Jul 11, 2019

Minimalism With Kids and Toddlers - Living Without Clutter

Look, we've all been there. You know what I'm talking about. You're POSITIVE you had the house spotless (or at least somewhere close-ish) before bed the night prior. Yet somehow it's barely midday and you've found yourself standing in the middle of a chaotic room full of toys strewn all about and you're thiiiiis close to throwing in the towel.

Mommy - 0, Bug- 312

Let The Day Begin (Credit: Unsplash)

Isn't that simply how parenthood goes? The mess you endure with a toddler. Maybe it is. Then again, maybe it isn't. I never expected I could dig myself out of the cycle of endless messes, but here I am. I am free of the toy explosion extravaganza lifestyle.

Stop, Rewind, Explain. That's Possible?

Yep! It absolutely is. When my husband and I started to purge our home, we saved our daughters toys for last. We wanted to let her see us going through the process of getting rid of things as much as possible before we brought that drama into her life. And, if I'm honest, I wasn't really looking forward to the meltdown I thought would happen when we started saying goodbye to her things. But you know what? There was ZERO meltdown.

Oh, Yea. You Read That Right. Smooth Sailing. 

She hadn't played with a vast majority of her toys in so long that she forgot most of them existed. Which, to tell the truth, was what made this such an easy process for us. I was able to purge most of them during her nap. We let her have a say in some of the items we got rid of towards the end, though. I explained to her that we would be keeping some and giving others away. She actually surprised me by giving away a whole trash bag of toys on her own.

How To Decide What To Purge.

Books are Forever (Credit: Unsplash)
This part can be a bit tricky. Personally, what helped us decide was focusing on what Bug's favorite items, hobbies, and interests are. Our tyke loves all things to do with vehicles, art, music, books, and educational items. Anything that wasn't in one of those categories was tossed out. If you're not sure what items your kiddo gravitates towards, spend some time watching them for a few days when they're playing. That should help you narrow down your list of "keeps" much easier.

Benefits Of Purging Toys.

I've come to realize that when kids have less toys they find new ways to play with them. They will use what they have to reinvent playtime. Having a few toys vs a lot of play items allows creative thinking and problem solving skills to develop. Those skills, if encouraged at such a young, age will help them immensely when they're older. I ran across an intriguing read the other day on this topic, actually. Psychology Today has an article (hereby Susan Newman that goes more in depth on this topic.

Bye-Bye Mess!

My favorite part of this process is that it's so easy to keep the house clean now. I rarely have toys thrown around anymore. With so little to clean, keeping toys under control when Bug's not playing with them is as simple as picking something up as I walk by. I've found myself getting bored and looking for something to clean lately. Just today I felt restless and frustrated that I had nothing to do. It felt so weird... and good.

Now You're Done, Right?

(Credit: Unsplash)

Not so fast there. Keeping the kid's items to a minimum will be a continuous effort. You'll have toys entering your home faster than you can blink if you're not careful. Just think about it. Birthdays, holidays, kid's meals, random grabs at the store... It can all pile back up so quickly. I recommend letting friends and family know that you're taking a more minimalist approach to toys and kid items. In a world where everyone's pushing you to say "yes" to materialism, it's absolutely okay to say "NO." This isn't to say that you shouldn't buy things for your little one, though. And by that I mean...

Experience Over Materialism.

One of our family's favorite ways to supplement buying toys is to instead enjoy experiences together. We've even tried to ask our friends and family to give gifts on this line of thinking for holidays and birthdays. Those memories are one thousand times more precious than a new doll or train track. 

Exploring Outside (Image: All Rights Reserved)

Some Of Our Favorite Activities:  

Family Picnic - Finding a shaded spot and then looking at cloud shapes afterwards is super fun.

Park Days - Who doesn't love slides and swings on a perfect day?

Foraging - We'll give her a bowl and ask her to go find treasures in the yard. We then spend time talking and learning about what she's discovered.

The Mall - We live in Texas, y'all. It's not always nice outside (The sun is downright hostile) so sometimes we just like to browse around the mall and let her explore different things there. 

The Zoo - Because animals are the best ever. 

Berry Picking - When the season is right this is a great way to teach her the value of food. We also like the Farmer's Market sometimes.

Movie Night - While we're excited for the day we can take Bug to the movies, I'm talking about a movie matinee at home for now. I'm not jazzed about dealing with a two year old in a theater. Pass.

Museums - We lucked out with a kid who loves to learn about literally everything. If it's educational she's all over it like white on rice on a paper plate in a snow storm. 
Bug and Daddy at the Zoo (Image: All Rights Reserved)

Arts and Craft Day - I've got a few of Bug's paintings hanging around the house. Maybe have a binder where they can save their favorites. 

Local Library - Story times and other events that are age appropriate are great and free ways to have some fun.

What are your methods to downsizing kid items? Do you have any good activity recommendations? I'd love to hear about them so I can add them into our rotation! 

P.s. Let's keep in contact. Don't forget to comment, subscribe, pin, save, and share! 


  1. I LOVE this. I'm not yet a mommy myself, unless you count cats, but we're looking to build our family soon and overwhelming kid-stuff is a huge worry of mine. Not to mention all the stuff our family will contribute.

    We're also at the start of our minimalism journey (feel free to checkout my blog, I'll be sharing a lot of the process in the coming months!)

    Anyway, thank you! I will be looking to your blog as a resource throughout our transition. 🖤

    1. Cat's totally count! I still call my cats my kids and get weird looks from my husband. Lol
      Yes, it can be so overwhelming when just starting out. I wish I had discovered minimalism back then. We drowned in baby things. We're still discovering new ways we can apply our minimalist mindset in our lives so it's only getting better as time passes. I'll check out your blog as well, thank you. :) <3 I hope mine is able to help you in your journey.

  2. Ps, Your daughter is adorable.

    1. Thanks! Don't let her hear you, though. She already tells me she's amazing and beautiful. Literally. Lol <3
      That girl's got the confidence I aspire to have.