Our house is full to bursting with toys

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Now that the clocks have turned back one hour and the evenings are darker, I’m starting to think more and more about Christmas and, more specifically, presents.

I’ve already driven past several houses in Portsmouth and have seen tinsel, Christmas trees and moving Santa’s waving at me from the windows.

But this year I have decided to take a new approach to present buying for my two daughters.

To be honest, it’s about time we had a clear out of toys and it needs to happen before the big day in December arrives.

Since Caitlin was born in 2009, she’s enjoyed three birthdays and three Christmas Days.

Her little sister has experienced just one of each.

With a big family they have both already accumulated a large set of toys.

These toys take up room in our house and I’m slowly running out of space to store them.

The cupboards are full, behind the sofa is already taken and under the bed has started to fill up.

And right now, my daughters are only one and three years old, so as time moves on and we get through more birthdays and Christmases, I fear we’ll have to get rid of essential household items – like the washing machine or the oven – just to free-up more storage space for the endless amount of toys.

What’s interesting is that on the present receiving days, when the toy is first discovered after the wrapping paper has been ripped off, the joy is clear to see on their faces.

The look of curiosity soon turns into a big grin.

They then look my way to remove that annoying hard-to-tear off plastic from around the toy so that they can play with it right there and then.

But I’ve learnt that this enthusiasm doesn’t always last very long and sometimes doesn’t last at all.

There are some items that were well and truly worth the money, like the Jack-in-the-box.

No matter how many times the lid pops open and surprises Alyssa, she laughs every single time.

And for Caitlin it’s her educational toy laptop, which she will sit at and learn from for hours.

But then there are things like the huge, almost larger than me teddy bear that sits in the corner of Caitlin’s bedroom and just gathers dust, and the Play-Doh that makes far too much mess but only seems to keep her interested for five minutes.

So this year, any potential toys will have to pass the simple one question test – will it actually get played with more than once?

Most of the time this will be guess work but hopefully it will save us a few quid in the process.

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