Updated: Aug 21, 2020
“If you want a golden rule that will fit everything, this is it: Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful."
Simplicity and beauty in all things! From what you eat to what you wear, from treasures to trash, from personal relationships to business: to simplify is to declutter, to declutter is to uncover, to uncover is to amplify that which is truly and authentically YOU, and what you deeply desire. More time spent consciously engaged with the ones you love and cherish, and less time spent running around like a chicken with it's head cut off.
If you are worried that by minimizing your child's things you are somehow depriving them of "the good life", there are piles upon piles of new research showing the definite link between depression, anxiety, attention deficit disorders, and the overwhelm of stuff and stimuli in our lives. In "The Paradox Of Choice -- Why More Is Less", Schwartz sides with the opinion of psychologists David Meyers and Robert Lane, who independently conclude that the todays proliferation of choice often leads to depression and feelings of loneliness. MAMAS AND PAPAS! TOO MANY TOYS = TOO MANY CHOICES.
HOW TO DO TOYS MINDFULLY:
PT 1: Being intentional with space
Set an intention of the space you are willing to give to toys! With two small children, two shelf baskets, and two little square box seats is what we came up with.
PT 2: How to keep littles excited about a limited toy supply
In the box seats I have bags of toy sets (sea creatures, music stuff, dinos, extra puzzles, etc), and our children are only allowed to have one bag out at a time. This keeps my house clutter free (YAY!) and because they are “out of sight and out of mind”, they are new and exciting every time they come out!
PT 3: How to keep the toy supply limited
This part is tough, momma, I know! We see things all the time we want to buy our babies because we know they will get so excited! First, before buying, pause and follow your impulse all the way to the end: Yes she will be so happy, but she is already so happy with everything she has, + more toys means more mess means more crazy mom yelling and more time and energy spent on cleaning rather than BEING together! Next, put a couple rules in place. Rules prevent impulse buying and keep the things in your house both “beautiful and useful”. Your rules might look like, 1. I never impulse buy. 2. I do not purchase plastic toys (or cheaply made things that will only bring short term joy before they break) 3. I always ask myself these questions before purchasing: Is it more of something he already has or truly something unique and new that will challenge and excite him? If I bring this new thing in, what old toy are we ready to pass on?
PT 4: When the bins get too full...
PURGE! When your child is too little to understand or care, do the big purge during a nap time! Collect a bag of things little Johnny doesn’t use anymore and set it aside, if he doesn’t ask in a week about the toys, it is probably safe to give them away! As children grow they can become more involved and excited about being generous with things they no longer use and “sharing with other kids who have no toys!”
Let's amplify the good things in life and turn down the noise! What will you do with the time you normally spend following behind your tiny tornadoes picking up and organizing the debris? Without the anxiety that clutter and stuff lend itself to, who will you be?
Share in the comments below your tips for living more intentionally with children!