Like any new mother, when it came to showering my baby with toys, I fell for it all. The gimmicky ads, the articles on "educational toys," and yes, the re-marketing that turned lukewarm curiosity into Amazon Prime purchases. I wanted to give my son the very best, but of course I wasn't spoiling him – was I?
I didn't think so, until recently when I was forced to clean out his room to prepare for our upcoming home downsizing. I started to look around at all the toys that he hardly plays with. For instance, does he play with his hi-tech coding toy that we got him? No. But he does walk around collecting pet rocks and spoons, putting his imagination into overdrive.
Where Did All That Money Go?
It became clear that I wasn't doing my son or our family any favours by splurging. Young kids don't know the difference between a $100 toy and a dollar store one. It comes back to the old adage: give them a present, and they'll play with the wrapping paper.
Pretty soon after this realization, I started to become more familiar with the concept of minimalism with children. My husband and I experienced the benefits of de-cluttering our lives last year, so why not pass those lessons on to our son? There were numerous benefits.
I can't say how many times I've sworn under my breath after stepping on a sharp piece of Lego. An immediate advantage of purging our kid's toys was having a cleaner home, which meant less clutter and thus less stress for us.
Cleaning out his toys was a challenge, as he's too young to understand the process. However, we're hoping that by letting go of some of his things, we'll instill strong habits in him. For instance, not becoming attached to material things, or not wanting everything he sees in the advertisements he'll be bombarded with as he grows.
Ownership and Appreciation:
Until he saw me sorting through his things, he didn't even remember half of the toys he had. Clearing these forgotten treasures out allowed for appreciation of his favourite toys, the ones he actually wanted to keep. Being able to put them back in their place by himself became an easier task.
Watching a child at play is like watching a work of art. It didn't take much to kick start his already blooming imagination. Instead of looking for a toy to amuse himself, he'd walk around the house "fixing" things with his "wrench" (a.k.a. an Allen key).
Saving money became two-fold for us. Not only did we make money from the toys we sold secondhand, but we also shifted our thinking in regards to the way we shop for our son. We would sleep on decisions longer and decide whether or not he really needed that toy.
Minimalism with children may not be right for everyone, but so far it has been very beneficial for us!