Need Advice about my mother


Hello, Everybody.

  This post is not a very heavy-handed post, which may prove to be a "break" for a lot of you, but it's a delicate issue all the same.

  My mother is a little nuts.  Being nuts runs in the family, to tell you the truth.  Anyway, this being the case, my mom always buys all these toys for my daughter on holidays such as Christmas, Easter, and her birthday.  You say, "How nice," and yes, it is nice.  However, you should see her room right now.  It's a wreck, and I literally do not know what to do with all the stuff.  I want to give some of it to the children's shelter, but I don't even know where to begin.  I'm nuts, too, so I'm not one of these people who just "knows what to do" with an extreme mess.  I could NEVER work for 1-800-GOT JUNK, in other words.  I want to tell my mom, "Mom - all she needs is clothes and shoes," but like I said, she's nuts, so I'm afraid she'll take it wrong.  (Well, I guess I just can't buy her ANYTHING anymore!)  Has anyone dealt with this situation?  I thought about E-bay, too, but what toys sell?  I don't know where to begin there either.  I'd love to hear from the good ol' been-there-done-that parents on this one.  Thanks bunches.



Not a mom, but I am the oldest of 7 kids and I do a lot of my mom’s spring cleaning on weekends.

You don’t have to tell your mother to not buy for your daughter anymore…you could, however, tell her that your daughter really wants a new pink coat or something. Also, most people who give lots of lavish toys expect the parents to get rid of the toys as they get old or grown out of…

I’d suggest…

Donating the toys (all the ones that are too small for her, broken, less quality, never played with)…this method takes the least time so you get the beautifully organized room the quickest.

Garage sale to get rid of the toys…this method takes more time, but you have the bonus of getting some money…however you also have to count on spending one evening pricing stuff and one morning selling stuff.

Online selling…never done this because it requires, in my opinion, the most time.

Also, enlist the help of your daughter. I do it all the time…“Honey, I was thinking that since your birthday (or Christmas) is coming up, now would be a good time to clean out some of your toys to give to the children whose parents can’t afford nice toys.” Use your imagination…most kids are very generous. :slight_smile: And it’s a great bonding time too. :thumbsup:

Good luck! :thumbsup:


both SILs put their collective feet down to both sets of grandparents: NO more large plastic toys, and limit on small toys as well. Now we don’t buy anything unless we clear it with the parents first, unless we feel like it, which we do from time to time (grandma’s privilege). I love my kids and would never give their children toys with built in noisemakers (like the famous lawnmower niece fell in love with and insisted on taking on their cross country trip home on the plane. I think a stewardess tossed it out the door somewhere over Kansas). Also do not yield to kids’ demands on impulse buying on trips w/o prior permission from parents (that’s a hard one).


You might also get your daughter involved.

Have her pick out all the toys she doesn’t like, are too “baby” for her, she doesn’t play with, are broken or missing parts, etc, and donate those immediately.

Then have her pick out her top 10, 20, or whatever number you fell is a good number, toys she absolutely loves and wants to keep. Get bins, baskets, or shelving and put them away. Then have her start putting them back in their bins when she is finished playing.

With any toys that remain in between the “gotta keep” and “don’t want” put them away in another room/closet/attic/garage and then after a few weeks give away any that she hasn’t specifically gone looking for.

Then, do this same process every time new toys come in-- pick your top 10, 20, whatever, put the others in the closet and then give away if they aren’t used. Also, create a bin for the “old” toys and have your daughter put toys in when they break or she doesn’t want to play with them anymore. When it gets full, take it to donate.

If you are always purging the old as new comes in, it doesn’t stack up and get so overwhelming.

And, as another poster suggested frame this as giving toys to little girls who can’t afford any.


I used to do this every day after Thanksgiving with my son. I would suggest any parent do this.

Go through all of the toys

Make a pile of Broken, bad condition, or dangerious Toys - They go to the TRASH without a second look.

Make a pile of Too Young Toys - They go to a charity

Make a pile of Rememberance Toys (like teddy bears that you want to keep to give your child when they are older, limit 5)

Go through the rest of the toys and 1/2 go to charity the other half you keep until you do this again next year.

Our rule was that no more toys than what fit in the toy box.

Now the reason I did this the day after Thanksgiving is because when we were done he got to take a toy to Toys for Tots or The Church Christmas Tree. He loved it and still donates a toy every year, he is 21 now. I also used to tell him that we had to make room for Christmas gifts. Maybe your child has a birthday coming up so you can use that. The fist year was difficult, but he really got into the mood every year after that.

Another Rule: If you have not touched it in a year it needs to be out of your house.

I don’t remember how old you said your child was. Since it sounds like they are younger and you have a lot to go through a lot I would go through the broken toys and too young toys without them. The other ones you can have your child go through the toys with you, although you need to make a rule that at least 1/2 of them are going to be donated. (PERIOD)

If you don’t think you can do it, ask a friend or a family member to help you (one that is an organized person). Also let your family know what you did when you are done. Own it and be proud of!!!

I will say the one thing that we never threw out (unless it was in horrible shape) was books. I kept every book that my son was given and they will go to his future children.


One more rule: Pick a day to tackle this and get it done. You can also tell you child, as soon as we get this ALL done we will go do _______ (something special, like go get an icecream cone or something they like).


Hello, everybody.

 These are VERY good suggestions.  I like the idea about having limits and rules.  The challenge for me now will be coming up with these rules and limits on my own.  Well, I can always borrow y'all's, and I probably will.  But I can say, "limit 10" all day long and still not know how to decide which ten to pick.  It will be hard.  I have to tend to my daughter now, but I will read over all suggestions again carefully and try to get my scattered brain to make sense of it - and her room.  She's 4, BTW.

Thanks again. Y’all rock.



Make a day of sorting everything, with your dd using some sort of organizational (totes, bins, crates, shelves, everyone has a different preference) system, you may just realize that she has less than you think.

I am an organizational freak, by this I mean I get physically ill if things are a wreck. You know one of those who reorganizes the closets/drawers/cabinets for stress relief? So I go by a 6 month system, if it hasn’t been used in 6 months it goes (only exception is holiday stuff), charity or trash depending on condition. We move a lot too so that effects my time frame.

We had areas of the rooms, some toys were bedroom toys(stuffed animals, dolls they slept with, board games, the quiet stuff) and some were toyroom toys. Pretty much the toys were always ‘out’ but organized into play areas. That way they were organized but easily accessible to dds and easy to reorganize when done playing, I mean they are kids so little stuff like keep the play food in the play frig, that kind of thing. Toys that had a lot of small items (a pox upon poly pocket!) had small totes for just those items, and they couldn’t move to another area until they were back in the tote. A big tote for dress up stuff, stored the gloves, play jewelry in the big purses that went into the tote. Duplo’s & leggos, totes!

I am a tote freak too-for storage, for camping, for holiday decorations, out of season clothes, skinny clothes, fat clothes, stuff to go to charity, costumes, and toys when they were young. To this day if you even mention ‘tote’, one of them will say ‘why is everything in a tote?!?!’ Poor things, I’ve probably warped their brains!

Only one gift did I ever return—a full set of DRUMS that my mom sent to us when we lived in a duplex on a military post, where the neighbor’s house that wasn’t attached was almost as close as the one that was, when dds were 2 & 4!!! I politely signed for the package (which had an image of what was inside on the outside of the box-thank God!) and shoved it into the garage until we could make the trip out of town to the closest store of the chain it came from!!!

Just take a deep breath and know it is do-able!


My MIL did it with clothes. I realized when my oldest was 3 that I had not bought my own little girl any clothes in her whole life and I was missing it. I could not justify spending money on clothes when EVERY WEEK there was one cute little outfit she “couldn’t resist… it was on sale!” You do the math on how quickly her drawers and closet filled up. It was all about her need to be needed. And a lot of money and aggravation was wasted. And I was very tired of it and by then stopped appreciating any of the clothes.

All I can suggest is once you get the house cleared of excess toys (and yes, there was lots of that too… and xh resented that the MANY MANY piles of junk we had from his mother were put in buckets. He took that personally.) you then ask your MIL to set up a college account for your children. And every time she sees something she wants to buy, she puts the money in the account. You can build it up to a very important thing for her to do.

Tell her that will be invaluable when all the toys are in a landfill, that she will have instead provided something that will last forever… an education.

Her response will tell you whether she’s doing this for HER needs or the kids. Then that will help you determine what reverence to show all the stuff she buys.

Good luck.


Ask her to come over and help you clean/sort it all out.


I just had to giggle at this one. I’d actually do this, but my mom lives five hours away. The idea about the college fund is a good idea, too, but I realize from that same post that yes, my mother IS buying this stuff for her own needs or whatever. She likes to feel needed, and basically likes to shop. I guess she’s a bit of a shopaholic. Oh well. I can only imagine that conversation. Maybe I’m just a little spineless too when it comes to talking to Mom because she does have a tendency to get mad easily. I will say one excellent thing about my mom as of late, though. When my husband and I were in dire financial need, she did help A LOT with our day care expenses. Maybe I could say something like, “You already do so much; buying all these toys too is …unnecessary? (I need a good word.)” This is turning out to be a nice discussion. :wink:



She has a generous heart and if grandparents can’t spoil grandchildren, who can? (That’s a great opening line that will help the rest of your conversation with her.)

Now compare her to the Grand Coolie Dam. Abundance overflowing. But it needs to be channelled so you don’t drown in her generosity. (again, you can steal all these lines.)

Now think of things you really want for the kids but can’t afford. Something she can give that you would think was extravagant and not in your budget. Tell her, In lieu of more toys, which they are outgrowing, how about… DANCE LESSONS! A Stradivarius and violin lessons… horseback riding lessons… you know… you get the message. Something only grandma can give that will be special and give your child memories of grandma.

And that is how you couch it, my friend. “Mom, I don’t want her to remember you gave her stuff. That will only make her greedy. I want her to have memories with YOU.” Whether it’s art lessons they do together, or a weekly movie, starting a family library… ask your mom if you two can brainstorm so this is a win/win.

Quite frankly, we’re all a little nutty if you think about it. And some get easily hurt when generosity is not appreciated. Be glad you have a generous nut on your hands. Stingy ones are really awful. But find a way to channel it. Since she is your mom, you have a better way to talk about it than I had with MIL, where xh was trying to pit us against each other. So agree on an amount she can spend each week/month, and then agree what that will be spent on. With the option to change the item as your child grows. This would make your mom feel needed, important and bond her with your child, which is really what she wants. She could be spending all that money on herself. Instead, she really loves you and your family and is trying to help. Work with her.

Later my children told me that they began to expect gifts from MIL and when they got there the first thing they wanted to see was the gift, not their nana. They could see in retrospect that it wasn’t a good thing. You don’t want to turn your children into that.


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