View Full Version : Considering having a mega downsize of resources - anyone regretted this?

11-03-2012, 08:58 AM
Hi everyone,

I'm feeling constrained by all the stuff I have in storage in both my lounge and my garage (ten large trug crates of resources from baby toys all the way through to seasonal resources, then loads of craft things, and a whole bookshelf full of pussles and games to rotate) in the lounge I have 16-20 boxes/baskets out with things in. I am seriously thinking about selling loads of things and then being more spontaneous and creative again with what I have as often the things seem to be played with for very short times and my smallish house is being taken over by childminding even though I have just one mindee at present three days a week! My question is - has anyone done this and then regretted it? It has taken me four years to build up these resources from boot sales, ebay etc etc and once gone then they are gone!! I wanted to put the money raised towards a large set of community playthings unit blocks that would support lots of EYFS areas and lots of different play scenarios... things like my light panel get used so rarely it seems a waste to keep it really!

Any thoughts to help me out?

jen x

11-03-2012, 09:02 AM
I cant offer any advice hun but will read this with interest as I am exactly the same!! Ive reached a point where the playroom doesnt have a massive amount of room to play in due to all the stuff but on the other hand Im not sure what Id want to get rid of/put away etc. All the things in my garage and shed are very rarely touched and I had wondered about working on a theory that if they arent used for x amount of time then we dont need them but I tried this once with some baby things as I didnt have any babies and then had two baby enquiries within two months of getting rid of them!

I keep going through my boxes too (things such as boxes of cars etc) to see if I can make them smaller but never want to get rid of any of them as Child A likes that one and Child B prefers this one....it just goes on and on!!

Hope someone comes along with some good suggestions!!xx

11-03-2012, 09:06 AM
I have got rid of quite a lot this last year I want less plastic and have given away lots of the dolls, cars, noisy toys etc - I dont miss any off it and am considering having another clear out - only trouble is I am a bit of a resource addict and have bought a lot of wooden resources instead so I'm no better off space wise :rolleyes:

miss mopple
11-03-2012, 09:35 AM
Jen you are the queen of creative thinking! Whittle down and the kids will play in so much more imaginative ways with the resources you do have.

I culled loads when we moved and it really isn't missed. I kept the favourite ones of course, but it feels so good to have less in the house :thumbsup:

11-03-2012, 09:35 AM
I have tonnes of toys that are boy orientated as I have 2 sons. I got rid of most of my baby toys so when I started childminding had to build up again. Having said that the children I've had have mainly been in the 2 /3 year old range rather than infants. I rotate what I have too and recently had a clear out of less used items and duplicates. Like for some reason we had masses of airplanes and helicopters so I thinned them down to the favourites. We also had masses of trucks and cars so again I thinned them out. I then looked at what I didn't have and built on that. My DO had pointed out I lacked girls toys and diversity toy so I sourced them from charity shops.
My playhouse was dirty and a bit worse for wear so I bought a second hand one that I scrubbed up and then scrubbed up the old one and sold that on.
Maybe you could try just having a clear out of one thing - like plastic toys and aim to get rid of one box - you're not going completely gung-ho about the whole thing then and can reassess what you need to get rid of / invest in next. It will also be less of a time-consuming task too!

11-03-2012, 09:50 AM
I have been reading up on de-cluttering as part of something I am currently writing and it is a very interesting subject.

Some childminders have found themselves marked down by local authorities which use FCCERS and ECCERS to grade their service because they are not offering sufficient choice or duplicates etc.

However Ofsted are fine with it according to letter written by Liz Elsom on the Elizabeth Jarman site about communication friendly spaces (TM).

I have found from reading Ofsted reports that inspectors like to see toys children can easily access in labelled boxes - they don't have a problem with resources being rotated if the children have free choice (photo albums or choice books) of what they want out.

However there are some parts of provision (reading, mark making, music, dance, art etc) that should always be freely available to ensure you are linking learning with all the areas of learning and development.

You could make changes as part of an ongoing improvement project - audit your provision against the areas of learning of the Eyfs, show how you have involved parents and children, carry out obs to see what is currently being used, make decisions based on their comments and the spaces available etc.

Document it all with photos and put it in a file for Ofsted / parents etc to show your commitment to continuous professional development.

Hth :D

11-03-2012, 10:08 AM
I am in the process of a massive declutter and it's great! I haven't missed a single thing I've got rid of and neither have the children.

With my own children and childminding I have been building up resources for over 21 years. That's a lot of stuff.

I have made quite a lot of money so far which is mainly being used on re-vamping the outdoor play space.

11-03-2012, 10:15 AM
Do you think it's the weather? lol Had exactly the same idea this week.

11-03-2012, 11:19 AM
If the resources haven't been used for some time them you probably won't miss them. Maybe have a car-boot sale now the weather's picking up and see how you go with it. Good luck :thumbsup:

11-03-2012, 12:38 PM
I am about to do the same. I have too much stuff. I will be culling over the next few weeks.

11-03-2012, 01:05 PM
i had a massive delcutter after christmas and got rid of quite a lot of stuff especialy the big happy street buildings and things like that, now all the toys I have are in the play room in 4 draw storage towers, one unit is filled with things like pine cones, plastic containers, loo rolls, peices of materials etc and the rest with toys such as building blocks, small world people, and construction toys.
the childrne are now far more creative and imagintive in their play using blocks to build the houses and the material to cover the wooden dolls house and make mats in it etc.
I only have a couple of battery musical toys now and have a lot m ore puzzles.
I am definatly glad i did it and they dont seem to miss the old stuff.

11-03-2012, 01:24 PM
Interesting replies - thanks everyone! maybe it is the weather LOL!

I decluttered plastic and electronic toys about three years ago and we have mainly wooden things but I have a garage, a kitchen, a doll house, a farm etc that are all wooden and they take up loads of space and when I looked back over learning journeys I realised that the children mainly use the hollow wooden blocks to build a garage, a kitchen , a doll house, a farm when they want it and the ready made ones are rarely used - the collection of baby doll things has gotten out of hand too! the light box isn't used if it stays out and so we use it for all of a few weeks every year - I saw some ideas for making a light box for exploration that was a temporary setup so could ustilise that and have some space back! They already play very open-endedly so I'm thinking of mainly keeping those things.

Sarah thanks for the inside nod on decluttering - I try and keep my local authority well out of my house if I can as i don't need their stressful way of approaching things and their negativity! I have labelled segrass baskets in ikea units for the children to access themselves, but don't have a photo book of all resources - is that really necessary or can I rotate things according to observed needs? involving parents is a good idea to make it a setting development thing - how would you suggest that is done? through a questionnaire? Newsletter? i only have one child at present and it all feels a little false doing letters etc - I've had the little girl since she was 4 months and they are like family!!!

I would spend any money raised on the community playthings blocks that I'll be playing with at the NEC on Friday!!!!

Thanks for the flattering comments Miss Mopple! :laughing:

Jen x

11-03-2012, 02:02 PM
With involving parents I was thinking more about if you have quite a few children and you can do a questionnaire and gather comments and get different viewpoints.

I suppose if there's only one child you'd just have a chat and ask if s/he comments about what she plays with at your house... favourite resources at home... thoughts on what you have available etc and take it from there.

I got some fab big blocks with a grant from Cheshire and the children love them! :D

blue bear
11-03-2012, 04:23 PM
I'm useless at de cluttering, I put 8 bin liners in the loft after Christmas and the only thing that's been asked for is the happy street train track. Everything else is heading for a car boot sale but dh will do the deed or I'll be getting it all back out again.

11-03-2012, 04:57 PM
i am on first name terms with the bloke at the tip this month! although i am interested in buying your light box:D Im doing a car boot sale in may with all the stuff we dont use/need anymore and im going to spend the proceeds on a weekend away with my family!:thumbsup:

11-03-2012, 05:33 PM
having moved 6 months ago, i have most of my toys in boxes upstairs and a selection downstairs, but i pretty much only have 2 yr olds, so what i have out suits them. i have lots of games etc for older children, plus masses of playmobil, that the older children have alwasy loved, its just not suitable currently.

i did sort through my cars and get rid of some, but sorted through the animals and only ended up identifying what animals i WANTED !!! :blush:

i do have a HUGE box of duplo, and only half of it out, and the same with the wooden train track. but every so often someone says they want something, and i go and rummage and get more out and i'm loathe to get rid of it! ( i did have a semi sort out before we moved, and again, as i unpacked! lots went to the school fair & charity shop, and i am amassing a pile to sell! )

i WILL declutter my toys! i have swapped all my dressing up for open ended fabric, hats etc, but the 'outfits; are soooo useful for school dress up days/plays/parties etc! :rolleyes: ... see, i have a good excuse to keep everything!!!:laughing:

11-03-2012, 05:44 PM
i am on first name terms with the bloke at the tip this month! although i am interested in buying your light box:D Im doing a car boot sale in may with all the stuff we dont use/need anymore and im going to spend the proceeds on a weekend away with my family!:thumbsup:

Now THAT's a great idea!!!! Don't let the taxman read it though - technically don't the resources belong to 'the business'?? Well if so you'd better expense your holiday then too!!!!!!! I will get in touch if i decide on booting out the light box - probably will though!!

Jen x

11-03-2012, 07:29 PM
Oh, I'm v tempted by the community playthings blocks - which set were you looking at? I've just bought one of their cosy space rooms and its v gorgeous! :)

I love the idea of decluttering... I've just tidied up what I have, but don't know where to start with decluttering and as my own kids, and the ones I mind are getting older then we're getting more toys (proper lego etc) - not less. But I still have 1 tiny and 1 of my big kids is leaving, so I'll need to get a new 1 yr old - so I can't get rid of baby toys either (ARGH!). I'm not helping am I? Sorry.

11-03-2012, 07:35 PM
No, you aren't LOL!!! My problem is that I carefully picked all the toys I kept after decluttering before - they all have clear cause and effect, many are wooden and most don't sing and dance so they are hard to pick through again as probably I would never find them again if I wanted them and changed my mind!! I think it's the quarter school set that I want - it is about £450 though so I need to sell a LOT of stuff to save that much!!

Jen x

11-03-2012, 08:07 PM
Now THAT's a great idea!!!! Don't let the taxman read it though - technically don't the resources belong to 'the business'?? Well if so you'd better expense your holiday then too!!!!!!! I will get in touch if i decide on booting out the light box - probably will though!!

Jen x

Oh no hunny, i wouldnt want to upset the tax man (and certain members who may jump down my throat !) im talking about things that my children have outgrown, not resources for childminding!;)

11-03-2012, 08:27 PM
It was said very tongue in cheek hun - plus my idea of buying more resources with the money i get from selling some brings the vlutter back again!!!!

Where ya gonna go then?

jen x

11-03-2012, 09:16 PM
Oh, that is a nice set - although quite big, I was worried about storage! I love the look of the hollow blocks too - lots of climbing fun to be had with those. I was thinking of buying a couple of the 'intro' sets and working my way up.

I saw the presentation by the Community Playthings people at the Nursery World exhibition (my son climbed straight up on stage with the presenter and started building! :blush:) and it was so inspiring. I was guilt-ridden, as we had masses of their blocks when I was teaching and they weren't used that much - certainly not for any of the exciting ideas they suggested. My husband and I came home saying 'we must buy some of those'... then saw the costs! Eeek!

They do some lovely -free- hand outs of ideas though - have you read 'I made a unicorn'? Its definitely block-porn! And would inspire you to sell and save up to buy more blocks. :)

11-03-2012, 09:30 PM
Its definitely block-porn! :)

I have read it and yes it is a fabukous book - I'm trying to save up for the bigger set in one go though as it will work out cheaper in the end - i have hollow blocks already,not from Community Playthings so not as good quality but they get loads of use and aren't as big as the CP set so easier to store! I'm planning to stash them in the open boxes of the storage I already have, at floor level so easy to pull out and tidy away!

There is a whole book about block play written about the Froebel block play project - so if you are into 'block porn' you would LOVE it!!! I'll look it out!

jen x

11-03-2012, 10:02 PM
Oooh, I've just googled books about blocks now, after reading your post. There are several listed here:


Is there one you could recommend? I'd love to know more about the 'theory' of it all. Oh and then I'd have to buy the blocks! :D

Good to know your hollow blocks are popular. I really do want to buy some, but whenever I look I get confused as to whether I should get mini hollow blocks, hollow blocks or unit blocks... before I even get onto size of set. There are too many choices!

Low level storage sounds good - then the kids can pack them away themselves. :) You're not going to invest another £400 on one of the custom built shelf units then?

11-03-2012, 10:14 PM
it's the 'Exploring Learning' one by P. Gura that I have - the green one - it's not really a bedtime book, it's quite heavy on the academic theory but fascinating reading if you're into it and shows how blockplay can cover all areas of learning in the EYFS. Some of the other books look good too - no i will not be buying the £400 storage unit!!!

I can't think where my hollow blocks were from as my brain is deadened by hours of ironing... when I remember I'll tell you - they aren't sized perfectly like the CP ones, for instance the half moon ones overhang the ends of the square ones a little but the children love playing with them none the less!

Jen x

12-03-2012, 07:26 PM
they aren't sized perfectly like the CP ones

Jen x

:) You do get quality with the CPs bricks don't you. I realised last night that they sold individual blocks and spent ages picking and choosing... then costed it up and realised they're quite a bit more expensive than the sets. :( It was so tempting to be able to buy 1 brick pw! :)

How many hollow blocks do you have in your set? And do you think they're more the size of the mini or big hollow CPs ones. I'm still wondering about which/what to get and wondering if its worth buying the small sets - or would they not get used as not enough...

12-03-2012, 09:02 PM
It was TTS I had mine from, I've remembered - these ones, but I'm sure I had the 40 piece set, it wasn't as much as that when I had mine.... They are all a bit bigger or smaller than A4 paper sized, so not the minis but not as big as the CP hollow ones - they are soooo big though they would need constant supervision with children under about four in case they fall from a height... they would do damage!

They are really good and the children use them indoors and out - I'm not precioue about them as they aren't CP ones but maybe that is good as they get to do more with them then and take them outdoors too!

When I'm saving for something then I 'ring fence' money for it. for example to visit my brother in Canada next summer I put away all my overnight earnings in a separate account so it adds up. Perhaps you could cut something out and put the money towards the bricks - borrow them from toy library in the meantime maybe?

Jen x