Friday, September 25, 2009

Spare Toys

If you don't do this, I recommend you do. Especially if you are a stay at home mom. Winter is coming... you don't want to be left unprepared. (and if you are, don't say I didn't warn you!)

We keep new toys, unopened in their packages, stashed away in our basement. They range anywhere from a notepad & pencil from the dollar bin to more expensive things that I've found on sale.

About 6 months ago, I found the Melissa & Doug Fold & Go castle 70% off on some toy website. I don't even remember where it was, but they were even offering free shipping if you spent $40. So I bought a couple of toys Ian has been coveting at friends' houses and stuck them all away in the basement.


Sometimes, nothing breaks a "bad day" like a new toy! Typically when Ian starts to get rambunctious, we head out to a playground. This week, Aaron is pretty sick & I don't feel good about taking the boys to the playground. So Ian is on day 4 of no outside-the-house play this week. (Thanks to the rain, he hasn't even been in the back yard!) He's getting on my nerves. My haven't had more than 5 continuously-interrupted hours of sleep in 4 days, been puked on 4 times, have snot on my shoulder, nerves.

So that's why we keep spares in the basement. Ian is happily playing with a new toy, it will most likely keep his attention for several days (especially THIS one) and I'm not feeling ready to call the gypsies anymore. I am proud to say, though, that this is the first "big" spare toy I've gotten out at LEAST since March or so, what with Ian's birthday presents and the summer weather being good enough to get out as much as possible. I don't feel bad about today, I really needed something to get me through until Roger gets home.

A couple of rules I try to keep about spare toys:

1. If it is over $10 regular priced, it better be at LEAST 50% off or I won't buy it.

2. Anything else better be from the dollar bin at target or less than $10 on craig's list. (ha ha)

3. You can't use the "spare toy" trick more than once a month. It becomes useless if you do.

4. Dollar bin toys are good to toss in the diaper bag before doctor's appointments, special dinners, etc. Anytime you REALLY need the toddler to be GOOD without a lot of parental involvement.

Do you keep spare toys around? Do you have any rules for yourself about them?


  1. great ideas! I usually stash things away for birthdays as I find deals, but it didn't really occur to me to use them in case of "bad-day-emergencies." I feel liberated :)

  2. We just had another baby, and a month ago I went garage sale-ing and found a load of 'new' toys to pull out while I'm nursing-- and ONLY when I'm nursing. It seems to be working :-)

  3. way to boldly proclaim the, er...i mean A truth: new toys help!

    our kids' grandparents give WAY too much stuff and so we stockpile most of it(in its plastic wrap, of course) in our basement and do the same as your post suggests. it's super.

    LOVE the dollar store toy idea for doctor's office visits. by the time the doc FINALLY gets to the exam room, i've usually broken into a sweat trying to entertain the kids!!!

  4. Another thing I did when mine were little is rotate them. Have several large-ish bins with several toys each in them. And when one batch of toys is getting 'old', put it away and bring out another bin. You don't even have to buy new toys to do it this way. And sometimes they would even forget they had that toy and it was like it was 'brand new' all over again. Loved it! : )