I continued to ask myself - what toys encourage creative play, reasoning, education, physical activity, creativity, music...
We dumped our themed "tubs" of Barbie items, baby doll items, dress up items, balls, car/trucks, blocks, dollhouse items. We trashed broken pieces and donated duplicate items. I believe that Barbies are fine, but 1 tub of Barbie items is enough. Baby Dolls are good, but no more than fits in this tub. Same for dress up and so on. If the supplies outgrow this 1 tub, some of it has to go.
Because, really - do we need 10 baby dolls or will 5 be just fine? Do we need 20 purses or will 10 be just fine?
Over Winter Break, we gathered the stuffed animals from all over the house and piled them all in the middle of the family room floor. We played with them for a while and identified our most special ones. I asked each child to pick their 15 most favorite. We donated 2 garbage bags full of stuffed animals! I believe stuffed animals encourage great creativity and my children play with them ALL THE TIME, but do we need 300 stuffed animals?
With Ian - I set out nearly 20 cars/trucks and let him play with them for a while. I watched which ones he was attracted to and I took about 10 away to donate.
So, basically - I just tried to eliminate a good chuck, clean and re-organize our playroom. I was able to gather nearly 3 garbage bags for our upcoming yard sale and donation!
A thought that kept coming to me as I worked through this project is, "Relationships are more important than stuff." I totally believe in the value of some specific toys, but too many toys really is distracting and it adds extra clutter, stress and WORK to your life. But, it's a journey... so, I will continue to take each day and each moment as it comes - doing the best I can do - thankful for what we have and thankful for what we can give.
Here is our Play Room BEFORE. Our Play Room is our basement. We have a 500 sq ft area that is Kid Land! We have wonderful storage and shelving (that was here when we moved in!)
Like I said, I focused on reorganizing, cleaning and donating a lot of duplicate items. We try to keep all of our toys in the basement. There are very few toys in bedrooms. I try to keep those areas as peaceful and as clean as possible.
Here is the Dress Up area BEFORE. I donated a few dresses and went through the baskets, tossed broken items and donated duplicates.
Here is the Play Area AFTER. Closed closet doors! The balls and doll house remain out. We also have a keyboard, mic, and speaker for music lessons and writing!
Here is the Living Room side AFTER. I left out a basket of books, a table with wooden blocks to build, and there is also a play kitchen and train table (a building station) with legos and cars/trains under it in baskets.
One strategy that has helped our family immensely is to have "Toy Catchers" located around the house. I have 1 placed at the top of the basement and 1 is located upstairs in our landing area. Any stray toys we find laying around the house get put in the basket during our Clean Up time - and then I carry the baskets down to put everything back in their homes. Josh wants to help pick up, but he doesn't know where everything goes - and when the kids try to say, "I don't know where that goes!" - just stick it in the basket - so this really helps! And it helps to eliminate the clutter that spreads around the house.
So... How did you do this week?!