What Happened When I Got Rid of My Daughter’s Toy Box
As I have continued to pare down my belongings in an attempt to create a minimalist home for my family, I have continuously avoided my toddler’s room. You would think that getting rid of my kid’s things would be easier than getting rid of my own, but kids are clutter magnets, and that made it hard for me to face her room.
I eventually tired of being the nagging mom who constantly asks for toys to be cleaned up, and then realized I had helped create this problem when I noticed that there was absolutely no blank wall space in my daughter’s room. There was something along every inch of her wall around the entire room. A bed, a dresser, a bookcase, a hamper, a desk, a rocker, a mini recliner, and a ridiculously big wicker toy box.
That’s way too much stuff in a kid’s room.
Part of the problem was my failure to get rid of things we have outgrown. We no longer need the rocker since she is now a preschooler, half of the books are baby books, and the toy box (surprisingly) rarely gets used.
I Got Rid of the Toy Box
I have one of those kids who loves to read and make crafts, so much so that she rarely cracks open that toy box of hers. She’s just not that into toys. I’m thankful that she can quietly entertain herself when I need some alone time and that she enjoys “reading” to herself even at the age of 3, and I need to nurture that part of her.
To help her continue to grow her imagination, I decided to pare down her toys to help her focus on what she actually loves to do. I started by going through her toy box several times to clean it out, but the toys and stuffed animals continued to build up after a few weeks, so we weren’t getting anywhere with it. Then I decided it was time to be honest about what my daughter actually enjoys doing, and I decided to get rid of the toy box completely.
How She Reacted
When my daughter first came into her room after I did the unspeakable, I was worried about what she would say. I thought she would panic and then throw a blow out temper tantrum big enough to make me cave. I thought she might even possibly pull an Elsa and just flat out run away.
What kind of evil mom gets rid of her child’s toy box???
Instead, she walked in, her eyes got huge, and she let out several “ooohs” and “ahhhs” and exclaimed, “Mommy, I love my bedroom!”
My jaw hit the floor.
I’m not sure she immediately noticed what was missing from her room, but she did notice the abundant clear space that would allow her to play, be more imaginative, and simply be a kid. It was a breath of fresh air for her and a relief to me.
Don’t Feel Sorry For My Kid
Before you start feeling sorry for my kid with so few toys, don’t worry. She still has access to all of her art supplies, two shelves of books, and the few toys she continuously plays with and enjoys. The toys are now contained in a basket in the bottom of her closet so when it eventually starts to spill out of her closet, we’ll know when it’s time to pare down again.
Since my daughter enjoys reading, being creative, and imagining, I’m going to focus on nurturing those qualities for her instead of continuously buying her toys that stifle them. When I do buy her toys, I’ll do so wisely – not only by looking for ways to save money on kids toys, but also by focusing on ‘fit’ over quantity. There is absolutely nothing wrong if your child loves toys, but mine doesn’t, so I wanted to create an atmosphere in her room that would better serve her needs.
What Happens on Her Birthday?
My daughter’s fourth birthday is next month, and I will still throw her a party for family. I still let our family buy her toys because that’s how they show love, and I understand that. But when she stops playing with them, they are gone.
As for our gift to her, we like to give her experiences for her birthday. Last year, it was a train ride because she loves trains. This year? Maybe it’ll be a trip to the local children’s museum or the aquarium. We are going to let her decide what she wants to do when the time comes.
I had no idea that getting rid of her toy box would have such a positive effect, but I’m so glad I did it. The result, a month after the toy box went away, is a room that allows her to be herself. What more could a parent want?
Would you ever consider ditching your child’s toy box? What is your child’s room like? Is it packed to the gills or barren like the wild tundra? What kind of toys or activities did you enjoy as a child?