One of my favorite blogs is hosting a Project Simplify challenge for the month of March. The idea is to tackle one area of the home each week. I thought this would be a nice pace for me.
The area of this week's challenge on Simple Mom was kid's stuff.
So with both my children visiting grandparents this week, it was perfect timing to get in their rooms and do a big organization/simplification.
I actually got rid of a lot of toys this past November. With Christmas and Laurie's birthday being in January, I knew we would get a surge of new stuff. The kinds of toys I got rid of were broken, worn out, dirty, or things that were not really toys that my kids played with (like a broken flashlight).
In general, I don't buy our kids toys. Seriously. Stephen Grande bought Stephen Small a ball one day. And for his second birthday we got him a John Deere tractor. Oh and I think I put some matchbox cars in his Easter basket last year. Besides that we have never bought our kids one single toy. All of them have been generously given to us by grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends. What I'm trying to say is not buying toys ourselves has been a great way to manage the influx of stuff coming to our home. We are American. My kids have an abundance of stuff to play with. We save money by not buying toys. And it makes gifts that much more special and appreciated. Also there is not one thing my kids love playing with more than the big tub of dirt in our back yard.
I believe kids do not need a ton of toys. Quality over quantity.
Sure, as they get older we will buy them toys and gifts for Christmas and birthdays that are from us. We are not total Grinches, just partial ones.
So here is my before picture of kids stuff:
And the afters:
- The first thing I did was take down the curtains in Stephen's room (which also doubles as our playroom). They were tired and served no purpose. I made this bunting to hang on the curtain rod and it looks so much better! It's cleaner and happier.
-I sorted through all the toys and put them in their rightful place. I placed all the food, pots, pans, and spoons in the kitchen where they belong.
-This is one of my favorite toys, the rainbow wooden circles that go on the peg. When this toy is together it means all is right with the world. Sometimes, on the most chaotic days I will find each piece and put this toy together. It is like a symbol of order in a messy and disorderly world.
-Below is the train table. We are currently taking a brake from the tracks. I've talked before about toy rotation. I'm a big believer in it. I keep about a third of our toys boxed away and I bring them out periodically and rotate different toys. This keeps things interesting and helps with clutter control.
-Here is Stephen's closet where I store toys. Months ago I took down the dangerous, sliding closet doors and made this curtain out of a sheet and shower curtain rod.
-Here is the big bucket of miscellaneous toys. I love this thing.
-I even went through the tub toys. I threw out old shampoo bottles and moved the razor. Yikes. Back in January when my dad cleaned my tub he threw out several toys that were starting to mildew. Not many folks have a dad that will scrub their tub when they visit. Fortunately, I do and it needed it badly.
-I keep other toys in boxes on the built in shelves in our TV room. They are labeled cars, colors, legos. Once again, this is all part of the toy rotation system. I cannot say enough good things about rotating toys. It has been so helpful to me. The other day it was raining. I pulled out our puzzles for the first time in WEEKS. Both kids were all over them for hours. Then we woke up the next day and put them all together for clean up, which lasted for a good portion of a Saturday morning. It ended up being some real quality time together.
-I did not make through the kid's clothes yet. They are in between sizes and seasons, so I may wait a little closer to summer before I tackle this area.
Hope this inspires! What is your greatest trick for managing kids' stuff?