A year or two ago, a lot of my mommy-friends seemed to think that we had a LOT of toys at our house. We did have a fair number of toys, and they were kept in our living room since we don’t have a place for a play room.
Since then, I have changed my thinking about toys, and my 3yo son has also moved into a different bedroom, which is on the main floor. Now, we have almost no toys in the living room, and all of his toys (the ones that aren’t being stored in the basement) are in his relatively small bedroom. He has just a few toys in his bedroom because I believe it’s important for kids to have the opportunity to play creatively with a few toys and not be overwhelmed with too many toys all at once.
And so, I recently realized that now that my friends’ kids are getting older, their houses are being overrun by toys, whereas at any given time, we have just a few toys underfoot at our house. It is funny how things have turned topsy-turvey in that regard. I am often relieved when we return home from a friend’s house because I don’t feel overwhelmed by gazillion toys everywhere. I also feel that my everyday life is a good deal simpler because I’m not trying to operate in a house that’s overrun by toys.
Another benefit of having fewer toys is that I don’t feel that I’m being unrealistic to expect my son to pick up and put away ALL of the toys that he’s pulled out.
I’m sure my friends think I’m a little kooky. Like when we have playgroup at a local church’s nursery, when I arrive I put out of reach at least half of the 150 pieces of play food. Why? Because I hate picking them up after they’ve ended up in every corner of the room. I also think kids have just as much fun with 75 pieces of play food as they have with 150 pieces (okay, I may be exaggerating a bit here, but not by much).
All in all, I still feel we own too many toys. My strategy for dealing with the problem is
- We keep just a few toys in my son’s room at any one time. The rest of the toys are tucked away in the basement and we rotate in different toys every so often.
- We try to limit the number of new toys coming in to our house. For birthdays, we ask for no gifts (though we don’t expect the grandparents to comply).
- I make an effort to get rid of the toys that don’t seem worthwhile. This is getting more difficult as Adam gets older, however.