One of the reasons I began to explore minimalism was the explosion of toys I was cleaning up throughout the day and, especially, before bed time. It felt out of control and came to be something I dreaded. And honestly, I don’t think we even had that many toys. However, there were too many for my liking and they were not well organized so my girls (4 and 2 years old) didn’t really know how to navigate through their own toys.
Also, I noticed that my girls weren’t playing with any particular toy for very long. They were quickly bouncing from one toy to the next, discarding that momentary interest on the floor in order to scramble for something else that caught their eye (and it was usually in their sister’s hand). It seemed like neither of the girls were ever happy with the toy in front of them. This was so frustrating to deal with each day.
Finally, because our toys were not well organized, no one could really keep track of what we had. Toys weren’t being taken care of well, pieces would be missing so certain toys became unusable, and the girls seemed not to value what they had. The mistake I made here was thinking that bins of toys would be easy for the kids to get into and then helpful for them to be part of the picking up process. The latter was true because all the toys just got dumped into the bins at clean up time. However, bins (especially when they are not clear so that you can’t see what is inside) make it very hard for such little kids to find what they are looking for or even remember which toys are at the bottom of the bin. This means every bin gets dumped out every day to find that one tiny piece that’s sure to be at the bottom. Ugh.
This is what the kids’ area looked like with my attempt to set up bins of toys. I had always wanted one of these bench shelf things…saw it on Pinterest. Oi. Anyway, tried it and found that we didn’t use it to sit on, we just piled junk on it, and the whole ‘bin of toys’ idea wasn’t working.
Oh, and please, please, excuse the incredibly scary looking balloon bunny. Don’t have nightmares. I know it’s creepy. Someone gave it to the girls but sadly, the little bunny disappeared one night after the girls went to bed. It was very sad.
Anyways, after this wasn’t working and Hadessah got a great little play kitchen for her birthday (yay for IKEA and grandparents), I revamped my set up. We added in a table and a little shelf along with the kitchen. However, I sadly didn’t figure out just how badly the bins of toys were wreaking havoc on my sanity. And this is what I came up with.
A definite improvement, but as you can see (not fully) the bench of bins still existed! So, while I made a lot of effort to give the girls more of a designated space, I still didn’t tackle the toy organization problem. I, in fact, somewhat added to it. The kitchen came with more toys! Play dishes and play food galore.
We still had bins dumped out every day to find that one particular toy. We still had toys that got ruined or damaged because of being stored in bins. We still had kids who were overwhelmed by the number of toys they had and so didn’t know how to play well with any of their toys. More change needed to happen.
I can’t wait to share with you the steps I took to solve all of these problems! I’ll be working on that post next so check back soon!