I didn’t do an official “spring cleaning” this year. I did however do a summer purge. I konmari-ed my clothes and realized I have no clothes that spark joy…(and then manifested a gift of 4 big bins of clothes)…but that’s a different post.
I also purged the kids’ rooms again. This was an exercise borne of frustration as much as it was lifestyle redesign and “good-deeding.”
(PS: Did you see me on TV talking about this? Me Time with Frangela had me on to discuss purging your kids’ items! I better win an Emmy.)
The kids rooms were messy 99% of the time. They kept losing stuff, treating their items poorly, fighting over random crap, and were more wound up than usual. They were “bored” all the time despite having a room full of things specifically meant to prevent boredom.
They were spending less and less time together, less time with their toys and requesting the laptops or other devices more and more. So we nipped it in the bud. We donated A LOT of items and while they both put up a little resistance, both also told me they liked their rooms better with less stuff in it.
What we removed:
- A million stuffed animals
- Everything I didn’t recognize (meaning they never play with)
- Everything damaged
- Baby books
- All sorts of tiny plastic crap that they weren’t taking care of
What we kept:
- Their loveys – (Rohan’s Elmo and Kaya’s BunnyBunny)
- Lego Bricks for Ro and a couple dolls for Kai
- Art Supplies
- Puzzles not yet opened
- Books on or above their levels
- Family games/Family activities
- Bikes, skateboards, outside toys
No more toy buying
I’m not buying anything other than reupping arts and craft supplies for these kids. They will receive toys on birthdays and Christmas only and those will have to be run by me and John first. I think what I plan on doing for their Christmas gifts is room updates/decor updates.
Narrowing down what’s allowed
Adding to their bricks, art supplies, and family games/activities is all we will be welcoming in our home for now. Online subscriptions to sites or some of the ideas here will be allowed as well.
Laying down the law with family
This is going to be hard because we are blessed to have a very generous family. My aunts go loco with gifts for every holiday. (I’m talking even Veteran’s day n stuff.)
We are going to let them know that if they want to purchase items that are not on our list, they’ll have to house them and the kids will enjoy them when they visit. (Which is often anyway since we all live so close by.)
Why are you doing this, Dani? Kids need toys! Let them play!
I know, I know, I’m so mean.
Of course they need items to play with. But they don’t need a million of them. I have watched the kids use their imagination to play house, school, spies, build forts, play real life minecraft (so annoying) and hide and seek more in the week or so since we did the new purge than they have the whole summer.
They have sat together quietly building and talking and giggling together for hours. Hours you hear me?! Laying on the floor looking at books, coloring, and drawing master plans together. Rohan helps Kaya take care of her babies by making it potions in the bathroom sink (also annoying, but hey).
I want my children to play but I need them to play together. At least majority of the time. I need them to love, value and cherish the toys they have. And I need them to be able to enjoy their time without them as well. They’re playing outdoors longer (when it’s not 10000 degrees) and I hear them making up all kinds of crazy plans together now.
I love the results
And John does too. He feels relieved each night when he gets home and spends quality time with the kids before bed. He can lay out on the floor in their rooms and play and read to them comfortably again.
The kids are more agreeable with cleaning up now that they have so much less and both of them have told me how much they love their rooms now that they don’t have as many toys taking up space.
I am the queen of mom guilt, no matter how hard I work on this. But I will tell you this. I have exactly zero guilt over tossing their toys. I’d do it again in a heartbeat if need be.
My goal is a warm, active, connected, mindful, intentional family lifestyle and getting the junk out of the kids rooms was a big step FOR US towards living that lifestyle daily.
Apparently this has a name. It’s called “Toy Minimalism” where parents pare their children’s toys down to the amount acceptable to their preferred level of minimalism.
I don’t care what it’s called, I’m just glad we did it.