Anthony and I love to shop at yard sales when we can. We’re a really frugal family who hates to pay full price for anything that can be had for less – and most things can be had for less. One of our newest hobbies is collecting old toys, especially well made, wooden automobiles, trains, and little play sets that activate the imaginations of kids. One of our latest additions was a 1972 Mattel’s Putt Putt train set. We bought it for $2 at a yard sale recently, along with a large amount of small wooden blocks. Our kids are ecstatic! They love the blocks, trains and cars and will sit on the living room floor and play with them for hours. Anthony and I join them often and play right alongside them.
Honestly, I never saw myself becoming a toy collector, but I’m really enjoying it! It’s so much fun to research where the toys came from, how they were made, what the complete set looks like, and the original cost of the toy when it was purchased new. It’s a delight to rediscover the past this way, but also to embrace well-made toys, rather than some of the “fluff” that is sold in toy stores these days. It never ceases to amaze me how quickly brand new toys will fall apart and break once taken out of the package. Why do we waste our money on these things? We’re now in the slow process of completing several play sets for birthdays and Christmas. As we collect more of the well made toys, we’re selling some of our kids’ plastic toys (with their enthusiastic permission) because they’re not playing with them. The more plastic toys we sell, the more well made toys we make room for.
Some of our collections include:
- 1972 Mattel’s Putt Putt train set (Ebay link for those interested in seeing it)
- 1981 Bluebird Toys The Big Yellow Tea Pot set (from UK) – yes, it’s plastic, however, it’s high quality and follows higher standards of production and safety than most toys sold in the U.S. (Ebay link for those interested in it)
- Old wooden, hand carved cars, trucks, trains, etc. We pick them up, knowing they’re hardier and better for constant indoor play than matchbox cars. Also, the larger sizes are easier for small hands to pick up and navigate.
- Vintage Barbie dolls, clothes, furniture and her more recent friends and pets (we don’t keep the small shoes, accessories and hair brushes though. Those get sold almost immediately, rather than risk getting sucked up in the vacuum or sifted out of the dog’s food bowl.)
What about you? What do you collect?