Okay, I know there have been many posts written recently on the topic of living without toys. This post here on CleanHouseWithKids is the post in particular that inspired me to actually take the step of getting rid of almost all toys. I’d been thinking about it for months but Tricia’s blog post about her family’s own experience gave me the needed push to actually do it. So, I thought it would be fun to share our family’s experience of going toy-less about six months ago and if it helps any mother out there that is feeling overwhelmed like I was, then that would be awesome. 🙂
But first let me say that I know every family is different and what works for us, may not work for your family and that’s perfectly okay. Going toy-less has been life changing for us but each family has different needs and goals and I share this in hopes of encouraging the family that is considering getting rid of toys and just needs an extra little push (like I did 😉 ) to actually take the step. 🙂
So, here goes…
First I threw out any toy that was broken and unrepairable or just damaged beyond recognition. Then I observed what toys my children actually played with. They had a TON of toys, stuffed animals, games, and what not and every single morning after breakfast they would get out Every. Single. Toy. and dump them all over the living-room and their bedroom. It was frustrating because not only is our house not very big but then they would wander around the house getting into mischief and complaining that they were bored. I didn’t get it. They had a roomful of toys and they were BORED. Figure that one out! 😉
So, I packed up the toys that I never saw them playing with, this was mostly stuffed animals, games, cars, trucks, puzzles, books and action figures and put them in storage. And they still had a ton of toys to choose from. Yes, it was bad. We were overflowing in the toy department for sure. Then I watched to see what toys they were most creative with, which ones they seemed to actually enjoy playing with and held their attention the longest. Then I again boxed up the others and put them in storage.
At this point they had a small box of Duplos, a set of Brio Trains, a set of Tonka trucks, a ride on toy for William, and Meghan had her dolly, stuffed doggie, and her tea party set. They also had a few Children’s books. See a pattern here yet? Watch what toys your children actually play with and box up the others! 🙂
Now, at this point you can either keep those boxed up toys in storage and then just rotate the toys every so often so your kiddos feel like they get new toys to play with every couple months or you can go ahead and sell/donate them. I choose to sell/donate almost all the toys I boxed up. We don’t have a ton of storage space and I didn’t want them to just become mental clutter for me. And then the money that came from selling the toys I either used to purchase the kiddos any clothing/shoes that they were in need of, or we gave it to them on their birthday to put in their piggy bank.
At this point they now have a box of Duplos, a gigantic puzzle and Meghan has her Dolly and stuffed doggie, both of which she sleeps with. (So cute!) and Liam has his ride on scooter. I’ve boxed up the Brio, tea party set (They didn’t really play with them much!) and regulated the Tonka trucks to outdoors ONLY. Oh, and Roy has a Bike and Meghan has a scooter. Oh, and a few books that they actually read. But that is it. I will switch out the Brio and such if I feel they need a change but it’s been months now and they don’t miss them.
So, how has it been working out you might ask? We think it is amazing! Seriously, AMAZING! 😀 Now when they play they are so much more creative. I mean, it’s amazing how much more creative they are with just the few toys they have. Roy is always coming up with some new incredible creation made out of Duplos, whether that’s an airplane or a rocket ship, or yesterday he found a piece of sting and made a crane! Meghan has recently been building the gigantic puzzle every morning and she loves it! Its so fun to hear her little commentary to herself as she’s putting it together. And Liam rides his little scooter all over the house or he and Meg build things with Roy out of Duplos.
They also play together much, much better. Instead of arguing over who gets to play with what toy, (I know that’s backward, you’d think they would argue less with MORE toys but not so!) they instead build things together or come up with some new childish game. They play chase or hide n ‘seek, or build forts out of blankets, or with all the lovely weather we’ve been having lately they play outside. They use those Tonka trucks every single day and run and play and dig in the dirt to their hearts content. Yes, they do still have their sibling squabbles but they truly are much less often than when they had tons of toys. Truly. 🙂
I think I can safely say that we will never go back to living with tons of toys. It’s just not worth the mess and upset it caused and it for one makes this Mama much happier to not be tripping on toys all the time. Not only is it wonderful because our house is much less messy but also because watching the kiddos creativity soar has been incredible and so awe inspiring! I think the simpler lifestyle has benefited them in so many ways.
So, I encourage you, if you are one of those Mamas that is overwhelmed and frustrated with all the toys your kiddos have, then I hope you’ll consider trying out going toy-less. You could even do a trial period and box a bunch of toys up and try it for a few months to see how it works. Or you could just go cold turkey and sell/donate all the toys. 😀 Figure out what works for you and run with it!
What do you think? Would you ever consider going toy-less? How do you manage your kiddos toys?
All the best,