Saturday, January 31, 2009

Our Pioneer Living Experiment--Toys #1

This whole "even-simpler-living" experiment got started because of my irritation with toys. I was tired of cleaning them up endlessly, tripping over them, and enforcing the clean-up of them day in and day out. I had sorted through them before moving and weeded out a lot, but with Jer's birthday and then Christmas a month later, the kids received scads of new ones. I remember reading a chapter in the book "Hints on Child Training" about how spoiled American children are and how they have way more than they need. And the funny thing is, this book (which is a great resource for parenting) was written in 1890!!! Imagine what the author would think today if he took a look around our homes!

While my kids do seem to play with tons of toys and enjoy all of the toys they have, I realize that they do not need lots of toys to be smart, creative, happy, and content. I am thankful for the nice toys they received as gifts from loved ones, but when you have 3 little ones and thus baby toys, toddler toys, educational toys, boy toys, and girl toys everywhere it gets to be too many to have out all at once.

Now, here is where some of you will tell me I need to rotate them. This is something I've always done and it's a wonderful way to keep toys fresh. But even with having a box or two of toys in the shed, we still had too many toys lying around. And yes, we had a special suitcase for doll clothes, a special cardboard box full of dress-ups, a tub for trucks, a toybox for miscellaneous toys, and a basket in the living room for Justus' toys, and it was still too much.

So....what was my solution? I decided to pack up ALL of the kids' toys, save for 5 toys a piece. Because we now live in a house and have a storage shed in the yard that is enormous and has plenty of space, it wasn't hard to put the toys in the shed. I hauled about 3 medium-sized rubbermaid tubs and a garbage bag out to the shed.

Ali Joy thought it was fun to choose 5 special toys but I had to pry some away from Jeremiah who routinely carries as many cars and trucks he can fit in his fists EVERYWHERE he goes. Ali wanted to "play pioneers" like the girls in the Little House book and try living with less. Jer ended up with his semi-truck and trailer and about 3 matchbox cars and one front loader. Ali ended up with her princess carriage, a stuffed puppy, a camera, and a baby bottle and pony.

Now, keep in mind, although we are cutting way down, we still have way more at our disposal than the pioneers had. I'm not trying to be a pioneer in every respect. We still have our kids' closet shelf full of games, puzzles, dupo blocks tub, stacking buckets, etc. We also have a shelf in the linen closet devoted to art project/crafty/educational things and they have a bucket of bath toys in the bathroom and a tub of outdoor toys in the yard.

In my next post, I'll talk about how this 5 toy system has worked out for us over the past couple of weeks!

To be continued......

1 comment:

Heather said...

We may need to do that soon with stuffed animals. A few days ago the girls put all the animals on the ledge in their room, pretending they were "going to Montana." I counted 31.


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