I hide my kids toys from them. Sometimes I even throw them away or send them off to a place they might actually get used. I’m the phantom toy snatcher…
It all started because of the mess and chaos that the toys were bringing to my already overly-stimulated mommy-mind. Mr. Copper Top and I have always been a casual sort of minimalists, but having children had put a wrench in that mentality. We didn’t want to limit their curiosity and exploration. However, the toys were getting out of hand. Every day there were random blocks and toy pieces that never got matched to their owners. My kids would wander around the house pushing the noise maker buttons a few times. And either throwing pieces of toys or putting them in their mouths.
On an organizational whim, I took everything, minus a few toys, and put them out of sight. Ironically, there was no backlash. I was half expecting a meltdown and had already braced myself. I kept waiting but it never came.
Then the weirdest phenomenon happened. After they did their regular moseying around, they picked up the few toys I had left behind and were engaging in imaginative play. Together! What? I was convinced this had to be a fluke. But after their afternoon nap, they went to the same toys and creatively set up different scenarios.
Could they have been overstimulated by the amount of toys and pieces that were laying around,too? Were the options I thought I was creating for them actually hindering their imagination?
When pondering this new behavior my mind drifted back to my freshman year in college. My first time living out on my own, with a roommate. In conjunction with our newly found freedom, we stayed out late, ate whatever we wanted, and didn’t bother keeping up with the cleanliness our mothers had tried to instill in us.
One night, a couple months into the college thing, I had gotten back to my room late and still had a paper to write before my 7am class the next morning. I sat down at my desk to write but could not focus for the life of me. There were pop cans, balled up paper, random cords, and makeup on the desk. Our clothes were draped over the furniture and shoes scattered on the floor.
I didn’t get an amazing grade on that paper, but I stayed up late learning a very valuable lesson that sometimes needs refreshing, and perhaps teaching to my children. Less is more.
Less clutter more productivity.
Less mess more time.
Less chaos more focus.
Less things more creativity.
Anyone else want to make a toy snatching confession? How do you manage the toy clutter?