Collecting Toys…while having kids.


Before having a kid, the most asked question I’d get was, “how’s that going to work with your toy collection?” My basement is filled with vintage toys, some valuable, some still in original boxes. I joked that I’d just never let the kid in the basement until he was eighteen, at which point I’d reveal we had a secret room in the house.

But kids come with a million of their own things, and soon the basement was quickly becoming the hottest real estate on the market for where the Fisher Price Go Go Smart Wheels Construction Set might live.

So, here’s a quick guide on How To Collect Toys with an Actual Child:

Boxed stuff: up high. Pray the child’s growth slows down until he gains self-control. So far the ratio of height to self-control is in a dangerous tipping zone.

Stuff arranged neatly on shelves: Abandon all ye hope. I now keep stuff somewhat arranged in little piles.

Open vintage toys: may God have mercy on them. I let him play with them, as I figure they’ve already survived their first childhood of abuse. What’s another one?

Bins of choking hazards (MUSCLE, Micro Machines, other little toys): So far shaking my head and saying no sadly every time he goes near the drawer has surprisingly worked, as if it’s something that just doesn’t exist. Saying NO with urgency (as though he were imminently about to burn himself or break open his head) just makes him want to do whatever it is more. Saying it sadly, maybe adding in a frown and hurt eyes for emphasis makes him think it’s a bin of sadness. No one wants a bin of sadness, not even a two year old.

Everything Else: “It’s collectible.” Shockingly, this has worked. There is nothing sadder than when he points to the original Ninja Turtle Party Wagon Van (in box) and exclaims, “COLLECTIBLE TRUCK! COLLECTIBLE TRUCK!” Then he backs up, stares at it somewhat longingly, and then goes back to puttering around with his other trucks.

True story, I just heard him in the other room gleefully shouting COLLECTIBLE! and ran into the room with dread, imagining I might find him pulling my records out onto the floor. Nope, he was just pointing at a Ninja Turtle commercial on TV. I am so…. proud. I think.

11 thoughts on “Collecting Toys…while having kids.

  1. Wow, your kid sounds pretty smart! It’s too bad you weren’t able to pull of the secret basement. My grandmother had a locked room in her basement that we weren’t allowed in that had all kinds of cool stuff. It was so fun when we were older and finally got to go in there to explore. And it wasn’t even full of toys!

  2. I have a large collection of Transformers. None of them are mint in box (well, except for a few duplicates), they have all been taken out and transformed a few times. My son, who is now 8, is allowed to play with some of them. Some of the more expensive or complex ones (like the Masterpiece editions) require supervision.
    When he was younger, they mostly stayed on high shelves or in bins (I don’t have room to have them all out anyway), but I still let him play with some of the simpler ones.

  3. Oh man. I love every bit of this.

    I was dusting a shelf once when I said to my daughter, “Don’t mess with that stuff…those aren’t toys. Well, they’re toys, but not toys to play with.” Any time I come home with anything new, all three of my kids are trained at this point: “Cool! Wait…are we keeping that or selling that?”

  4. oh, so true so true…I don’t have any children myself, but my BFF’s son comes over to my haus and always asks if he can go into my bedroom to ‘look and see but not touch’ my ‘special shelf toys’…he mostly obeys the ‘do not touch the collectibles’ rule, but every now and then he finds himself not being able to contain himself, and pulls down one of my unboxed figurines (he knows not to even THINK about even breathing in the direction of those that are MIP) then feels guilty for having not resisted the urge to hold said toy in his hands, and brings it back to me with a sad little 6 year old face and apologizes and informs me that he knows he shouldn’t have played with a collectible, and he wanted to put it back, but forgot where it goes and didn’t want to accidently put it back in the incorrect place……i want to get mad, but just CAN’T….when I was his age I got into one of my moms friends collectible toys and got in SO much trouble for it…so I TOTALLY see it from both sides now….
    he also points and screams ‘that ones collectible! don’t touch!’ at the tv sometimes when a commercial for the modern day version of something either me or his father collect…it’s precious as fuck!

  5. Oh nice, are those your Amiibo or some picture off the internet? I just popped open some of my special Zelda ones today (imported from Japan!..) and scanned ’em into Breath of the Wild. I have over 600 Nintendo games (NES through Switch), and whenever anyone asks me if I’m going to sell them, I simply say “well, someone will be happy when I croak.” And it makes me sad. No kid yet, wife didn’t pan out, so back to the drawing board.

    Just a man alone with himself. And toys.

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