Keeping a minimalist lifestyle while raising kids, isn’t as difficult as it sounds. When I first started becoming a minimalist, I thought I would have to just not worry about the kid’s stuff, just let them have lots of things and someday when they were grown and out of the house I could declutter all those things…..
Except you don’t have to wait until then.
Because guess what?
It’s okay to not have a house stuffed full of toys.
Okay, so I’m probably not even CLOSE to what some people consider “true minimalism.” But as we’ve talked about before, minimalism is finding what works for your life!
I’m a stay at home mom which means my kids spend a LOT of time at home.
They aren’t going to a daycare where all the toys are provided. They are not being entertained all day, which means they have to entertain themselves. I’m not setting them in front of a TV to keep them occupied. They have to do some old-fashioned playing if they’re bored.
So yes, we do need some toys and things for them to do all day.
But, we hit that point where the kids were just dumping stuff. You know, the classic “let’s dump out every toy we have but not actually play with it” game. Then they would come whining to me about everything and everybody.
I was so SICK of picking up toys that weren’t being played with. Finally, I got so tired of it, I went into a furious fit of minimalism. (It sounds better to say that than “I got so angry at the toys I got rid of them all.”)
All those random little toys that don’t belong to anything? Yeah, they got kicked to the donation pile.
Why It’s Okay To Keep A Minimalist Lifestyle While Raising Kids:
1. It teaches contentment
I don’t know about you, but I really, really want to raise grateful kids. Entitled kids have a hard time making it in life. I want my kids to learn to be happy with what they have, and realize that STUFF doesn’t equal happiness. Being grateful for the things they have rather than constantly wanting more and more of stuff they never use.
Unfortunately, we do this a lot as adults. Accumulate stuff just to have it; I know because I’ve been that person. That’s why minimalism is so good for me.
2. It teaches creativity
Having to learn to be creative with toys is awesome. When kids can learn to be creative, that ability will follow them the rest of their life. It will help them in everyday life, their work, their relationships, etc. So yes, if they have fewer toys and are forced to be more creative, I look at this like a good thing!
3. They play MORE
This one surprised me. I did not see this one coming. When I minimalized my kids’ toys, they began to play with toys more.
I’ve got to admit, I was a little confused. They refused to play with their toys when there were boxes and boxes of them. But when I pair it down to a few things, they began playing and pretending together.
I finally decided it was because it’s not overwhelming. I think kids, especially young kids, tend to be easily overwhelmed. So when there are fewer things to choose from they feel less intimidated and can find exactly what they want to play with.
Things I kept:
Sets. I like toys that have multiple uses or are a set of something. Toys that require creativity or can be used for whatever the kids want to use it for.
Stuffed animals. We don’t have a bunch of stuffed animals, but each of my boys has three. We’ve got a sheep, 2 dogs, 2 bears, and a dinosaur. They are really creative with these stuffed animals. I love it. So yes, I plan on keeping them.
Books. I think books are awesome. And nothing beats holding an actual book in your hands. No offense to reading tablets, but there’s just something about books. We read a LOT to the boys. They love it. They also seem to pick up an enthusiasm for reading right when I say “bedtime.” 🤔
Puzzles. Puzzles are timeless. They teach creativity, problem-solving, and motor skills. They’re sticking around in this house.
Toys that we use while keeping a minimalist lifestyle while raising kids!
(The following contains affiliate links. 🙂 )
We have a stack of puzzles, and I love these big wood jigsaw puzzles. It’s a good transition to more complicated puzzles for little ones!
Keeping YOUR minimalist lifestyle while raising kids!
As you can see we still have a variety of toys in our home, but it feels soo good to not have a cluttered home. My boys play with their toys waaaaay more now, and it’s so fun to see them using their imaginations.
Something to keep in mind: each kid is different, each parenting style is different, and each stage is different. Roll with it.
It’s okay to not have the “least” amount of toys. This isn’t a competition. This is about raising healthy, creative kids who will be functional adults.
If you prefer taking your kids to the library, then you don’t have to worry about having a ton of books at home to read to them. Maybe you prefer a reading tablet of some kind.
Not every kid is into trucks and farm animals. Guess what? They don’t have to be.
Find what works for your family and stick with it!