|Just part of the mess :o|
We were storing their massive amount of toys in two huge totes. Somehow, the totes would always get dumped and create an instant disaster area in the toy room. On top of that, pieces of certain play sets would get lost. I could tell that finding and putting together things like train pieces and blocks was an overwhelming task for the boys.
As I readied myself for this project, I read a lot of minimalist blogs. I found lots of inspiration to cut down on our toy clutter.
- Nancy at Family on Bikes shares her thoughts about kids and toys in Enjoying Life With Less
- Minimum shares the Top 10 Toys for a Minimalist Family
- Learn why Fewer Toys Will Benefit Your Kids at Becoming Minimalist
- Check out this Minimalist Playspace at Childhood 101
- Minimalist At Home gives some great tips in Minimalist Target: The Toy Room
My Top Tips For Minimizing the Toy Stash
There are a few things I learned along the way. Here's what helped me to cut through the mound of toys and find what we really use.
1. Make a list of the most played-with toys.
Don't just think in terms of the last few weeks or months, but overall. If there is something that your kids consistently go back to, you can consider these a classic that would be worth keeping around.
2. Think in terms of sets.
Don't focus too much on the random toy items. Focus most on keeping play sets that can be categorized together and stored together.
For instance, we focused on toy cars, train set, wooden blocks, duplo blocks, and trio blocks.
3. Set hard limits.
This was the hardest part of the process for me and my boys, but it's essential for making yourself say no to what is more than you should have. Define your toy space, and then define what will fit in that space. I bought durable storage containers for our play sets, so I knew that each play set would have to fit in that container.
Toy cars was our biggest obstacle. The boys were given the container, and had to decide together which toy cars to keep that would it in that space. After a bit of decision making, we finally sorted out which cars we would keep, and which would not fit, and therefore would be given away.
We also set limits on other items. We decided that each boy could choose 3 stuffed animals to keep, and these would "live" mostly in their beds. We kept 3 musical instruments, and one tote of miscellaneous items that they were not ready to part with yet.
4. Involve your kids.
It didn't make much sense to go through this process of getting rid of many of my children's toys if they weren't involved in the process. I figured, at worst they would resent my decisions. At least, they would not understand the need for fewer toys, and would contribute to filling the space and creating the toy disaster scenario all over again.
Before we began, I explained to my boys what we would be doing and why. They were on board once they realized that minimizing the toy stash would lead to a much more organized space, allowing them to easily find the toys they wanted to play with.
|This is what's left!|
I have a feeling that our toy stash will get even smaller in the future. For now, I am pleased with the work we have done. We got rid of many large play items, such as a play kitchen that was used infrequently.
Finding and using the toys the boys want has become a simple task, and cleanup is much easier. I actually notice that my boys are playing with their play sets more than before. The boys and I are both happy with our decision to minimize the toys!