Minimizing their toys
It was an A-HA moment for me.
I had been so STUPID! In my frustration with the sheer amount of TOYS that had taken over our home, I had completely MISSED exactly what I was communicating to my kids.
Minimizing their toys had become a punishment.
No wonder they were fighting me on it!
Don’t forget to bring the joy
My boys are 6 and 4 and they’ve known for some time now that we are moving into an RV full-time. We’ve been slowly getting rid of toys over the last year and a half- through donating, throwing away, or bringing them to grandma’s house.
But every time we went through their toys, things quickly turned emotional and suddenly EVERY toy became “special” and “important.”
There are many reasons to minimize the amount of stuff in your home, something that I touch on in a previous post. But that doesn’t mean it comes easily… at least not for me.
I had read about mom’s minimizing their kids’ toys with great success and I was beginning to feel that either they were lying or I was somehow broken (or, more likely, my kids were.)
But when I was watching Tidying Up with Marie Kondo (yup, I am totally getting sucked in too!) it suddenly hit me like a ton of BRICKS! I had forgotten to bring the JOY.
Maybe you can relate. It goes something like this:
I enter their room and see all. the. toys. in all. the. places.
I loose my ever-loving mind.
I start scolding and threatening in all manner of craziness that sounds something like “this is why we can’t have so many toys- you guys don’t even know how to take care of them… since when you do think that shoving everything behind the door is putting them away?… what is that under your bed… get under there and pull everything out immediately, we are going to put things away properly and get rid of a bunch of stuff while we are at it.”
And I’ve been wondering why they don’t want to minimize. Yikes!
Bringing the Joy
So after watching a few episodes of Tidying Up, I decided that I needed to bring the JOY back to the downsizing process.
I took a deep breath, calmed my anxious mind and body, and told the kids that we were going to have some fun organizing our toys and picking out our favorites.
You know what, we got rid of a whole giant trash bag full of toys that day. Without any tears, yelling, or fighting. And since then, my oldest has taken up a love of “organizing” (the apple really doesn’t fall far…).
How to Minimize without Tears
I’ve been reflecting on this over the last few days and I have come up with a few things that I believe have made all the difference in our experience with minimizing their toys.
- Start from a place of JOY. Remember when we have less, we can experience more freedom and less anxiety and ultimately more JOY. Find the JOY in the task FIRST. (Seems obvious now, doesn’t it).
- Explain your reasons for minimizing their toys. Maybe you are moving into a smaller space or wanting to keep a tidier home. No matter your reason, talk to your kids about it first.
- Focus on what you are KEEPING instead of what you are getting rid of. This was a huge turning point for me. I had been asking them- “which of these toys can we pass on/say goodbye to/give away/etc.” I was always met with resistance. So instead I started asking “which 5 cars do you want to KEEP?” and “What animals are the MOST special to you?” Switching the focus allowed us to keep the joy and actually get rid of a lot more stuff without all the fuss.
Stay the Course
If you are trying to work with your kids on minimizing their toys, you know how challenging it can be. But stay with it! Re-group, re-focus and FIND THE JOY. You might be surprised at what happens when you do.
I’d love to hear about your experience with downsizing your kids’ toys! Tell me about it in the comments below!