The following post is by editor Kara Fleck.
It is time to downsize at our house, I can feel it. Our play areas are starting to feel a little chaotic and lately a few Spring-like sunny days revealed a layer of dust on some once beloved items. I know I need to reevaluate what we own and the kids and I need to make some decisions.
I try to follow the “one in, one out” rule, but that didn’t happen during this most recent round of birthdays and holidays. We have accumulated too many things and it is affecting our living space and the quality of the children’s play.
Are you also feeling overwhelmed by the books and toys your children have? Are they having a hard time keeping things picked up?
When this happens at my house, despite our toy and book rotating, I know that it might be time to downsize. Luckily, my friend Tsh of Simple Mom is coming to my rescue with her annual Project Simplify. My house, especially the children’s spaces, can’t wait to begin!
If you’re a regular reader of Simple Kids or Rockin’ Granola then you know that I readily confess that I don’t “do it all.” One of the things I’m able to coast a little bit on is the deep cleaning. I get by with basic every day chores that the kids and I do (toilets, beds, floors, and kitchen surface cleaning) and a twice a year intense deep attic to garage cleaning. Only last fall with a new baby, that autumn deep clean didn’t happen.
We’re overdue for some clutter control.
Perhaps some of you are finding yourself in the same situation?
Is it Time to Downsize?
First, ask yourself a few questions about the items:
- Are items currently being played with? Talk to your kids: are they playing with these toys? Do they still want them/love them? Have any books or toys been outgrown? Can things be passed down to the next child or donated? Are there broken or missing pieces that make them unusable? Things that need thrown away or repaired?
- Is the way these items are currently stored/displayed in our home visually appealing? Observe your child in these spaces, both during play and when it is time to pick up. Can the child put things away on their own? Is it easy to get things out to play with or read? Is this a peaceful space? Or is it a chaotic and cluttered space? This impacts a child’s play environment.
- Would less be more? If so, downsize.
Do We Need to Reevaluate the Space?
There are some areas of our home, specifically the book and toy storage, where I think we need to take another look at the space. I’m not sure we’re using our home and our storage in the most efficient or practical way. There are books overflowing their shelves and we have baskets and lids that won’t shut on bins and toy boxes.
When it comes to the methods of storage and the space you have, ask yourself:
- Is there adequate storage space for the items? Do you need a larger bookshelf? Toy box?
- Is there a better way to store or display the toys, books, art supplies or collection? Are you making the best use of your space? Do your containers make sense for the objects they are holding?
- Do those items deserve the investment of time and space for bigger storage? Do they enrich your child’s play and your family environment? Are they worth making room for?
If you come to the conclusion that your child is ready for a larger bookshelf or her collections needs a bigger storage space, and it is worth the investment of money and space to you, then you can make some adjustments with how you are using the space and bring in some other storage options.
However, if it isn’t worth it to you to get a larger storage system, then perhaps it is time to downsize to a more manageable amount.
I think at our house we need to do a little of both.
If items are just gathering dust and taking up space, I know it is time to let them go to make room for the supplies we truly use and love.
Is it time to downsize the books and toys at your house? I’m going to roll up my sleeves and do some downsizing and deep cleaning in the kids’ spaces. Yes, even with “before” and “after” photos. Will you be doing any Spring cleaning? Will you involve your kids?