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We have a lot of toys. They are everywhere, honestly. I don’t know how this happened either. When I had Emma I was incredibly strict about what was brought into the home as far as toys go. I wanted wooden, I wanted open ended, but most importantly I wanted very few toys.
Right before Lucy was born, I went on a tear through the house and packed away a lot of the toys.
I had incredibly low blood pressure during my pregnancy (odd, I know), and so was completely run down most of the time, which meant not as much picking up as should have been happening. Well, right before Lucy was born, I got that nesting instinct, Matt took the kids out for an afternoon, and I packed up just about every toy that I saw not put away throughout the house…there were many. Those toys were not looked at or used for a several months, but instead of just taking the entire bag to donate, I started to go through them, and slowly introduced almost everything back into our home.
That may have been a mistake.
A lot of these toys were things that I wanted to save for Lucy, lovely open ended wooden toys, toys my husband said we should keep for Lucy. But now, instead of a very few toys like we used to have when Emma was little, we have a very large amount of toys.
|the toy organization when Emma and Jack were little - all the toy organization|
I love open-ended toys. Things like LEGO, wooden blocks, play food; they are all things that my kids love and use. The problem is that there are a lot of pieces – especially as the kids have moved from Duplo LEGO to those teeny tiny LEGO pieces. I love that they are creative and spend time using these things, but trying to keep them organized is another thing altogether.
I have noticed that we have let a lot of toys into the house in the past several years that we never would have had it been just Emma, or even when it was only Emma and Jack.
Now, it is nobody’s fault but my own.
I know that if I don’t want specific toys, I need to make more of an effort to weed them out and pack them up. I want to keep the toys that my kids play with regularly, but I want to pack up the toys that just take up space in their room without really being used ever.
This, of course, can be a point of contention with the kids, but my priority is to have an environment that promotes creativity, and if the toys have not been played with for a long time, are broken, or missing pieces, there is no reason to have them take up valuable real estate in their bedrooms.
What is my strategy for de-cluttering my kids’ rooms?
I would love to say that I can go through all of their stuff on my own and get rid of things I know they don’t play with, or that are broken. But, the fact is, we homeschool, and that means my kids will know when I am going through their toys.
Instead I plan to have them help me. Novel, I know. I know that it will not be easy to go through the toys with the kids, but I feel like it is important for them.
I talked a bit yesterday about how I plan to use Organized Simplicity to go through my home. The one exception is the kids’ stuff. Instead, I will be borrowing the “spark joy” method that Marie Kondo discusses in her book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up.
I think that once my kids touch all their toys, and realize that they don’t play with them as much as they think, it will be easier for them to part with them.
I do expect some issues on toys that I know they don’t use, but that they may want to keep.
My plan for these toys is to pack them up in a bin, and stick them in the attic. In a few months we will revisit the bin. If one of the kids asks for a toy from the bin during the time they are packed away, I will know it is more important to them and will reconsider donating it. If not, the whole bin can be brought to a donation center in the spring.
My main hope with going through the kids’ stuff first is that we will have a lot more space in our home. Our house is large, we have space to live, but the clutter has been taking over, and I am tired of it. I am ready to move to a more “minimalism” approach to our lives. I need to make space for the important things, and move out the things that take up time and energy to care for when I don’t actually care for the items.
How do you manage your kids' toys? Do you regularly go through them? Follow a minimalist approach? Have a dedicated toy room?