Getting Minimalist with Toddlers

Often times people will walk into my house and say “I love the energy in here,” or “this feels so zen.” To me, that is the biggest compliment they could give to my home. My life is already so stressful just because I have a husband in the army, I watch six small children during the day and one 24/7, I live in a high traffic area, and life just takes so much time. Preparing healthy meals, doing laundry, cleaning, cloth diapering, meeting with friends, grocery shopping and taking care of myself on top of that just jam packs my days for the most part. One of the major things that keeps me sane and grounded is that my house (for the most part!) is pretty orderly and peaceful.

To say that this is “just the person I am” as the reason my home is this way would be the biggest lie I’ve ever told. In all honesty I’d rather leave my grungy jammies on the floor, I’d rather swing my towel over the top of the door than hang it neatly on the towel rack. I’d rather leave my jewelry on the bathroom counter! The problem is the convenience and lackadaisicalness of these things is very similar to racking up debt on a credit card- it’s just something you will have to deal with later, and probably when you have even LESS time than you do now! What minimalism does to help you in your battle for peace in your home is it allows you space and clarity so it is easy to see what is important. It makes it easy to find what you’re looking for. It makes it so simple to put your items back where they belong. It makes taking care of your possessions a joy rather than a burden.

I hear a lot of folks talk about how they need to block out a date to organize and get rid of junk, some even hire a professional to step in and do it for them! The best way (coincidentally my way) is really to just do it all the time. Think of every spare increment of time you have in your day as a time to look around and see what you don’t need anymore. Notice all the little things that have been bothering you (that cobweb up in the corner) and take care of it then. Think of the act of getting rid of things you don’t need like a spiral dance, one which you do constantly. You would think that not buying more things is an easy solution, but even that isn’t enough. Especially if your children have a few pairs of adoring grandparents, it might seem impossible to stay minimalist with the constant influx of toys.

One way to sort out what is important is to look out for what your children enjoy playing with. Give away any toys that your child has stopped playing with. Designate an area in your home for toys, and do not allow any more toys than what will fit. You can even explain this limit to your child so they understand why they can’t keep all the toys on the planet! Throw away broken toys (unless you will repair it today). Look out for toys that may be too advanced for your child, or those which are too complex or intricate for their age range. I am definitely not a fan of bins for toys, as bins seem to encourage children to dump the contents out. Instead, I prefer to display the most used, loved, high quality, and beautiful toys on open shelving. If a toy has too many loose parts, it’s ok to remove many and only enough to capture interest.

playroomHere is my playroom before.

playroom2Here is my playroom after.

As you can see, they are pretty similar. Some of the changes and reasons:

– Bins are gone! Too much dumping of bins and standing on baskets which was ruining them!

– Curtains removed! They pulled them down.

– Painting removed! They kept taking it down.

-Dollhouse removed! They mostly wanted to stand on it!

– Bookshelf removed! They kept throwing the books and small toys behind it, and kept trying to climb it which was unsafe.

+Step bridge added! This was a great purchase as it allows them a safe place to climb and jump!

+Unit blocks added! These are very high quality, heavy, durable, precise blocks. I removed about half of the set to make them easier to manage. Great for open-ended play!

+Line with clothespins added! If you look you will see it on the top right. It is out of their reach but allows them to see their own art on display! Beautiful and practical.


So there you have it! Some of the reasons I started my minimalist journey and ways I’ve found to implement minimalism with my kiddos.


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