


This will be the first Christmas I don't think I'll have any toys to buy. It's freeing and it's sad. I always had fun looking at their lists, choosing their special presents, and picturing their happiness at finding them under the tree.

I'm going to say goodbye to the bathtub toys, but hold off on cleaning out the playroom a little longer...until I'm sure they won't be entering that particular world of imagination anymore.

And someday, I hope I have the joy of picking out more toys and seeing the faces of my grandchildren light up like this when they open them!

So excited to open their Dora Dollhouse while wearing their new Dora pajamas!


44 comments:

  1. Well, now you've made me all teary-eyed first thing in the morning. :) We're not to a toy purging point in our house yet (almost 3 and 1), but they already have too much stuff. It's going to be hard to let go of some of it.
    And to throw something extra into the mix, my mom held onto quite a few of my toys and now my girls love playing with them! From My Little Pony to Strawberry Shortcake, they're finding new life. And she kept lots of other things at her house that her now 13 grandkids play with. So maybe not everything has to go. *wink*

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    1. You're right, it is fun to keep some special things. One of the classics my girls like to play with are Lincoln Logs. My MIL saved my husband's and we've added to them over the years!

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  2. They are too cute! Oh man, they had wheelchairs for their teddies?! We didn't have that when I was little, haha. They are so cute! Good luck cleaning everything out. I hope you guys have a great day!

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  3. Oh Marie! I'm teary-eyed over this post. It's always tough seeing signs that our little ones are growing up.
    I smiled so big when I saw the photo of your daughters' toys lining the hallway. That's just too precious.
    Our youngest is 3 (and she's our last) and it was rough getting rid of all our baby gear, and infant and toddler toys. I have saved a few special toys along the way though ;0) And I'm sure that I'll continue to do that throughout the years. It helps make the toy purging/'letting go' process a little easier.
    Sending happy thoughts and hugs,
    Suzanne

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    1. Thanks, Suzanne! I'm going to save some special things that I think will stand the test of time. :)

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  4. Aww! Such a moving post....My eldest is getting to the point where she's not playing with toys as much and it makes me feel so sad.....

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  5. This gives me such a pit in my stomach...My youngest is five and he's in the throws of playing with all sorts of toys and I'm delighted watching him! But my older girls are definitely starting to move out of that phase and I know exactly what you mean here. I sooo miss the preschool days (although there are wonderful things about every season), it's just so hard to say goodbye to an era, like you said. Thanks for stopping by my blog!

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    1. Enjoy your little guy! That's a fun age and you'll still have lots of things to buy for Christmas, I'm sure! :)

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  6. One of the hardest things about our kids getting older! I still have bins of hot wheel cars and a cozy coupe in my attic because I can't bear to part with them. Hopefully the grandkids will play with them someday!

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    1. Haha, Lana! I think those are classics and will be enjoyed for a long time!

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  7. I've never thought about this all before, but I guess I'll have to face this sometime too. My mom kept a lot of our fisher price toys, my brother's hot wheels cars, his He Man sword (which my nephew LOVES), and even some of our "special" outfits. It's neat for us to see the grandkids playing with the toys we have so many fond memories of. Also, I laughed out loud at the wheel chairs. Who knew they made toy wheel chairs?? ha ha!

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    1. I haven't thought of He Man in a long time! It is fun for kids to pull out old toys and I'm going to save some of their special ones. :)

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  8. I could feel my heart strings pulling as I read this post! Excepting the fact that there is no going back to the children's childhood is hard, even though there are other things to look forward to with them.

    It was twelve months ago that we got rid of six black bags of the children's toys, games, and soft toys and it was sad. There were some I couldn't part with and they are in a cupboard and on shelves here and there.

    When we cleared out, we gave the stuff to a place that was collecting things for children in hard up families for Christmas. I really hoped that the toys and games gave them as much pleasure as they gave us.

    You've shared some lovely pictures of your #mommyreality.

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    1. Thanks, Debbie! What a wonderful way to share the toys you gave away! Now you can think of them still being used and making children smile. :)

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  9. I'm terrible at throwing out toys... we've got rid of a fair amount over the years, but really, nowhere near enough! It is sad to let go of those things. We're now at the point where all the 'baby' toys need to go, but I can't quite bring myself to do it yet x

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    1. Awe, the baby toys are hard to let go! Hold out as long as you can. :)

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  10. Marie! This had me in tears! Just beautiful. My life flashed forward thinking I'd have to do this one day, and it's a great reminder to enjoy every single day. Thanks so much for sharing with the #SHINEbloghop! :)

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    1. Thanks, Kristy! Savor all those little toys! :)

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  11. You just made me a little teary eyed. So maybe I should enjoy for a minute or two longer having to clean up their toys. I still think when they are older there will be some toys I just won't be able to part with!

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    1. For sure, Jennifer! There will be some things I have to save, too.

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  12. O my gosh. I have felt the same way in the past. Although my kids are now 19 and 15 I still have some of their toys I refused to get rid of. You totally spoke my heat. I totally get it. I figure when I baby sit the kids I keep sometimes can play with them and also my future grandkids :-)
    Stopping by today from #mommyreality

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    1. That will be sweet! I'm sure they'll enjoy them, Susie!

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  13. Ahhh I love the way decluttering feels! My girls are 8 and 6 and I know it will feel weird when they stop getting toys for me to later donate. Ha!

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  14. There are some toys that are so sentimental-I know I'll share your feelings in the not-too-distant future. I won't miss cleaning, or nagging others to clean, the millions of parts that go with the dozens of toy sets day after day. :) Thanks for sharing your thoughts; I'm sure all moms can relate!

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  15. It's so sad when we realise our babies are all grown-up and no longer play with toys. I've recently started selling some of my twin daughters' stuff on Ebay and feel horrible for packing up their childhood and emptying the loft. I guess it's something we all have to get around to eventually.
    Thanks for sharing, I know exactly how you feel x

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  16. Letting go of the toys is bittersweet- we have managed to let go of most of the big stuff and sold what we could. We can't seem to let go of the Lego for some reason. We have bins and bins of it. Good luck with your purge.

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  17. This is really hard for me, too. Especially because it's hard for my daughter. I have a nine-year-old and two kids in their early 20s--so she's my baby by a long shot and her growing up has been hard on me than her sister and brother at the same age.

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  18. If you have space, you should save some of those toys for sure. I love watching my nieces play with toys that used to belong to my sister and I. And my boys think the toys that my husband used to play with are so cool (maybe not safe by todays standards but cool!)

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  19. So hard when it comes to knowing what to keep isn't it-I am glad my Mum kept the toys I loved most as my kids have enjoyed them too but I'm all for giving away stuff to charity too! #allaboutyou

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  20. Aww this made me tear up. We are probably moving some toys soon too. My girls are 4 and are outgrowing some things. I will miss their little footie pjs when they can't wear them anymore too. Would love it if you linked up with us at Mommy Needs a Timeout Thursday. Party starts Wednesday at 8 pm EST. See you there
    Lauren
    Twin Tested, Pin Approved
    http://twintestedpinapproved.wordpress.com

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  21. Such cute pictures. And I wish we could get together and commiserate, Marie! I know exactly how you feel. I have been trying to purge toys and stuffed animals - my youngest is 16, and I'm having a lot more trouble parting with stuff than the kids are!

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  22. Never fear! Better times are coming in the form of grandchildren. I never had the money to buy my kids many toys but my house is full of toys now with ten grandchildren. I have always lived shopping for toys and have thoroughly enjoyed buying for all the grandkids. I can keep then organized in bins and bring them out of storage depending on what they choose to play with. Also, I can send the bin home to be borrowed and returned . Great fun!!!

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    1. Yay for Nanny's toys! They're always a big hit! :)

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  23. What a sweet, sweet post! I'm there too - now that there are no more little people, the toys are staring at me, with no one in the house to pass them down to, and I'm trying to decide whether to give them away, hold onto a few special things, or what! Your girls are just adorable, and I'm sure the memories of those days are so precious. I'd hold onto those toys a while longer - yes, that's what I'd do! Thank you for sharing and for linking with us at Wake Up Wednesday.

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  24. You could always keep anything that's really special for future small visitors - my Mum had a box of her favourites of our childhood toys for small people and now her grandchildren play with them all and I look at them with very fond memories :)

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  25. Ah, this makes me all sad! My kids are 5 and 2, so we still have those crazy bath-time antics, and do you know, I hadn't really thought about them ending, though I know of course that they will. We moved my son into a bed at the weekend, and giving away the cot that has been a bed to both of my children felt like a real wrench! I'm like you, I clear out and declutter regularly, but I just know the toys already that I'm going to struggle to part with, though I hope they've still got a few more years left in them.

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  26. Ahh bless you it really is an end to an era. It goes by so quickly. I can't imagine not throwing a hundred toys in the bath or tring to hide the pile of toys behind doorways and out of sight. I think we long for it but really we miss it when it come to that point. Great post. Keep the barbies and polly pockets so the girls can give them to their daughters someday. I would love to hand my daughter some of my old toys my mother kept nothing. Thanks for linking up to Share With Me #sharewithme

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  27. Wow I didn't expect to have tears in my eyes but I do...it was like walking down memory lane with my daughters who are "teens" now. I must admit they still have a few of their favorite toys in their rooms but I can't remember the last time I bought them one. I buy them for my grandchildren and it is twice as rewarding to see the looks on their faces. Stopping by via #mommyreality

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  28. Gosh, I really read that with a lump in my throat. We don't realise do we how fast time flies, and how quickly these little stages end! Thank you so much for linking this beautiful post to #AllAboutYou

    Mama-andmore.com

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  29. This is so bittersweet and I actually haven't stopped to think about all of this since my kids are both still very much into toys everywhere including the bath tub. I don't even want to think about how I'll feel when the tub doesn't need filling with bubbles and toys! Visiting from Turn It Up Tuesday where I'm guest-hosting and choosing this post as one of the features to include from this past link up!

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    1. Thanks so much Bernadyn! I appreciate it! :)

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  30. You will do your best to save the 'important' stuff and not save the 'right' stuff if I am any example. My 35 year old son is still moaning about how his mother gave away his He-Man stuff, including Castle Gray Skull. I just bought him some He-Man stuff on eBay for Christmas. Crazy!

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