“We need a bigger house, the boys have no room to run inside.” “We need a SUV, its packed in here.” These are frequent statements Ive made to my husband in the last year. Then I think on it a bit and I realize … No, we actually don’t NEED it. Our car has enough seating for us all to ride together. Our house has 4 bedrooms and we don’t even need 4 bedrooms right now. But its easy to get carried away with the mindset of wanting more, more, more and finding more value in material items than quality time and memories.
The toys were the main problem. I clean them up and they get dumped back out. Well meaning family members bring over gifts that are loud, annoying, and cheaply made of plastic. They often end up in trash less than 24 hours after landing in our home. What I am sure is a kind gesture just adds to the chaos and mess.
I’ve made a lot of progress in this arena, mostly since becoming a mom, but its still really easy to slip back into that mainframe if I am not careful. If you haven’t watched the documentary about Minimalism on Netflix, I HIGHLY recommend it.
I found myself a month ago standing in our living room among 7 different plastic toys all singing annoying songs and sounds and my kids were nowhere to be found. It was completely a breaking point for me. Why do we accumulate so much stuff? They always go back to the same few toys regardless of what we add. So, I waited until the boys were asleep that night and I boxed up every singing toy and item that I hadn’t seen them touch and put them in the attic. Two weeks went by and they hadn’t inquired as to where the items went.
So I took it a step further and packed up all of the toys that didn’t fit into the following categories: (No-one has said a peep!)
- Nurturing Toys: Doll family, doll house, animal hospital, baby bottle, puppets, animal families, cars, money, cash, register, kitchen, grocery store, play food, medical kit, phone, etc.
- Creative Toys: Sand, water, paints, craft materials, clay/play dough, musical instruments, magic wand, dress-up clothes, etc.
- Building Toys – Legos, Lego Duplos, Lincoln Logs, Wooden Blocks, Marble Run, Potato head, etc.
- Sports items – golf clubs, football, soccer ball, frisbee, basketball, etc.
- People – dolls, superheroes, villains, etc.
- Modes of transportation – Cars, Trucks, Buses, Ambulances, Fire trucks, airplanes, military vehicles, trains, etc.
My new rule of thumb is: if it isn’t a toy that I would potentially save for my future grandchildren, why am I buying it? This has been really helpful at our house for more focused toys and less clutter.
Lets be real, they’d both be happiest outside naked, using sticks as swords and digging in the mud. So why do we spend our hard earned money on toys that will end up at Goodwill in a month or two? The problematic part of having a minimalist lifestyle with kids is parties and gifts. Family members love your kids and want to spoil them, so how do you strike a good balance between gifts and not compromising your lifestyle?
How do you manage the stuff? Do you enjoy material items or experiences more or a balance of the two? How do you strike a balance? Would love to hear you all weigh in.