As I go about my journey to live a more minimalist lifestyle, I realize that it is going to have to be a slow one.
For fear of sending my children into shock, I will be purging in slow motion, going through one drawer at a time, or one shelf, and so on.
But despite this, I did an experiment. One day while my children were at school, I went through their rooms and gathered up all of their toys (before Christmas). I put it all into large bins and stashed them in the basement. At the time, this was for the purpose of clearing space for the upcoming holiday gifts.
I decided from there that those toys would stay in the basement, to be sorted through a few months later when the kids hopefully had a new perspective. Only when the holiday came, they got flooded with new things. Within a week, the house was a disaster. Broken toys, clothes all over their floors, half of what they got was lost under their beds and nothing had a place.
Tired of looking at the mess, I did it again. I went through and removed every single toy from their rooms into bins. All they were interested in was the Xbox anyway! I left them with their massive bin of Lego, and their favourite stuffy to sleep with.
And they loved it! Their rooms stayed clean, they were doing more creative activities, their attitudes improved and I was a happier Mom for not stressing out about the clutter and the “why won’t they play with all these toys?!” despair.
Over the next few weeks, they would ask about one toy or another. When they did, I gladly brought that toy back for them. If they miss it, then it must be something that they care about. Then I got sorting. Most of the toys in the bins were things that they hadn’t played with in months. What no longer held meaning, I donated or sold.
Now that they are used to having a clean room, and very little stuff, they see the value in minimalism. They will each receive one drawer for toys in their rooms, and what remains of the toys in the bins will be sorted accordingly. If it doesn’t fit, it must go. There have been fewer fights over whose toy belongs to whom, and who left what mess.
Try it! Don’t be afraid to take all of your kid’s toys away. They’ll be okay and even happier in the long run. Kids don’t need toys to be happy! They need experiences, love, and imagination. Let’s stop robbing them of their childhood with cheap plastic.