minimalism and kids

Helpful Ways to Manage Your Kids' Toys Like a Minimalist

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Whether you've got a young child or multiple kids of all ages, there's a good chance toys are accumulating in your house. I hear a lot of moms talk about their frustrations with toys. How many should you have? Can someone be a minimalist and let their kids have toys? How does one go about decluttering? In a nutshell, WHAT THE HECK DO YOU DO WITH TOYS?

I have to add a disclaimer that my little boy is only 9 months old so although we haven't had to manage loads of toys at this stage they are making their way into our house. I've bought him a handful and then he's received some as gifts. I've decided to compile what I do to manage his toys as well as what I've learned from experts on the topic and roll them up into one post so it's a quick and efficient read for you. ;)

Here goes:

If you're feeling bombarded by toys in your house and you're either frustrated or confused (or both) on how to tackle your little people's stuff then read the below tips to help you manage your kids' toys like a minimalist.

- Get rid of broken toys. Whether it's missing a tiny piece or a big piece, get rid of it. Get rid of broken toys because broken toys become junk and junk accumulates. It sounds harsh, but you've got to draw the line somewhere!

- Consider a rotation system. If you still have a handful of toys for your kids, only put out what they'll actually use at a given time. Consider rotating toys weekly or monthly. In my situation, I keep Beck's toys in a small bin in his closet. I'll pull out 3-4 and hand him those when he's in his pack n play or I'll let him pick out the toys from the bin in his room (at 9 months, life is all about taking things out of bins so it's really a great activity to keep him busy at this stage in his life). I believe with older kids, you'll find you and your kids will feel like they have new toys when you put out those they haven't played with in a while. Where should you store the ones not being used? Consider putting them in the top of the closet or in the garage. 

- Create an organizational system. You don't have to spend much to get organized. You can use things like shoe boxes (any size will do) to sort toys. If you want something that's more aesthetically pleasing, I really like the Ikea drawer organizers (Amazon sells them too) and shelf storage containers. My husband is the organizer in our house and he's taught me that it's all about separating like items. So consider putting all of the balls together or all of the blankets or all of the dolls, etc. Size is another way to tackle a big pile of toys. Consider combining toys that are similar in size and then put them in the container that fits them best.

- If you've read Simplicity Parenting then you know that author Kim John Payne provides a much more thorough outline of what you should keep and discard when it comes to toys. In the book, he shares that you should really only keep toys that are going to help foster your child's imagination. Things like rope, building blocks or dolls are a few examples. The idea is to have toys that your kids will use their imagination with. According to Payne, toys to avoid would be those that are merely for entertainment and that are prone to breaking. Of course, you're the parent so it's your call but keep in mind what will last and what will help them most in the long-run.

Are you a parent struggling with toy overload or have you created a solution that would benefit us all? Leave a comment and let us know!

minimalismandtoys

Minimalism and Motherhood: The Trick to Accumulating Less

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When I gave birth to my son 6 months ago my life changed in the most amazing way and now I can't imagine life without him. If you're a parent, you know exactly what I mean. Our kids ARE. OUR. WORLD. 

As part of our world, they need things (and if you're like me and millions of other parents, you want to buy them things because you love them and want the best for them). Now, since I call myself a minimalist, I tried to be as selective as possible about what I added to my registry (quality over quantity!). It was important that I felt equipped to take care of my little guy but at the same time walk that fine line of making sure I didn't have too much or too little. Naturally, I didn't want to forget the essentials. 

I was methodical about what I thought we'd actually use. I read, researched and studied. What did I find out? Just about the same stuff that everyone else was telling me and I felt like in the sea of items "that are necessary" I was coming out even more overwhelmed. You've seen the lists: minimal must-haves or the top things you need for a minimal nursery. The problem with these lists is that while they've curated beautiful, high quality baby items, they left me feeling like I needed to add a lot to my registry.

Fortunately, I'm happy to note that after all was said and done, I felt like I had crafted a very manageable registry and 6 months later I can say I've used everything except just one item (and I found a purpose for it just last month). 

So, how did I do it and what's the trick you ask? I'll tell you. It's about defining and using your best judgment to predict how much you or your child will use something. Sure, you may want to also consider things like the quality of the item and aesthetics of it but at the foundation, I suggest you try to guesstimate how much use it will get. This can be applied to apparel, toys, baby dishes, strollers and equipment, etc. To get a comparable estimate, consider how much use it will get per week.

I'll use my son's clothes as an example. If I want to buy him something because I think it's too adorable to pass up, then I'll factor in how many times he's going to wear it before I purchase. This applies to items of all price-points - be it expensive or cheap. If your child is going to wear it every week -- maybe even multiple times, then you know the item is worth it.

On the flip side, I've eyed a few "items for convenience" during the occasional trip to Buy Buy Baby and I swear like 95% of the time those things aren't necessities. So save yourself time and money by estimating your child's usage of stuff you're considering buying and I really believe you'll be better off for it in the long run.