Snow Day + Life with (just a few) Toys

We've stayed cozy, warm and at home during these past couple of snow days.

My heart goes out to all those who were stranded and separated from their families.


I thought it would be interesting to share how life with just a few toys is going since we've been housebound for 48+ hours. To give you a little background, mid January I found myself discouraged because I was drowning in children's toys, clothes, and other belongings. I wanted to throw myself down every time I had to face the daily grind of cleaning up our mess. I was in a perpetual bad mood.

I decided to take a radical step and I boxed up 95% of our toys to store. Immediately, I felt so much relief. I could see the floor again. I had put toys back before, but this time I put nearly all of them away, just leaving a carefully selected few out to play with. I realized that a lot of things I kept out before were things I wanted them to play with and not what they actually played with.

The best part about having just a few toys out is that so much quality has been added to our days. I feel like I can look my children in the eye, read, and be silly without the burden of so much disorder.

My children never (not even once) have said "where is my...?" Also, they have loved extra hard on the toys that are available to them instead of their usual scattering it all through the house and not really playing.

They build tents and forts with blankets and couch cushions. They draw and color. They occasionally sit and look at a book. They play chase. They "help" me in the kitchen. So the house still gets pretty disheveled everyday. But there is a deep peace in knowing that there are not 232 toys under my feet that eventually have to be picked up.

Also, since I have room to think, I actually have the energy to teach them to pick up after themselves. And though they sometimes protest, I know that they love being asked to do meaningful work. Can you imagine the satisfied feeling watching Blues Clues after you cleaned up all your Legos with only a little help from your baby sister?!

So yay, I have a life again. And I feel much more apt to gather everybody up and run out for an errand or adventure because I'm not wading through piles and piles of play food and puzzle pieces to get us out the door.

With a fewer toys I feel like my children are truly learning to play.

In a few months, I will rotate all the toys.


  1. Love the snow photos and what a great idea to limit the toys. I'm with you the "less is more" - even for my "old life."

  2. Love this. Love the pics. Love Laurie's scarf. :) I'm in full agreement with you about the toy situation. We have a problem over here and need a serious toy detox, too. My mom has a very small home daycare (6 kids, mostly toddler-aged), and she owns 3 medium-sized baskets of toys. That's it. I'm always AMAZED at how quickly her house can look back to normal after the kids have left for the afternoon.

  3. In December, I donated seven garbage bags of toys and boxed up a ton of toys because I too felt like I was drowning in toys. I could never get in control of managing it all and it was driving me crazy. I was more uptight and frustrated and short with the girls. It has been such a relief to have less to manage. I also printed and laminated pictures of their toys and taped them on the plastic bin they belong to. Now, they can find what they are looking for and can help me put their toys back where they belong. Why did I not do this three years ago??

  4. I am sure all the toys at my house made you go a little crazy today. Very inspiring! I need to de-clutter for sure!

  5. i am curious as to what toys made the cut and got to stay out in your house

  6. Can totally tell your region isn't used to snow when you see a little one playing in it in his Jammies!

    I think it's important to find what works for your family. Children thrive when there is love, consistency, and room for creative play. Sounds like more quality time together has replaced quantity of toys. Enjoy every moment together.

  7. I don't think we have a lot of toys, but after reading your inspiring post, I want to immediately start boxing up toys!! Christmas always brings an avalanche of stuff from extended family into our home. It's heartfelt, but it's still extra stuff that we don't need. My kids are old enough now that we have a rule: when they get a new stuffed animal as a present, an old one has to go. We are at carrying capacity (a biology class term!) for stuffed animals. They do the choosing (unless it's an heirloom - they always stay). This is my first step towards teaching them how to declutter their own stuff.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...