Divesting Assets In A Non-Profit Subsidiary

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Categories Products, Toddlers

And I’m not even talking about work here. No, it’s about the stuff in our home leading to The Incredibly Shrinking House. I accept responsibility for my overpurchases, previously justified by some “need” for the kids. My latest purchase? A custom cut-mirror (think Montessori) for the playroom. And another child-size chair for learning how to eat at their child-size table.

I ascribe to many of the basic tenants of Montessori – simple, non-brightly colored, non-battery operated toys that allow a child to explore and discover without a button or sound that prescribes exactly what should happen with said object as the child passively observes. This is not to say that we don’t have brightly colored, battery operated toys, because holy crap do we! I think it’s more of wanting to have a more simple, Montessor-like environment because it looks cleaner and provides suitable justification for purging the house of plastic objects, and promotes independence.

Big Brother
A keeper toy: wooden push-cart. well, and we’ll keep the kids, too.

But no matter my intentions, the more commercially available objects still find their way into our home. And if I’m guilty by reason of insanity for acquiring those objects, then friends and family are complicit. They are the reason we now have four walker/ride-on toys, three sit and spin four-legged creatures, five different sets of Little People things, and a fleet of flexible cars, trucks, and trains.

All I’m trying to get to here is that one day, we wake up, and we’re humming the tunes to any number of toys and there’s no more storage space for “rotating” them in and out, and the two moms are having a little tiff over all the shit everywhere even though technically, it’s all put away in it’s proper place.

Prior to their first birthday, when we got to this brink, I’d simply put the objects, the objects purchased from Craigslist or our mother’s of multiples group, back up for sale on Craigslist or through my mother’s of multiples group. That was easy, because more often than not, we had actually made the purchase. Dust to dust and all that. Turns out, by the time I resell a toy and net the initial purchase cost from the sale cost, , I’ve essentially “rented” it for a period of time, only expending about 0%-10% of its retail price. Wicked.

Post first-birthday, however, I’m not sure what to do with a lot of the stuff, but all I know is that we can’t keep it all either because we won’t use it, it’s a multiple, or because we simply don’t have the storage space.

I could sell it (my preference – need diapers), but do I need to tell the gifter that? And if I don’t, but they come around asking “does Mateo like the SMART bounce and spin pony, the one that interacts WIRELESSLY with the television?”, (I am not even kidding.) THEN what? Or I could donate it, donate it with some batteries to an organization that will ultimately hand it out to someone in need who may or may not have additional batteries and may or may not have a wireless router. Or I could hang onto it like the Bibles received as gifts over the years (I was a Young Life’r and I went to Baylor University for undergrad so HELLO? BIBLES.) Because I mean seriously, how do you throw away a Bible? But I digress.

And when you conclude that yes, you’ll keep one, maybe even two battery-operated walker/push-toy car-ish thingies, what is the criteria for deciding which one(s) will face the firing squad? Is it how little (or how much) sound it makes? Color neutrality (we have boy/girl twins)? Toughness of the plastic? Fewest Batteries? The taller ones so they can grow into?

How do YOU go about addressing the multiple-objects-of-the-same-basic-thing, provided you do NOT have space to store and rotate out fourteen sets of nesting boxes? And what, if anything, do you tell the gifter?

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9 thoughts on “Divesting Assets In A Non-Profit Subsidiary”

  1. I say get rid of whatever you want! It would not hurt my feelings in the slightest if a gift I gave to my nephews was not in the house six months later. In fact, I would be happy if my sister were able to sell it and use the money for diapers! Or even a bottle of wine! :)

  2. We addressed this by setting up an Amazon wish list for the boys, or we are frank ahead of time with people about it. I know people want to give gifts that the boys will love, so I try to help people along by picking out educational stuff I know the boys will like. And if people want to spend more (like the grandparents), we ask for museum memberships or stuff we need like swimming towels and pool toys.

    It’s hard though, to not offend people. We take it case by case, talking to people individually who we know are going to send gifts.

  3. We have the pony you speak of. It is in our basement, wirelessly attached to … nothing. The boys will take turns sitting and bouncing on it while Mommy or Daddy changes the laundry from the washer to the dryer. We told the grandparents not to buy it so I don’t feel too badly.

    But to answer your question about what to do with the stuff you have, I say sell it if you’ve got it as long as you spend the money you earn on something else for the kids (diapers, as you mentioned). We are moving at the end of this month and will be having the mother of all tag sales. Anything we don’t sell on that day will be donated.

    We’ve taken the idea LauraC just presented of asking for things like memberships or money towards lessons (swimming, Music Together, etc.) because, let’s face it, even with a 10% off the second child discount, some of those things can get quite pricey when you’re dealing with multiples.

  4. I was doing very well not aquiring too many toys until recently. DD’s first birthday was in another state so most gifts she got where small. 1 American Girl doll, 1 Pink Chair to sit in and everything else was clothing books, cd’s and small stuffed animals (the american girl doll is in the closet as it’s the older kind which is not age appropriate yet).

    I have finally aquired a few wants (Radio Flyer Wagon, Walker Car thingy for outside, water/sand table) so my outside most certainly needs no more toys and inside well I’ve done very well not buying too much (my husband thinks I have too much, I would love for him to see some other houses). We have way to many stuffed animals, that is the one item I buy far too much of. I try to stick to sitcker books, chalk and bubbles for little purchases, and of course BOOKs. We love books in our house. I got her the little kids table (wooden!) and a little kitchen (wooden!) and I’m very pleased with that.

    Now that she is nearing 2yo and we live near our MIL things are getting a bit out of hand, I hate the junky plastic stuff people buy, all made in China. I like wooden toys and that’s one way I’ve kept from buying too much, the wooden stuff is pricey. I also buy a lot of stuff for her on etsy.com and again it’s more pricey then the toy stores, I’ve gotten her some felt fruit and veggies and also i stick to her “age” so I only buy toys for her age which SERIOUSLY restricts things (good!) Most of the wooden food is for 3+, in fact most toys people want to buy are for 3+ and as DD is 20 m onths old that has helped us a lot. Most of the 3+ age restrictions are for safety not development anyway (most people think it’s the other way around though I have no idea why).

    So by sticking to the age requirments, and trying to only buy wooden things it’s really kept me from getting to much. Obviously we have plastic outside as that seems to hold up the best and we really can’t afford the wooden bigger stuff.

  5. We maintain a wish list at wishlist.com with things we’ve deemed appropriate gifts and made it well know that books are always a great gift as well as anything that will be used up in short order (crayons, stickers, coloring books, etc) and thus not create more clutter in our life are our preferred gifts. Almost everyone respects this. We don’t get many large items as gifts for the girls unless they were pre-approved by us, but I wouldn’t hesitate to sell anything that they’ve outgrown, didn’t suit us, or was a duplicate.

  6. we deal with the double ups and out grows slightly differently. We ask the giver if they want anything in particular done with the gift.
    go in the yard sale or donated to the local kids hospital?
    two choices too easy.
    Same goes for clothes etc. I don’t ask for what we’d prefer the kids to have simply because they get those things from us, it’s fun for them to get almost “gasp” contraband stuff from others.
    I do take at least one photo of the kids playing with every gift clothes/toys/books it makes me feel better about off loading the excess

  7. Our birthday party invitation includes a request that the girls not get presents. They have plenty of STUFF! People who are really uncomfortable with attending a party without dropping cash have been asked to donate to the March of Dimes.

    My mother-in-law, who’s our biggest gift-giver, is pretty good at sticking to clothes or educational toys, and she fully supports my preference for passing things on to friends or through Freecycle when we no longer use them.

  8. give it all away! that is what i say.

    no, just kidding. we recently purged their toy area and were pretty ruthless, leaving only their train sets, legos and a few sentimentals for me. we donated a lot and then tossed the stuff they really took their time dismantling.

    they thing with the flashy stuff is it works for five minutes then they spend a lot of time requesting that you fix it. arg. for the second year we received tons of clothes and books, as requested. thank god.

    pretty soon they will be at the stage of manipulation with focus and effort and the flashy stuff gets a lot less interesting.

  9. I have too many toys in our house too. A playroom and they take over the living room. One thing that happens is if we get duplicate items one goes to Grammy’s house for her to keep when the boys stay with her. She is allowed to give me back whatever for me to sell in the MOMs consignment sale when she doesn’t want it anymore. I have no problem with someone selling a gift I give their kid if they let their kid play with it awhile first. I don’t give big things without checking with the parents. Let them play with it a couple months then sell it. No biggie.

    I am the kind of mom that wants my kids to have the biggest, coolest and nicest toys. So I don’t mind having so many. It keeps them out of my hair a couple days everytime they get a new toy! I don’t mind the loud ones either as long as they enjoy it. I do have a problem with people giving age inappropriate toys. Don’t give my 6 month old a puzzle with small chokeable pieces!!! I don’t want to store it for 3 years!!! Those get regifted.

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