I am inspired by these tips! The “reset” she describes is what I call my “hotspots.” It does feel better having my sink shining and my flat surfaces cleared!
We live in a small house, and we can’t afford to let the toys get out of control. Here’s a look at my system. I hope it can help!
It’s easy. It happens behind your back. While you were keeping tabs on family, laundry, and dishes, the toys multiplied, and now your house is eaten by a blob of kiddie clutter.
Instead of scoop-shoveling the toys every night or crisis cleaning every time company comes, pick up all those toys just once.
Preferably perform this task while little ones are napping or hanging out with their grandma.
Set a timer for 15-20 minutes. Sort the toys into these categorical piles:
3. Loved/Keeping for Years
If the timer goes off before you’re done, just stop, pour a cup of coffee, and get off your feet for a minute. Enjoy drinking that whole cup while it’s still hot. Then get up!
Set the timer again repeat until you’ve gone through all of the toys.
Pull out those trash bags and empty diaper boxes you have hanging around and fill them up with your sorted toys.
Take the trash out. Bye!
Bag up the giveaway toys and haul them out to the car. The next time you go by a charity shop or thrift store, drop them off.
Fill the diaper boxes with the beloved toys. Keep one or two of these boxes out to play with. Stow the rest of the boxes out of the kids’ sight. If they seem to be bored and think getting into trouble is more fun than their toys, pack those toys up and swap them out with a “new” box out of storage. They love rediscovering their familiar favorites!
I try to keep toys restricted to blocks, books, balls, dolls, and trucks, with only a handful of special toys in the mix.
With a small batch of toys out at a time:
- Children learn to share, trade, and wait. Instead of everyone constantly distracted, they learn to deal with one another.
- A few beloved toys will be better cared for than a mountain of mediocre stuff.
- The few, basic toys leave more room for imagination and creativity.
- A two-year-old can run around and pick up every toy in a few minutes. Make it a game! Without a monstrosity staring them down, kids don’t feel helpless when it’s time to clean up.
- Adults gain a foothold of sanity. You still step on Legos, but you don’t have to wade through random knee-deep junk every day.
To maintain this system, you have to be very picky about what comes into your home. Don’t buy a toy unless it can fulfill a particular need. Request books and movies for their birthdays, instead of a floor-full of fancy toys that will be unloved in a month.
When you switch boxes of toys, reassess whether these things are worth the space you’ve relinquished to them. Would someone else love it better? Do we really have room for this? Could it serve a better purpose as profit for charity, rather than clutter in you home? Is this just trash? Or do your kids really love and use it?
I have bought only two toys this past year. The first was a jumpoline for the toddler. With our new life cooped up with premature twins and avoiding the crowds in cold season, she was bouncing off the walls. So I got her something new to bounce on, instead! The little jumpoline is now useful for all three kids, and will be handy during blizzards or other cases of cabin fever. The second toy was a box of second-hand mega blocks. It has been some nine months since I brought those home, and the kids have played with those things every day since. We sure got our money’s worth!
These are all the toys I have loose in the house right now. My big helper loves picking up so I can vacuum. She is capable of handling this moderate pile all by herself! We can be company ready in minutes. The freedom!
Does this post give you any inspiration? Have any ideas or examples of your own? Leave a comment!
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What’s for Dinner?
Random thought as we are reading through Exodus:
Why does Scripture have to be SO repetitive?
He’s the Father.
When you have kids, you realize how much you have to keep saying the same thing over and over and OVER if they’re ever going to learn what you’re telling them.
Our Heavenly Father repeats Himself. He knows we won’t learn and apply His words the first time. It must permeate our minds and hearts over time. When you realize the King of the Universe will persist in teaching His children, it is easier to accept that you will need long periods of persistence as you teach your own children.
Also note how much “I am the LORD(YHWH)” intermixes with His commands. He could have said Who He is at the beginning and left it at that. Instead, throughout His house rules He says “because I AM the Dad and I said so.” We can also hold our God-given authority as parents to solidify our instruction. “Because I said so,” is enough. As children mature, they can have reasons explained to them, but the security in our authority remains.
They say kids don’t come with a manual, but I think we have a pretty clear parenting guide in the Bible.
Why would someone so close to you reject you and cut you from the care you need? Ask a shepherd.
Isn’t this flu season insane? My family is not getting out much, all of us are keeping up on vitamins, and some are even sleeping with potatoes in their socks. We’re keeping oiled up, as well.
Here are some essential oil products I use.
Thieves Spray – Comes already formulated in the spritz bottle. A must for grocery carts and grubby boy hands. No longer safe for oral application.
Crowd Spray – In a 2-3 oz bottle: combine 1/2 tsp witch hazel, 20 drops Melrose, 7drops Thyme, 10 drops Geranium, and 5 drops Peppermint. Top off with distilled water. Spray on car seats, bags, covers, blankets, and people.
Immune Boost – In a 10ml bottle: combine 40 drops Lemon, 20 drops Frankincense, 15 drops Thieves, 15 drops Peppermint, 20 drops Tea Tree, and top off with carrier oil. Roll on bottoms of feet. I have dabbed it on perfume points, but be careful. Citrus oils in direct sunlight may burn skin.
If you do catch something, here are a couple of invaluable oils that have given us relief.
Congestion Relief – Equal parts of: Lemon, Lavender, and Peppermint. Apply on clothes, blankets, or on feet and chest as can be tolerated. Applying undiluted (neat) on young children may be inadvisable.
Stop Dry Cough – In a 15 ml roller bottle combine: 1 tsp carrier oil, 4 drops Lemon, 4 drops Peppermint, 4 drops Thieves, 2 drops Lavender. Apply to feet, chest, and back. Worked very well on my two-year-old to help her sleep.
Crack down on unnecessary stress. Don’t get so wrapped up in a project that your system crash and burns. Get off your feet AND off your phone for 15 minutes a day to do something enjoyable. Music, catnap, face mask, breathing exercises, soak your feet, read for fun, practice guitar – do something to recharge just a bit. A little will go a long way, and if you don’t take time to maintain your body now, it will develop symptoms to make you take time for maintenance!
Many thanks to Safta, for providing us with numerous ways to strengthen and maintain our children’s health.