No seriously. I really did it.
It all started a few months ago when I was reading this blog. It struck a chord with me. The need for simplicity, the need for contentment. I read it, I thought about it, I talked about it with friends and my hubs, then I forgot about it.
On Friday, February 21st, I had a moment. One of those out of body, crazy ugly, screaming, angry, mom moments. The ones that I am ashamed to admit happen (I much rather you all think that I really have it together all the time, but that’s a lie.) The previous day we had a playdate. It was wonderful, mommas on the couch sipping coffee, kiddos in the next room playing happily. Until they left. We try to instill our girls to be good hostesses, the friends picked up some of the toys, but the responsibility was with my girls to clean it up. There were toys EVERYWHERE. It was dangerous to walk in their room for fear of getting pierced in the foot by a magic clip princess. They worked for about 30 min to clean it up and it looked like NO progress had been made. We had a busy rest of the day so through a series of events, they went to bed with a messy room.
Back to the “moment” Friday morning we woke up and I stated “Its time to clean up all the toys girls” to which one of them put their hand on their little hip and said “no.” Clearly I didn’t sleep well and hadn’t had my coffee yet, but I lost it. (**Disclaimer, no one was hurt, there was just tears… Also.. we only have 980 sq feet for a family of 5 so space and cleanliness is of the utmost importance) I whipped out trash bags and started collecting EVERY toy they had in their room. Statements like “If you can’t take care of it, you don’t get it” and “We have to have grateful hearts” were flying. Girls were crying, I was crying. It was traumatic.
Once I calmed down, and apologized, and gave endless hugs and kisses, I still had a living room FULL of toys. I didn’t want them all to go back in the room but now I had a situation. It was hard to get in and out of the front door situation. So I went to Target. Obviously.
I went and picked up some bins. I sorted, and threw away, and sorted, and donated, and sorted. You get the idea. It took me almost 4 hours, but I organized every toy they had into toy sets. Then I put every bin into the garage, a little wall of toys.
The next morning we dusted and vacuumed and removed the toy storage from their room. This little area used to be full to the brim with toys and now they have a “cave.”
They now have a little reading “nook”
After pancake breakfast (Sat. morning tradition), each girl got to go out to the garage to pick a bin and two lovies (stuffed animals) They get that bin for the whole week and the following Saturday they can trade it out.
Ya’ll, its been amazing.
They each have their bin (which they are required to share), dress up clothes (I allowed them because they are imagination play), and books. I have puzzles and home-school games that I happily pull out at their request (and when brother is sleeping).
My oldest stopped melting down and every little thing. The girls play together SO WELL. They are using their imaginations and are becoming the best of friends.
I realized that all those toys were getting in the way of them playing, of really playing well. They haven’t asked for the rest of their toys even once. The other day Zoie said “I can’t wait for Saturday to get a new bin.” I responded with “What are you going to get?!?” and she said “I’m not sure yet, I’m going to think about it, but its going to be awesome.”
There is so much more room in our house. All 5 of us can go in their room at night to read, play pretend, build forts, etc. Its just simpler and its better. So much better.
I realize this isn’t for everyone… But its working for us. We want to teach our kids to be grateful and simple. To have less and live well. To use their God given creativity and imagination instead of batteries. I’m not sure this will be the answer forever, but it is right now and I can breathe a sigh of relief.
Blessings from our family to yours.