This is a continuation in our series on Children and Minimalism.
Toys can be one of the biggest deterrents to living with less as they seem to multiply in the night. We’re still in the phase where we as parents control what gets to stay, but I know a day is coming when the tiny one will have big opinions on his stuff.
His bedroom houses the majority of the toys although sometimes he (or we) bring things to the living room to play. Since we’ve pared back the volume and given everything a home he is able to tidy and put things away on his own. Not perfectly, but his attempts improve each day. Because he’s not quite two, we praise him extensively for any effort while helping him finish the task. Someday we’ll expect him to tidy with out loud cheers and clapping, but for now while he’s learning we’ll employ any positive motivation that is necessary.
I made his teepee and it is one of his things that I adore the most. He mostly likes to play around it, but he loves when mom or dad sit inside to read stories. The older he gets the more he crawls in and out. He likes to stash his favourite books and toys there. You can almost always find a volume of Duck and Goose and his red ball.
I picked up the rocking moose at a yard sale thinking it was a cute decoration for his nursery, but I am continually amazed at how much play time it sees. He rides on it, he makes his doll ride on it, sometimes his balls and books and lego get a turn. It definitely has brought a lot of joy to his life.
We have a stash of books in his bedroom and a basket full in the living room. I swap them with each other, or change them out entirely from time to time to keep it fresh. I want him to be exposed to a lot of literature, but he gets overwhelmed if he has too many options at one time.
Besides his basket of books, the living room has a wooden truck with blocks and two puzzles. We keep it super minimalist there and let him bring toys out from his bedroom when he wants to play.
We built this play bench for him for Christmas and intentionally keep the design very simple so it could serve many purposes. Today it’s a tool bench, but tomorrow it can be a kitchen. Eventually we will build a stool so he can use it as a desk. We have a basket to store whatever items aren’t being used and swap out the setup when he seems bored with the current one.
Once upon a time, when we were using his room, we built this wardrobe to house our not-yet-Konmaried wardrobes. I’d love to hide the majority of this stuff in concealed storage, but small space living doesn’t always provide the luxury of closets and closed doors.
The top shelf holds things that we don’t want the toddler to access – toys that aren’t age appropriate, books that are a little too delicate for his chubby fingers. The gorilla basket on the bottom has toys that we swap in and out for other things – lincoln logs for duplo, kitchen set for tool kit. Next to that is his farm set that he pulls out almost daily. His ride-on truck is a little inconvenient being up on a shelf, but we get it down when he asks for it and just put it away before bed. There really isn’t any other place to store it so we deal.
His birthday is coming up at the end of February and we’re carefully selecting what new toys we want to invite into our home. Because it is so close to Christmas, we will keep the gifts to a minimum and reevaluate his developmental level and needs closer to summer.
I know we are lucky that we still have control over this area. I am sincerely hoping that by intentionally modelling a life with less and treasuring the things we do own, he will naturally follow our lead. I realize he very well may not and we will have to reevaluate how we approach his stuff at that time.