If you missed my post on Simplifying Life which has a focus on doing less + having less, check it out here! This is part II in the series and it’s all about toys! Toys can easily take over and consume our homes if we allow it. I aim to be mindful while managing Olivia’s toys and here are a few ways…
1. Know Your Boundary to Keep to a Minimum: In order to keep them to a minimum you have to know your boundary. I have designated areas in the house, and if the toys begin to override those areas, then it’s time to donate.
We live in the city so we don’t have a lot of space within our home. The family room is the main room for toys. Since we’re always in this space, and I don’t want to feel consumed by toys, I make sure that all toys can hidden in baskets + drawers. This makes it easy for clean up as well. Every drawer or basket has some empty space to allow for easy access. If it’s too full, Liv won’t be able to get to certain items and they’ll never be used, which defeats the purpose of having them.
Studies have shown that children can concentrate better on one single toy + be more creative with what they have when they have less. Check out this article, if you’re interested in reading more.
In our family room, items are stored in…
– Window Seat Storage: one basket holds the blocks, and the other holds cars and various toys.
– TV Console: the three drawers are designated for a craft drawer, a puzzle drawer, and then a game drawer.
– Book Basket: holds various books. She has a side table in her bedroom with her remaining books.
– Ottoman: holds a few bouncy balls
The only other areas in our home with toys include the play kitchen in our kitchen and then some books, a rocking lamb, and a couple teddy bears in Liv’s room.
2. Good Quality: My favorite toy brands are Melissa + Doug and IKEA. Most of their toys are made of wood making them good quality so they’ll last, and through the use of more than one child.
3. Promote Creativity + Problem Solving: The toys that promote creativity and problem-solving skills are the ones that Liv has used the most as she’s grown. These toys include blocks, dolls, her play kitchen, puzzles and crafts. I had these items before they were “age-appropriate” because she would begin exploring and as she grew, she’d play with them as intended, so then she’s actually getting great use out of them!
4. Limit Gifts: Birthdays and holidays can bring in a lot of toys. Asking guests to not bring gifts is a great way to manage incoming toys. But what about those gifts you’ve been given that you don’t want? Always begin by showing your gratitude. But if it’s not right for your family, let it go. You can express your concern and ask them to return it before giving it, or you can exchange/return it, or give it some time and then donate.
For those that are adamant on giving a gift, you can express how your family is simplifying their toy collection. Make a suggestion for a small toy such as a book, coloring book, or ask them to make it an experience (park date) instead. They should understand!
If anyone has helpful ways in managing their toys, please share!