I used to hate toys.
I’d look up and see them everywhere. So, they were separated, organized, cleaned and tidied up. There was a place for everything. But out of sight did not mean out of mind. We don’t have a playroom, but have always done our best to tuck the toys away. I’m not sure that a playroom would solve the problem that I was having with these toys.
I know the importance of play in childhood. When I bought Legos, I did so knowing the benefits that they could bring. Our play kitchen is a tiny world on it’s own where pretend play rules and ‘hot meals’ are served on the hour. There’s no argument that playing can bring joy and toys are getting an educational makeover.
But can we do without so many?
We’ve all seen the signs that say ‘excuse the mess, my child is making memories’. I love those, and don’t get me wrong, I understand that with children our homes aren’t always spotless. I’m focusing on the amount of toys and how somewhere along the line we went overboard.
Have you heard of ‘toy timeout’? Some parents put a toy in ‘timeout’, a plastic bin out of reach where the child can see it, to be reminded to follow the rules and eventually get it back. We thought we’d give this a shot since it came highly recommended. We discovered something interesting immediately.
Our kids didn’t care.
They even started asking if other toys could join their friends in timeout. We realized toys weren’t missed. Not even the ones we thought were the big favorites, the ones our kids couldn’t do without. So we thought that if they don’t mind, and we don’t mind, then why do we keep buying all this? I can’t say if the ‘toy timeout’ worked or not, but it did bring change to our home.
Excited about our realization we did a mass cleanup. We sifted through bins, baskets and boxes and found things that we didn’t need. A lone doll shoe, blocks or soft toys they’d outgrown, and items we had doubles of. The big cleanup helped, but it was only a starting point for what direction to go in. It’s the upkeep that has helped us the most.
Last month I encouraged you to pay attention to what your body was telling you. This goes for how we feel about our homes as well. Listen to yourself when you walk through your home and think about how you feel.
Minimalism is a movement that isn’t new but has been picking up more followers lately. It’s changing the way people view their belongings and everyone is raving that it’s improved their lives.
I’m not sure that I can completely commit to it right now, but I can tell you that getting rid of a lot of toys has brought some peace into our home. I suggest you check out contributor Rachel’s post on simplifying your home for more ideas on how to have a peaceful home.