I feel like I’m about to write some great song lyrics with the title of this post, and while this is no song, the decision to remove 99% of the toys from our house has brought about a somewhat poetic and creative nature in our home.
Between Fall and Winter Birthdays and Holidays our house gets over run with toys by New Years. Even though this year we chose to keep the celebrations low key they still got way too many toys. The boys fight over toys a lot. My 2 year old always wants what the 6 year old has, and my husband and I all too often have to play referree. My 6 year old has asked for more, everyday he wants to go shopping, for either take out food or toys. It’s what has been the norm the last few months.
Well I for one am tired of it, and when I took a long hard look at our failing budget I knew we had to finally make the changes we have been wanting to for so long.
Yesterday I read this great post that inspired me to finally say good bye to most of the toys. A few weeks ago I cleared out a lot of toys, but the kids still had way too much.
Interestingly enough I have also been discussing our overspending on food and how we will be eating homemade from now on. Both of these decisions have made a difference already.
So yesterday we all went through the toys, each kid got a small box to put whatever toys they wanted to keep, and everything else I either put away, gave away, or put up for sale. I was surprised that neither son filled up his toy box.
I left the books, art supplies, music instrument and computers. The two toy boxes went in the bookcase where they are somewhat out of site, but the boys know where they are.
While tucking my son into bed last night he asked to draw with me in the morning. And so this morning his first words to me “mommy can we draw now?”. Both boys spent most of the day drawing. I have spent most nights cleaning up toys, tonight I get to relax, the house stayed clean!!!!
I did have to remind both boys a few times to clean up and a few times they did it without me asking.
As for the food. My picky eater, the 6 year old, has tried and loved a few new foods. He’s come up with some really creative dishes, and I’ve seen a change with both kids attitudes. They are a bit more calmer, listen more and have become more caring.
2 week update:
It’s amazing how fast new toys and clutter comes into the house. After attending a birthday party and a friend taking my older son to Playmobile play park, there are party favors and a foam shield now added to the toy box, and many art projects have come home from school and playdates. I got 2 free bookshelves so now we have one designated for art supplies and projects, the other is all books. It was nice to be able to finally take all my books out of storage and put them out on the bookshelf. The mess is far less than it was before, most nights there is no toy related cleaning to do, and they boys have an easier time cleaning it up, well sometimes. They do manage to get some toys out to play with daily, but I found they don’t play with them for very long. My 2 year old loves emptying the boxes and then putting everything back in, funny enough he’s been resisting cleaning up when I ask him though. Most of the free time they have is still at the art table, on the rebounder/trampoline, or playing with sports equipment, they both love skateboarding. They do watch educational videos, and they both have our old (disconnected) iPhones loaded with educational games and videos, and some just for pure fun, and sometimes we play some Wii games together. I would love to make the screen time more limited, but I’m taking this one step at a time. They still fight over things, but less often, and it’s usually my 2 year old expressing his desire of wanting what my older boy has, thankfully most of that we have 2 of anyway. All in all it’s been great for us, and we will definitely continue. Next fall/winter I look forward to my kids getting educational and experiential gifts.