In praise of less

So I get that minimalism isn’t a new thing. Everyone on the planet has Marie Kondo-d their houses, we all read Apartment Therapy‘s tips for living in small spaces, we know to rid our lives of clutter… we’re on it.  Nothing in this post is anything that hasn’t been said before, it’s just a testimonial to the power of less.*

But you guys.

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Earlier this week, my almost 3 year old and I went toe-to-toe over picking up his toys before naptime. Now, we live in a 484 square foot house, so it’s not like we own a ton of toys to begin with. And a couple months ago (in my Marie Kondo/ Simplicity Parenting fervor) I gathered up all of our toys and sorted out half or more of them to put away in the garage because I noticed that Jack was arranging his toys in rows instead of actually playing with them (a sign that he had too many according to Simplicity Parenting).

But when Jack refused to help pick up his toys earlier this week I issued an ultimatum: pick up your toys or they’re going away. He called my bluff and said he wanted them gone.

So they are.

I’m not a monster. They’re in the garage with all the other toys that are put away. The only things I left out are the books**, a Thomas the Train track and trains, a Clipo set from Grandma that has seen some play lately (mostly from the 15 month old who likes to empty and refill the bucket, but whatever), a stacking rings set, one Hess truck and our wooden blocks. 

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But you guys.

They’re playing with all of it.

And they’re playing *nicely* with all of it. And not just dumping it all out and leaving it or lining it up in rows that can’t be touched.

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And when it’s time to clean up it takes less than a minute and there are no tears as long as Jack can “be-tend that I’m a big cuhWAIN and I’m YOADing sings!” (… say it out loud. You’ll get it.)

So as the holidays approach and you’re bombarded with advertisements for All The Things, consider this a nudge in a different direction. If a kid adores one truck, 10 more aren’t going to make him 10x happier. But fewer options available to him will lead to more focused, deeper play. I’ve seen it.

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And don’t worry. He’ll still have the pleasure of strewing every toy in the house around the living room. It will just be less likely to make both of you cry.

– Elizabeth

* No affiliate links in this post, just stuff I’ve used or read or liked.

** Half of our books are also put away, ready to be pulled out when we’re bored with this set.

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2 thoughts on “In praise of less

  1. How wonderful to hear that you are actually parenting! Most parents give in to their little Prince and Princesses! You are on the right track! We all get frustrated with so much stuff! Have you ever stood in the toothpaste asle wondering which one you should purchase? Once upon a time it was what brand. Now every brand has a dozen to choose! You are a very good Mother! You keep it up! 😄

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