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The toys… oh the toys, toys, toys, toys!
We were dealing with a never-ending toy surplus. No matter how many times I organized, no matter how many garage sales we had, the toys were causing problems.
We had tried several methods for tidying up that didn’t work!
I knew we needed an EPIC TOY CLEAN-OUT, but I had to get my kids on board with the idea. I find it’s best to avoid future therapist sessions if at all possible.
I enacted my devious plan. I mean, I lovingly and patiently guided them into a better way of thinking. In just a few weeks, my kids were ready to part with TONS of their toys, and they are glad they did.
Want to get your kids on board with your minimal-ish mindset?
Try these four simple steps to convince your kids to get rid of their toys:
Show Them A Better Way
If you want your kids to willingly discard their toys, you need to show them by example that discarding is easy and freeing! Begin with discarding your own belongings! Before we tackled my kids’ things, my husband and I cleaned out our closet, our books, and many other things using the methods in The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.
They watched as we held an item, paused considered its value, and ultimately decided that it didn’t spark joy. It might have been valuable, but it wasn’t bringing value to our lives. It had to go.
click to read Why Your Kids Need Fewer Toys
Create a Vision for Better Life
What do you want your home to look like? Why do you want your kids to have fewer toys? Have you considered the reasons why your kids need less?
Once you get the idea, it’s time to help your children catch the vision too!
Children think in concrete terms, so discuss with them real, practical examples of what life will be like with less.
I had my older daughters, ages 12 and 8, describe their ideal life. My 5 year old participated in the conversation, but wasn’t really able to contribute a vision. Surprisingly, it was right on par with my visions too! They said things like orderly mornings, complete with chores and schoolwork, followed by afternoons of playing outdoors, creating projects, and playing with toys.
I suggested that messy rooms, disorderly clothing storage, and clutter in the schoolroom kept us from living our life the way we wanted to.
Then I left it at that. I gave those thoughts time to ruminate without suggesting a solution.
Create a Vision for a Better Playroom
This was fun! We sat down and searched Pinterest together. I typed in keywords like “playroom” and “minimalist playroom”. We talked about the things we liked and what made each room appealing. They saw what it was like to have rooms tidy and toys on display. They noticed cleared tables and space to move.
(We applied these same techniques when we redid our homeschool room to make it cozier: Hygge in our Homeschool Room)
Create a Vision for Better Play
Both have handles, baskets, and four wheels. The Brio cart can be a shopping cart, a baby carriage, a chariot, a car, a wagon, a wheelchair…. The Minnie Mouse cart has a hard time being anything other than a Minnie Mouse shopping cart. It certainly isn’t sturdy enough to sit in. We actually owned both these carts so it was a great comparison for my kids.
I picked up a red cylinder wooden block and we imagined all the things that it could be. A ketchup bottle, a pedestal, a column, a log, a wheel, a drink, a salt shaker…
They got it.
They were beginning to use those neglected imaginations for something other than Minecraft construction!
Notice how I gave each new thought a day or so to settle in their brains. I was playing the long game, Mamas. I knew I couldn’t clap my hands, smile, and take all their toys. That could lead to bitterness and coveting more toys.
I had to capture their imaginations. I had to get them to catch the vision. They had to feel like it was their idea!
Once I had captured their imaginations, the next step was easy.
If you liked this post, please comment below! What steps have you taken to encourage your children to adopt minimal-ish ideas? If you love this post, share it! 🙂
Fresh sheets and ripe avocados,