Damn you, Toy Story.

Like most families who aren’t Amish, hiding in a bunker or employees of Nickelodeon, our family loves Disney movies. Princesses, beasts, witches, sea-urchins, talking jungle animals – we love them all. 

In 1995, Disney blew our minds with Toy Story. If you were a parent then, you’ll remember how astounded you were by the computer animation and how appreciative you were by the clever and witty script, which made watching it 489 times a year a lot more enjoyable. Like every other parent and child in a First World country, we loved it. Still do.

After Toy Story 2 was released in 1999, Thing 1 was obsessed with Jessie and carried her little Jessie doll around with her everywhere. We used to laugh about how one day poor little Jessie would be lost and forgotten under the bed while Thing 1 would be chatting on the phone or painting her nails, and thought it was funny to recreate the movie and make her Jessie doll sing “When Somebody Loved Me”.

Until it happened…and it wasn’t.

And then came Toy Story 3 and plunged daggers in the hearts of mothers with growing up kids everywhere. Seriously, that movie caused more depression amongst middle aged women than the break-up of Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston. And besides reducing us to tears by holding a mirror up to our own children’s disenchantment with the toys that had defined their childhoods and the fact that they were growing up, it turned us into hoarders.

That’s right. Toy Story 3 is directly responsible for this:

What you can’t see are the 50 smaller ones at the bottom of the pile…and the other two tubs of them in the closet.


And this.

Sidenote: This is only a small portion of the playroom. There are at least 80 more Barbies, Barbie paraphernalia, and assorted Playmobil structures behind me (as well as a few more empty Goldfish bags). And can I just mention that the 11yo has not touched a Barbie in about a year? We’ve always told people that our fourth bedroom belongs to our third daughter, “Barbie”, and I’m embarrassed to admit that for the last year the door has remained closed. 

Glad she’s had some Goldfish to snack on. 

For the past week Husband and I have been cleaning out the toy closet in the basement (oh yes, there’s more) since pretty much everything that’s stored there hasn’t been touched in years. Polly Pockets, puzzles, baby dolls that haven’t been held since 2005, blocks, playhouses and tunnels, tubs of plastic Disney princesses, Duplos, Legos and enough stuffed animals to fill an ark have been separated into piles of “Things to donate”, “Things to throw away” and “Things to keep” (thank you Hoarders for that helpful lesson in reduction).

The “Donate” pile has been an easy one to make thanks to our best three year old friend who has been happy to take a good portion of it. The things she doesn’t want (and that held no special meaning) will find new homes via the Goodwill.

The “Throw away” pile has produced three entire tubs full of broken electronics and old markers and games with missing pieces and cheap figures with no homes.
In a related note, it seems my kids have eaten at least 1,094 Happy Meals in the past 17 years.

The “Keep” pile is tricky. If the toy is a well-worn favorite that has a monumental memory attached to it, it stays (e.g., the first Beanie Baby; the 64th Beanie Baby; Bitty Baby and just about every outfit made for her from 1997-2003).  If it was something that was one of the Things’ absolute favorite things to play with and something we could see our grandchildren playing with one day (in the far away future), it also stays (e.g., Fisher Price Dollhouse + every accessory; all 38 My Little Ponies).

Sounds easy, right?
It would be, sure, if it weren’t for that damned Toy Story.

Every time I pick up anything with eyes, I hear Jessie saying, “You never forget kids like Emily or Andy, but they forget you.”
Cue “When Somebody Loved Me”.
And my tears.

And then I think of poor Bo Peep and Wheezy and how sad the rest of the toys probably were when they got put in the “donate” pile…or wherever it was they ended up.


And then this happens.

Suffocation free. At least they can all see out now, even the stupid ones that I hate (I’m looking at YOU, ugly carnival panda).

But even I realize that it’s impossible to keep all the “Things to Keep” things out where they can see and breathe (shut up), so sadly the baby dolls, the My Little Ponies and about eight other tubs full of favorite things have been entombed.

An hour later I cut tiny air holes in the lid.
Nah, I didn’t, but now that I think about it, it’s not such a bad idea.
And the irony of the two Babblin’ Boo dolls (Monster’s Inc.) is not lost on me.

We’re making (slow) progress, but I hope that by mid-summer “Barbie’s room” becomes a study/writing/reading room with fresh paint, colorful chairs and zero Barbie shoes to step on.
The 136 Barbies and the orphanage of American Girl dolls in that room are trembling.

But at least Jessie is still watching over Thing 1 from her perch up on the bookshelf.

Even if she is covered with 1/4″ of dust and her head is held on with a toothpick.
She’s got the boys from One Direction as her bodyguards now, so she’s pretty happy.

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  • Alison Sommer - awww, what a sweet post. My kids are still in the accumulating toys stage, but I’m now a little sad thinking about how one day they’ll grow up and stop playing with their dolls and we’ll have to go through this process ourselves…ReplyCancel

    • Michelle - It comes sooner than you’d ever think. My advice? Get rid of the things that they outgrow or don’t play with anymore — quickly. If you wait too long you’ll start to tell yourself that those toys love it here and they’ll be so sad to leave.
      And no, I don’t need help (contrary to what you are surely thinking).ReplyCancel

  • sarah30000 - Sometimes when my daughter is ready to get rid of something I secretly keep it in my own tub of old dolls. Or I flat out tell her I want her to keep it. I’m pretty sure in about 5 years I’m going to have a pretty impressive personal collection of LalaLoopsy dolls…ReplyCancel

  • Dyanne @ I Want Backsies - I can’t hear you. LA LA LA LA LA LA. (My baby boy is going to college in the fall – what will become of Boo Kitty and blankie?!)ReplyCancel

    • Michelle - Stop.It.
      I have a year left before my older one flies the coop and I can’t even think of it. I’m so worried that if she takes Snowman and PoohBear (her WORN faves she’s had since she was a baby) to college her roommate will think it’s funny to do something horrible to them, etc. But I also can’t bear the thought of her being without them.
      Keep me posted on what (and how) you do.

      And also, I adore that your son has a “Boo Kitty”.ReplyCancel

  • Teri Biebel - Laughing and crying here. First of all, confession time: Hubby and I saw Toy Story when it came out in 1995 and were the only childless couple in the theater. Our oldest didn’t come til 1997. But we loved it and still do. Laughing at the mess because those pics may as well have been taken in my house. Crying because that damn song ALWAYS gets me. I cry EVER. DAMN. TIME.

    Why in God’s name do you have 2 Babblin’ Boos???

    And do you have ALL FIVE 1D dolls??? Don’t tell my girls please.ReplyCancel

    • Michelle - Yeah, don’t even get me started with that song. Especially now.

      About the Babblin’ Boos…I’m glad you asked. Thing 1 was CRAZY for hers when she was like seven (it talked). Thing 2 was only a year old but always wanted her big sister’s doll BADLY. Big sister didn’t like that idea very much. Christmas came around and boom. Thing 2 gets her very own Babblin’ Boo. Problem solved. However, then I had to listen to TWO Boos and their baby talk all.day.long.

      And no, those are the only 2 1D dolls. They’re just collector’s items…and bodyguards (obviously).ReplyCancel

  • Meredith - I am dying. We aren’t yet at the age with my kiddos where we are trying to clear out piles of toys, but I can only imagine. Am throwing out Toy Story now in hopes that this will help…but I think I’m still screwed! Too funny!ReplyCancel

  • Amy FunnyIsFamily - We just love toys until they die, and if they have some life left in them we give them away. Not to a toy-hating daycare, but to a neighborhood kid or a younger cousin. To be loved again. I have a three year old who would love those toys (not the stuffed animals…keep that shit away from my house). Just sayin. 😉ReplyCancel

  • Jessica Grimes - Stopping by from Honest Mom and not sure whether to laugh or cry at this post because I totally recognize myself 🙂 My oldest is a boy, my youngest is a girl, and we’re hitting the stage where she doesn’t want to play w/his boy hand-me-down toys anymore – she wants all the dolls and princess stuff. So all of his old Matchbox cars and (yes) Toy Story toys are collecting dust in my basement for now. I can’t bear to get rid of them. Like you, I hear Jessie’s voice in the back of my head.ReplyCancel

  • dayslifedreams - First, I love your blog name. 🙂

    Second, I am not someone to get attached to toys, and I have found my kids aren’t either. I recently gave away all the baby Fisher Price toys because they were no longer being used, even by my toddler. My kids don’t have very many toys, and each one only has one or two that are special to them. For my son it’s his plastic animal collection. He plays with those daily, making farms or zoos, or caravan trains. For my 4 year old daughter it’s her stuffed toys and dolls that she has had since birth, and for the 2 year old it’s her baby doll. The rest of the stuff – blocks, Legos, tea set, etc. – don’t get so much use.
    In a way it’s good, because we will be moving to Canada within the next year and won’t be able to bring most of the stuff with us. They already know that we will only be keeping the absolute favorites. They are already planning what they want to get when we go there. The 4 year old wants a large dollhouse, they all want a large rocking horse (just got rid of the old broken one they had since my oldest was a toddler), and I want a playroom for them so that I don’t have toys around the house. 🙂 In my dreams.

    Visiting from Honest Mom blog hop.ReplyCancel

  • Funnygirl2004 - I could have written this post. I am glad to know I am not the only horder mom in the world!ReplyCancel

  • yourfriendrobin - I am actually pretty good about culling toys/other kids stuff. I hate cleaning them up so I get rid of things pretty quick. Plus, you know, donating is good… helping people and all that. So it’s win/win.

    The other day I was picking up a drawing of a “helicopter” my almost-three-year-old drew to throw away. (Sorry, I know some moms are cringing, but I don’t save every picture.) Anyway he balked. That’s my special helicopter, we have to save it!! He’s just like his Papa!!ReplyCancel

  • Darcy Perdu - Funny post and I can relate! I’ve been saving drawings, papers, and mementos for my kids in Memory Files since they were babies. Let’s just say if they every become famous, I have enough material for 87 “Behind the Scenes VH1 Specials!” Also I love your title,”Damn You, Toy Story” because I posted something on my blog this week called “Damn You, Disney” about the unexpected culprit in a mystery with my daughter. So I guess we’re both damning Disney these days! And we’re probably not alone! Ha! :o)

  • Character Assassination Carousel » You're My Favorite Today - […] were both too old for them, and like the tubs of favorite stuffed animals and creepy-eyed dolls I cannot get rid of, my basement is brimming with boxes of children’s […]ReplyCancel

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