I counted my daughter’s Barbies. There was 18 (I had weeded some a few months ago). I didn’t even think of counting Barbie shoes, purses and hair brushes. Who has time for that? The Barbies and accessories are organized in various containers.
A few years ago I went through similar exercise and counted all the stuffed bears my kids had. There was over 20. I kept them organized in built-ins in the living room.
Not so long ago I organized kids books, and separated a big pile of Disney movie synopsis-type “literature” to be donated.
How many toys does a child really need? And by the same token, how many hair accessories, jewelry, PJs and clothes does one fast- growing child need?
I don’t know what exactly prompted me to realize it: maybe because I am on my fourth child and I’ve seen it all before. Or maybe because I have a big house and am getting tired of keeping all the
crap treasures organized. Possibly, because growing up I had 1/34th of what my kids have, and was happy with what I had. It may also be due the fact that I am turning 40 this year and hit the point of re-assessing my previously set beliefs. Regardless of how I got there, my approach to kids’ (and my own too, btw) stuff has solidified as “less is more”.
Here is what I strive for with kids’ stuff:
I regularly discuss with my son and daughters which toys they currently like to play with, and which they don’t care about. They put the latter in a bag which gets donated. I emphasize to them the importance of keeping only the most beloved and the most played with toys. I want them to learn to be fine with getting rid of something if it has no meaning or value to them (I see a major barbie weeding in the near future).
The remaining toys are organized by categories. The key to keeping toys organized is easy access to toy storage. Right now we are in the process of re-organizing my daughter’s room, with this goal in mind. Stay tuned for the result!
Toddler/baby toys are stored in 5 canvas bins in her closet (I use these basic ones from Target):
Each morning I take one bin out and bring it in the living room. At the end of the day the toys go back in the bin and in the closet. The next morning she sees “new” toys from another one out of the 5 bins. One bin of toys per day proved to be plenty to keep her occupied. (I will explain why I switched to this system in a separate post).
I view books just like I view toys. A lot of them have no value and no meaning. It is harder to admit with books, because I grew up with great appreciation for reading and I want my kids to share it. However, I do judge a book by its cover. Only books with literary value get to stay.
Clothes and accessories:
For a long time I was the mom who felt the pressure to buy the kids as much clothes/accessories as I could afford. At times I couldn’t afford much, so I shopped consignment stores, “the best sales of the season” etc. I followed the sales with the “lowest prices” religiously because I needed to stock up! Over the years I realized that most of that stock gets too small because kids grow out of it too fast, or doesn’t get worn because they stick to a handful of favorites. What’s the point chasing sales and digging through piles of clothes in consignment stores? I got tired of sorting through storage bins with obsolete but barely worn clothes.
Now I buy the bare minimum but the kind that I know my children will wear. I buy clothes with their preferences in mind: I know my daughter prefers shorts over skirts, and my son will not touch jeans if there are twill pants right next to them. The kids do their own laundry, and keeping smaller inventory makes it easier for them to stay on top of their laundry and closet organization.
I have a post coming up dedicated to Barbie alone, because she is such a” big deal”. But today I would really like to know your approach to handling kids’ belongings. Do you let the kids decide what they want to keep, or do you set your own limits?