Some days I feel like our house is drowning in toys. I have been pretty good about teaching the kids to pick up after themselves. They know that before bedtime toys need to be cleaned up and bedrooms need to be tidy. Some days this is even accomplished without my having to nag about it.
However, the fact is I still end up having to do a lot of the work and this has led me to the realization that there is just too much stuff! Why do we have all these toys? Half the time the kids get them out for about five seconds then they move on to the next thing.
It has all just accumulated over the years to the point that I feel our house is overrun with it all. Now, I know there are a lot of folks out there that will not agree with me. I know lots of families that have entire playrooms full of toys, and that’s nice and all. But what if I don’t want to use up an entire room just for toys? What if I actually don’t really want more square footage in my house just so I can accommodate a habit of accumulation?
I think back to when I grew up — of course I had toys, but nowhere near the amount that my kids have. I had a few dolls and stuffed animals, there was a shoe box full of Barbies, and a shoe box with my tea set and that’s about it. My brothers had their own toys as well, but it was the same as myself — limited. And you know what? I don’t ever remember being bored with nothing to do. Lately I’ve been on an organizing spree, and I thought about getting some toy cubbies because there just isn’t enough storage space for all the toys to stay organized. Then it hit me. Maybe the answer isn’t more storage… maybe the answer is getting rid of some of the crap that they don’t need to begin with!
This whole de-clutter and de-junk method is a bit of a debate between my husband and I. He doesn’t like to get rid of anything. I think if he was not married to me he would be in serious danger of being a borderline hoarder. I would like to get rid of some of the toys that my son once played with but haven’t seen use in years, but my husband argues that our daughter might want to play with them as she gets older.
Here’s the thing: if they aren’t there to be played with she won’t know the difference, will she?
I’m noticing that the mentality of more is better is… basically bullshit. Honestly, more is just more exhausting. Having more things seems to often mean less time to actually enjoy them. I don’t want my kids growing up thinking that having lots of “things” somehow makes life better or more enjoyable.
The scary thing is that I already see this happening with my son and he’s only six. It’s no longer the case that getting new toys is a treat, it’s almost like it has become an expectation. Kids learn by example. They may ignore everything you say, but you can count on them watching everything you do.
So, as I’m on this journey to simplify my own life, I am hoping I will show my kids how to do the same. Step number one: this weekend the kiddo and I are going to do some serious sorting and purging. I don’t believe in getting rid of the toys behind his back — I think it is important that he be a part of the process. He decides what stays and what goes, but I can help him figure it out.
Maybe getting rid of some of the toys will mean that we can stop constantly cleaning up messes and instead have more time to actually play.