I Took Away My Daughter’s Toys – Week One Journal


It’s been a week since I removed all my daughter’s toys from her room and our basement.  She’s still “ok” too.

My sister asked her how she felt, her response, “I like it!”  I think she was relieved not to have to clean up all those toys all the time.  Now the amount she’s asked for back is manageable.  It only took 5 minutes to straighten up her room.  Here is what she wanted back:

  • American Girl Dolls – Addy and Sadie
  • American Girl Doll Clothes
  • A Barbie
  • Pretend Hair Tools
  • Stuffed Animals – specific ones asked for by name or description.

You may recall from my first article, that I didn’t want this to be a punishment for my daughter.  I described it as an experiment.  That’s how I want to keep it.  I want to learn whether or not she really remembers everything that cluttered her floor.  To me, if she remembers them and asks for them, she really does care about them.  It’s not just another thing to be had.

Since taking away her toys, she has designed a ‘table and cups’ for her stuffed animal tea party and thought up her own science experiment.

kids tea party with animals
Tea Party! Who needs plastic food?

She wanted to put snow and food coloring in jars to see what happened.  She mixed, shook and observed for at least an hour.

snow experiment for kids
Snow Experiment

Since she didn’t have her doll bed, she improvised with an extra pillow.

stuffed animal on pillow
No, Doll Bed? Use a Pillow!

Our neighbor invited her for a play date.  We started a new chapter book series; she even let me read to her for over an hour one night!

kids book
We Started a New Chapter Book Series

There is evidence of reading in her book nook and she made a path into the woods to a new house.

kids messy bookshelf
Evidence of Reading
outside with snow
Into the Woods We Go

And most of her bins remain empty.  The last time she asked for a toy was five days ago.

empty bins of toys
Two Bins Are Still Empty

Now the response from others has varied.  My husband was thrilled; again to avoid the mess of toys.  Many have said they want to do the same thing, but haven’t yet.  Mom MW said, “I soooo want to do this…today! Kara’s room keeps becoming a disaster and she doesn’t really use any of it and rarely plays in her room. I can barely stand to walk by the door and I always break down and clean it myself just because I can’t take it anymore but within a few days it is right back to the mess. Thanks for the inspiration!

Someone said I will turn her into a hoarder. 

I truly believe my daughter and our family will benefit from this experiment.  If I thought it would cause her harm, I wouldn’t have done it.  Overall, the lesson I want to be learned is ‘things’ aren’t what make us happy or should be our desire in life.  Experiences are what we should look forward to.  My next experiment might be to take the money I would spend on a random toy and put it into our vacation savings.  I will continue to buy her gifts for her birthday, Christmas and other holidays, but I want to control the overexposure of possessions.


  1. Keri, Great post and great idea.

    We do a version of this. My daughter is almost 5 and we have never bought her a lot of toys other than for holidays and birthdays. On her birthday which is in the summer, we typically get her a big gift like a bike or scooter.

    On a weekly basis, my husband will play the keep, throw or recycle game with her in which they go through all the stuff she has brought home from school and little nick-knacks she has collected throughout the week. She decides with my husband’s guidance on things that are important to her and what she wants to get rid of. She has consistently surprised us both by how much she is willing to get rid of. We also do this with her toys about 2 times a year.

    The result has been a house that is not over taken by her toys. Her room is always clean since she does not have a million things to put away and our living space does not have toys strewn all over it. She is also very creative with her play and will make up games with stuff around the house.

    I have recently instituted special chores that I will pay her a small amount of money on a weekly basis. That is money that she can use to buy toys or whatever she wants and it is nice to see that she wants to save up to get something bigger and more substantial rather than spending it the minute she earns it.

    I bet your daughter will continue to impress you with how little she needs those toys.


    • Rey, I love the idea of doing this weekly. Whenever my daughter comes home from school, I sort through the paperwork and pick what to keep. I should involve her more in the process because she will occasionally get mad at me for throwing something away. Thanks for the inspiration to continue with this project.



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