31 Days of Finding Freedom in Simplicity - Toy Clutter

Kids’ clutter.  It is something that we all deal with, and probably deal with multiple times a day.  It is the one area that seems to give me more trouble than anything else, and for a long time I couldn’t figure out why that was.  When I heard about de-owning vs. de-cluttering I knew that was my biggest issue – not letting stuff back into the house once we got rid of it.

Yet, it is still something we struggle with, and most likely you struggle with it as well.

When you look at your kids’ toys, how many are there?  There are the inevitable LEGO’s, there are dolls and doll houses, stuffed animals and other lovey friends, little cars, ponies, and let’s not even talk about the art supplies shall we? 

It is a lot.  And it is overwhelming.  It is overwhelming for the parent, and surprisingly it is also overwhelming for the kid. 

Have you ever heard kids talk about how bored they are during long breaks of time?  I am actually all for a little boredom, but when they are saying it day after day, it can become tiresome, and you can’t quite understand why they are bored with all the toys that they have at their fingertips.

In our house over the past month I have heard more squabbles between my kids and it has been driving me slowly insane.  I can’t be the only one. 

Your kids are bored, even though they have a myriad of toys, they take everything out (or the 3 year old dumps out all the nicely organized bins) and then no one is capable of cleaning because it is so overwhelming.  They retreat to the parts of the home that are clear of any clutter, and fill it with their little toys.  These are all things that happen every day it seems, but how do you curb that?

Recently, I have been moving a lot of toys to the attic.  Not in the way that you would switch out toys for a toddler to have something new to play with, but rather to see if they would realize their “favorite toy” is missing.  More often than not that answer is no.  Once in a while I might have a question of where something is, but those are few and far between.  Instead, as I remove toys from their presence, and move them into a place that is completely inaccessible to them, they become more creative.  Their attitudes improve, they play pretend with their baby sister, they start to make their own toys out of paper and fabric. 

Isn’t that interesting?  Yes, I’m sure your kids (and mine) will complain from time to time about not having something, but when they are able to be industrious and take the step to create what they want, instead of looking in the next box for something that might entertain them for a few minutes, the entire attitude of the child changes.

There were glorious days of all our toys fitting in a small toy box.  Those days are gone, but I do wonder, as they get older, if less is actually more for them as it is for me.

I have a really hard time taking away educational toys – the LEGO, the puzzles, the board games.  And perhaps they don’t need to be taken away, but all the rest of it can be.  Perhaps if they don’t have as many other things available they will be more apt to sit and play a board game, or do a puzzle, or build something with LEGO, and then be able to clean it up at the end of the time without going into hysterics about how they don’t know where to start – that might just be my kids!

Have you ever thought about decreasing the amount of *stuff* your children have?  If you have taken away toys, what was the outcome?

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