Wednesday, March 23, 2016
Living Minimal With Kids
Kids are small and don't take up much room... at least not until they're adolescents. But, their stuff is a whole other story. Babies have a myriad of supplies that one needs to keep in stock on the daily. From diapers to wipes to baby food to jumpers, bouncy chairs, high chairs, swings, diaper changing table, rocking chair, Boppys and on and on. As they go into the the toddler years there no longer exists the need to buy diapers, but suddenly they're these little people with big, independent minds that have all these needs and desires. They want toys upon toys upon toys upon books and more books. If one isn't careful, the mounting kid clutter can accumulate very quickly. The number of toys and kid stuff around the house can feel overwhelming if there isn't a "system" in place.
Now, everyone will develop a system that works for them and their families, of course. It's all a matter of family dynamics and what's important to that particular family. For us, it's imperative that we teach our little one to be a giver. We, very regularly, go through her toys and give things away. Asking a toddler to give away a toy can sometimes be a challenge. It's like the old toy they've neglected for over a year is all of a sudden the very best thing since sliced bread. "No!!! I LOVE this toy!!!!" Yep. I've heard that one dozens of times. But, don't fret and don't quit. I haven't let those desperate attempts at hanging on to clutter stop me from de-cluttering the toys around the house on the regular. Now I've seen a shift in our little one to where she'll say, "We should give this to a child who doesn't have one Mom," as she simply sets it aside. It's a wonderful thing to see and hear as a parent. It's also a terrific quality to instill in our children. If they grow up with a minimalist mentality they won't see it as a challenge in their adult years. It will just be the "way things are," and that's a great thing.
Aside from giving things away on the reg, we also have an organizing system in our home that works wonders. If someone were to walk into the house, they actually would have a very difficult time deciphering whether or not we have kids. Why? Well, because aside from her art work that we hang in our kitchen and on our fridge, all of her toys are neatly stored away. We use a system of baskets. We have a basket in our kitchen filled with toys and a small box in our TV cabinet filled with drawing supplies. That's it. Anything else is in her bedroom/playroom. Since it's always been this way, she doesn't know any different. It's just automatic for her to know that toys aren't left scattered all over the house. A place for everything, and everything in its place. It's simply a matter of routine and persistence with children. Once they see that we aren't changing our minds, they will follow along. What better way to teach these minimalist principles than to live them day in and day out?
P.S. As far as spending money on toys? We are pretty enviromentally friendly in this endeavor since we only buy consignment throughout the year. New toys are only bought for special occasions (Christmas and birthdays). What's your system? Have you instituted one? I'd love to know and get some ideas!