You may not always have control over what comes into your home, but you do have the power to decide if it stays. Join with me as I tackle the toy room and share our experience with minimalism!
Our Transition to Minimalism
We have an appointment at our local kids consignment shop this week and since I am going to be de-cluttering anyway I thought I’d share it with you all too!
Despite my efforts to take on a minimalist lifestyle, it has proven to be difficult to keep the clutter at bay. In a perfect world, I would only have the bare necessities and a few chosen items that truly bring joy to my life. However, I have to keep reminding myself that I’m not the only one living here.
I may have underestimated just how much of a challenge minimalism can be. I have a husband preparing for the apocalypse (love you, sweetie!) and a 3 year old son obsessed with 50 cent machine games. You know, the ones with dinky rings, bouncy balls, and other random things. I for one didn’t get him started on these but I’m not here to point fingers (hubby, hubby)
So no, we aren’t one of those perfect minimalist families and probably won’t ever be. That’s okay though! Who says you can’t be a mix of minimal and spontaneous?
We have come a long way from the family who bought useless things “just because.” I’m looking back right now and cringing at our weekly Walmart trips. We would spend hours in the store looking, grabbing, and then purchasing items without batting an eye.
I’d like to blame my husband who comes from a family of spending but it wasn’t just him. Although they were a huge influence in our lifestyle, it was ME that fell into the trap of believing that these “useless things” brought real joy.
I’d like to just go back and yell, “what are you doing! Put back that $80 toy. Your son and future daughter both hate it anyway!”
One day I read a post on Facebook written by Joshua Becker that made me rethink my entire lifestyle. It inspired me to make a change and slowly but surely our way of living has taken a 180.
Joshua goes into further detail on his take of Minimalism. You can read more about it HERE.
Decluttering With Kids Video
Now To The Actual Decluttering
Most people who have kids can probably agree that they have too many toys. It doesn’t matter how hard I try to keep items from coming into my home, it’s inevitable and that is just something I’ll have to learn to accept.
There will always be gifts from birthday parties and Christmas. There will be craft projects, donated items and the occasional spur of the moment toy. Despite how much of a minimalist I want to be, there’s just some things you cannot change.
You may not be able to decide what all makes it into your home, but you do have the power to decide if it stays there.
Don’t be like the old me who decided to save my son’s first happy meal box among anything else I thought was sentimental.
Should It Stay Or Should It Go?
When trying to decide whether or not to keep something I ask myself a few questions.
Does this item truly bring happiness?
If you ask your child if they like a certain toy, most of the time they will say yes. If I went that route we would never get rid of anything. You’ll know what toys bring the most joy to your child because they never get tired of playing with it.
Do I use this item frequently?
If your kids haven’t touched a toy in months, chuck it.
Do I already have this?
I promise life will go on without the 25+ stuffed animals pilled in the bed.
Is this broken or missing pieces?
I have always been bad to save a toy or a game that had missing pieces in hopes that I’d find it one day. I’d say about 90% of the time they never show up. Save yourself the space and time by just getting rid of it.
When Your Child Wants To Keep It All
I know this all too well but who can blame a kid for wanting to keep their things? You cannot expect a child to just wake up one day and change their entire lifestyle. If it is difficult for me to get rid of my things, I cannot imagine how difficult it is for a child who doesn’t even understand why.
Involve Your Children
One of the many mistakes people make when decluttering is getting rid of toys without telling their children. It may seem okay at first, but they will notice eventually and it doesn’t end well. For a child younger than 3, it may be okay to de-clutter without their permission but any older than that and you are just asking for a meltdown.
I believe what helped the most was explaining to him why I wanted to de-clutter and where the toys were going. He actually picked out a few smaller toys for me to get rid of and was proud to do it!
We have de-cluttered several times since the first and it has been MUCH easier this go round. He knows what to expect and there’s no surprises.
If you are like me you probably see a bunch of clutter and instantly want it gone. I’ve really had to hold myself back when de-cluttering the toy room because it can easily be overwhelming for not only you, but your children too.
You may want to get rid of half of the toys but it’s probably better to start small. Even if your child only agrees to tossing his old rubber ducky at least you started somewhere!
I remember the first time I tried de-cluttering Wyatt’s toys. It didn’t matter what I picked up they were all his “favorite.” We had to make a gradual transition. I only got rid of a few things that round but with time it got better and even today he surprised me with a few things he said he didn’t want anymore!
Start By Organizing
From my experience, decluttering goes much more smoothly when we sort the toys into categories first. Put all of the games in one spot, all of the dolls in another, and so on and so forth.
After everything is organized I find it simpler to decide what stays and what goes. It is easier for a child to pick out a doll that he doesn’t want if he knows he has others too.
It May Take Some Coaching
I’ve found that it’s important to choose my words wisely. It isn’t always easy to persuade Wyatt to get rid of the toy he hasn’t touched in 2 years but with the right wording it makes all the difference.
Sometimes I’ll say something like, “Oh look, you already have a truck like this one. Can we give it to someone else?”
Other times, I offer a trade. He may need some more paint for crafting so I’ll ask him to trade the broken hot wheel in for some new paint. That typically works really well.
The Four Piles
To help further organizational purposes, I usually declutter in 4 piles. Sometimes I only end up with one or two of these but for the most part this is how it goes down.
We reserve the nicer toys to take to the consignment store.
If the toy has been thoroughly played with but still has a bit of life left into it we donate instead. This is also where most of the happy meal toys end up.
Sometimes no matter how much I hint to get rid of a toy, Wyatt insists on keeping it. I can often get away with convincing him to keep it at Mimi or Granny’s house though. Other times, it is a toy I don’t want to get rid of just yet but feel like it would get more loved on somewhere else.
As much as I hate the landfill, sometimes you have to!
Enjoy The Clean Space
The last step is of course getting the toys out of your home! After that, enjoy watching your kids actually play with all of their toys.
With less you will likely find that they play much better than being overwhelmed. Plus, that’s less cleaning for you too! A win-win 🙂
Do You Practice Minimalism With Kids?
Share your tips for decluttering in the comments below!
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