So many toys have come from family and friends. When I look around at it all, I do want to clean it up, organize it more, separate things for donations or store for memory’s sake, but I don’t want to give it away. The stuffed deer was my husband’s when he was a little boy. He named it Pan without having any knowledge at the time of the Greek mythological god of shepherds and flocks, nature and hunting. It’s ironic and it’s touching. The My Little Pony was given to my three-year-old on her second birthday by my cousin. One of the baby dolls was given to my second daughter when she was just a new baby and now my older daughter sleeps with it. The other baby was given to my oldest the day her sister was born. Sophie the Giraffe was a teething friend for both girls, given by their grandparents. The dress-up boy doll with snaps and buttons was a gift from my brother and my sister-in-law as he and I remembered fondly our Snoopy that had the snaps and buttons and zippers to teach us those skills. The list goes on and on… I deeply value the love and thought behind every toy our friends and family have bestowed upon our girls and I’m just not going to discard them.
Going along the lines of the blog I mentioned, I have noticed that my kids play more with a clean and open creative space. It’s not the absence of toys, it’s the ability to choose certain ones to play and create with. (It’s really not unlike my desire to bake something when my kitchen counters are spotless.) Today, I cleaned their room, picked everything up and it felt so good in there. Immediately, my three-year-old came in and said, “Wanna play in here with me?” Yes, yes I do. It feels so nice in here… She quickly pulled out a ton of toys, laid out a blanket (handmade for my second child by another cousin) and gathered her toys and stuffed animals to the middle for a sleepover. We rolled around on the floor with Pandora playing in the background. We pretended to sleep and pretended to wake up. We ate grapes and we talked about which toys made us feel the happiest. My youngest (21-months) ran circles around us and giggled. I gently explained to the oldest that the “baby” just doesn’t understand pretend yet and it’s okay if she doesn’t go to sleep.
Minimalism is the concept that less is more. I love it. As I look around at my cluttered, lived-in home, I know less is more and I want to clear all the clutter. I know that our minds would be at ease if we weren’t staring into the closets and cabinets of plenty, but I haven’t done a lot about that and I’m not going to start with my kids. If, as I pursue a less cluttered home, my kids see and want to change their lives in this way also, then I will support them. That’s my decision for them. I don’t want to take their things away and not let them have a say. I don’t want to push minimalism on them as a way of life without them having a choice. We’re all good moms doing the best we can and without judgment I can say that taking all the toys away is just not for me. And if you do it and I don’t, we can still be friends, right?
My purpose of this blog isn’t to talk about whether it’s right or wrong to take away your kids’ toys. It’s just a way of putting the idea of minimalism out there and the many obstacles that might arise when you pursue it. I have a pile in the garage of things to sell and give away and I’m working towards those adventures as time allows. But minimizing stuff takes time too. Valuable time. Time I could spend having pretend sleepovers with my girls and preparing healthy meals for them. If you have success stories of de-cluttering or minimizing that you’d like to share, I’d love to hear them! What I dread most is another thing (or hundreds of things) on my already full daily to-do list. So, I’m gonna take this slow… like just talking about it here and letting it simmer in the back of my brain.