Many months later, I read Simplicity Parenting. It inspired me to really simplify everything around my house. It has been a slow process. We had so much stuff, and still aren't where I want to be yet. I did not want to simplify too much, too fast. I didn't want anyone to get upset, so I have been going slowly, a little bit in every room.
Rainbow Girl is fantastic at donating things. She recognizes when she has not played with something for a while and usually volunteers items up.
Sugar Bear on the other hand has a very hard time letting anything go. Even things that he has no use for or has had no interest in for a very long time. When going through things, I have to do it without him.
When I began reducing the things in the house, I started with toys. I gathered all the toys in the house. That's right, all of them. It was quite a disturbing pile. I went through and threw out all the cheap-o toys, toys missing pieces or toys that were broken. Then I chose half to donate. Finally, I chose half of the keep pile to put away in the attic.
When I was going through, I asked these questions of every item.
- Is it broken?
- Is it missing pieces (that I can not find)?
- Has it ever been loved/ How long has it been since then?
- Does this make a terribly annoying sound/song that has been bothering me for months? (I got rid of a few toys that were loved because of this reason.)
After a few months, I went to trade the keep pile with the keep pile in the attic. I felt the urge to donate again and was able to eliminate half of both the keep piles, still only keeping half downstairs.
I came to realize that toys that do things were toys that do not inspire imagination. Boredom is important! Constant entertainment is unnecessary. If a child is entertained constantly at home, how will they react to waiting in line at a store or while visiting family? Since that realization, I have donated 95% of the toys that do things. Much to my delight, I have seen nothing but positive results. The kids both play better, argue less, and use more imagination with the remaining toys.
Even with the elimination of the toys that do things, 90% of the toys we had were still plastic. When you by wooden toys, you know they are nontoxic. You know that they do not contain PVC, phthalates, lead, or bisphenol-A that some plastic toys have been known to have. Natural toys are sustainable, biodegradable and generally more durable than their plastic, cheapo counterparts. Toys made of natural materials are so much more of a positive overall sensory experience. Time to reduce again, and invest in a few new toys!
I know that we need to watch less TV. That is my New Years resolution. I feel like that is one of our final steps in simplifying the constant flow of entertainment.
This is the phase that I am in right now. I am trying to eliminate the amount of plastic toys by at least 80%. Santa has been told about our hopes for natural toys, and I am excited to see what he brings! I can tell you that I know he did 90% of his shopping at the following sites.
Ok, you pressured me enough, I'll give you a sneak preview of one of the gifts.
Stay tuned. I'm very excited to show you all the natural toys and art supplies that Santa is bringing!