Simplicity Parenting: Cleaning out the clutter

January 9, 2012

A few weeks ago, I saw something on TV (or maybe I read it... I can't remember a thing these days...) about a concept from the book “Simplicity Parenting” by Kim John Payne.

simplicity parenting, simplifying life, cleaning out clutter

In the book, Payne reminds us that less is, in fact, more when it comes to parenting and offers “tips for reducing the amount of toys, books, and clutter–as well as the lights, sounds, and general sensory overload that crowd the space young imaginations need in order to grow” ( book description).

I haven't read the book, so I can't give my personal opinion on it, but I am extremely intrigued by it. One review really spoke to me:

“...In this profound and practical guide, Kim John Payne offers parents a doable, step-by-step approach to simplifying everyday family life, from the toy box to the dinner table. In the process, he reveals to us the rewards to be found in slowing down, savoring our children’s childhoods, and more fully enjoying our own adult lives.”—Katrina Kenison, author of Mitten Strings for God

After I heard about the book, I decided to clear out some of our toy clutter. This was right after Christmas, when my daughter was bombarded with more toys than she knew what to do with; and with her birthday coming mid-January, I knew it was only going to get worse.

My daughter's favorite thing to do is dump her two toy baskets out on the living room floor... but she doesn't play with any of the toys, she simply walks away after making a monumental mess. I realized that with so many little play plates, cups, cookies, tea pots, and who knows what else, she was overwhelmed with her toy selection and the possibility of her actually picking something out to play with for an extended period of time was improbable.

So one night I dumped all her toys on the floor and sorted them out; some where thrown away, some were put into boxes for the next baby since she had outgrown them, and some were put in a box to be pulled out later (I plan to rotate through her toys as soon as she gets bored with the ones she has out).

I kept most of the educational toys in the house since she's at the learning age and hasn't played with them in a while. This included stacking rings, a shape sorter, and mega blocks. She also has a play kitchen that was full of dishes, faux food, and utensils. I got rid of everything but a basket of fruit and a basket of vegetables, and her magic tea pot with mini cakes (a lesson in shapes) and 2 tea cups.

simplicity parenting, simplifying life, cleaning out clutter
Sorting through the mess
simplicity parenting, simplifying life, cleaning out clutter
What's left in her kitchen area
simplicity parenting, simplifying life, cleaning out clutter
From a packed shelf to a simple one: one box of toys and three educational items
simplicity parenting, simplifying life, cleaning out clutter
The single toy bin is filled with a ball, a couple stuffed animals, a puzzle, and a hammer/ball toy

I saw the difference the very next day. These toys were suddenly getting played with and we started talking more about colors and shapes and playing with them together. We also started talking about her fruits and vegetables and feeding them to her babydoll. She hasn't missed any of the toys I put away (and neither have I).

I can't wait to get "Simplicity Parenting" and learn more about the concept of simplifying our lives and parenting style. Have you read it? I'd love to hear your thoughts!


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