When we had our first two children many years ago all of the toys they had fit into a basket that was kept in our dinning room, pretty much out of sight. When the basket begin to overflow we would simply sort through the toys, throw out anything broken, give away what they had outgrown, push the little basket back in place, and we were done. We didn’t buy big toys because we knew that we didn’t have room for them. Their favorite toys were an assortment of kids sized balls and a Little People Farm. Their clothes all fit in one chest of drawers too. When they had both outgrown them I would give them away.
Fast forward about 10 ten years and our home seems to overflow with toys and clothes.
Granted we have more children now. But, they don’t all play with toys on a regular basis and the ones that do don’t play with about 70% of the toys that we have. I have a good sized closet dedicated to stored clothing (outgrown by some, not grown into by others), as well as a room in the basement. We have a playroom in the basement where most of the toys reside but we have a few that have migrated to other rooms because everyone doesn’t always want to play in the basement. We have a homeschool room/bedroom on the top floor with educational toys and lots of books. We have TOO MUCH STUFF. Sorry for yelling but recently it’s began to drive me a little crazy.
So I obviously don’t have all of the answers to dealing with “stuff”, but here are a few things that I’ve been reminding myself of lately.
1. While more kids seems to equal more things, I don’t think it really has to. My older kids don’t play with a lot of toys anymore. They have a few things Legos, construction blocks, and circuits, but that’s about the extent of it and these things are easily stored. The middle two seem to play with the most, but again, they play with the same toys all of the time. The baby could care less about toys, he prefers pulling things out of cabinets. Yet, through holidays, birthdays, etc. we seem to collect a lot of things that we don’t really use.
2. The more I try to organize toys with the “everything has it’s place” method of sorting like things into boxes, baskets, etc. the more we collect and the less we purge. So here is my advice if you’re feeling like you’re becoming a little overrun with “stuff”. Never buy another storage container of any kind. Instead when your storage gets full, purge.
3. I’ve debated a lot lately on how helpful it really is to keep hand-me-downs or at least keep them all. It never fails when I go to open a box of clothes for the “next size up exchange” I realize that I’ve kept a lot of stuff that I should have just trashed. Pj’s for example, at least in our house, are not something that we should keep. No one really wants to wear them when they start feeling like sandpaper from too much washing. Clothing with stains, holes, or
items you’re just sick and tired of looking at and can’t bear to see them through another child things that have been well loved already, should probably just be thrown away. It’s important to remember that, that child will likely get his/her own clothing at birthdays and holidays also and if you save all of your hand-me-downs you may have way more clothes than you need. One more note on this, it takes a lot of storage to store a lot of hand-me-downs and if space it at a premium, saving may not be the best option. I’ve also considered just keeping a few items (holiday dresses or suits) and giving the rest away or consigning them.
Now time to be honest. This post was mostly for my benefit. It seemed like a good way to get these thoughts somewhere where I can look back at. Otherwise I’ll be keeping those yucky PJ’s again or keeping toys that should have been discarded a long time ago. But hey, if it helps you too all the better! Have a great week.