“We need a bigger home because we’re outgrowing our space!”
If those words have come out of your mouth recently, you probably feel like your home is busting at the seams!
Of course every circumstance is different, but chances are, a few boundaries and a little rearranging could make you feel less like your stuff is letting you live with it, and more like you are living with your stuff.
How do I know? Because I’ve spent the last four years living in a teeny, tiny home.
740 square feet.
It’s been a blast living in this little loft but I’ve learned some valuable lessons over the past few years. If you’re living in a small home (or just feel like you need a bigger home) you might enjoy a few tid-bits found in my Small Spaces series!
Today we’re going to talk about kids….and all their stuff!!
Whether you live in a mansion or a shack, you probably know that kids can have a LOT of toys! Every holiday, birthday, and even a trip for a kid’s meal will bring new toys in the home. Sometimes you don’t even know where the toys come from; they just seem to appear out of thin air!
When living in a small space, you have to be intentional with every single thing you bring inside. That includes toys! To limit the amount of toys and prevent them from taking over the house my husband and I came up with a few guidelines that you may want to consider.
Keep a running list of needs.
People are going to ask what your kids need or want for holidays, birthdays, etc. so you might as well be prepared. Our family created a “wish list” blog for our son so we can update it with pictures and links as we find things he might need. Another option is to share a google document that you keep updated, or you can even track it old school with pen and paper. Any kind of list will work. The important thing is to have an answer when the Grandparents ask what your little one needs.
The great thing about keeping a list of specific needs or wants for your child is that you can control the size of the toys that are allowed in your home. This is especially important when you live in a small space. The thing is, when you’re in a large department store, it’s hard to estimate how much space a toy will actually take up in your small home.
On more than one occasion, I found a great kid’s item that I just knew would work wonderfully in our small space. When I arrived home, though, I realized the toy was much too large! And I’m the one used to living in a small space! There’s just no way someone who only visits occasionally can have an accurate picture of how little space there really is available.
One thing in, one thing out.
This rule can be applied in other areas of the home but I’ve found it’s especially important when it comes to children’s toys. You can only have so many stuffed animals and Happy Meal toys. If they’re old enough to have a choice, let your kids decide if that new toy will be worth giving an older one away. If not, you get to choose!
Decide on a toy location.
Our son has one location for toys. His “toy box” is in one cabinet.
If the toy fits, he gets to keep it. If it doesn’t fit, the toy gets to find a new home.
Unfortunately, this means that while we’re living a small home, our son won’t get a basketball goal, a retro kitchen, or train set. Those toys may be nice for him to have, but it’s just not a reality at the moment. Necessity is the key…and those aren’t necessities.
Many of you may think eliminating large toys is next to impossible! But, I promise it’s not. We decided early on that our home couldn’t be overrun with toys – especially while it was on the market to sell! We’ve stuck with this guideline and it’s been worth it.
I know it’s tough. Trust me, I know.
We all want to provide our children the very best. We want them to be able take advantage of every possible learning opportunity.
Kids do learn by playing with toys. But, they also learn by using their imaginations, exploring their world, and playing with you!
Families shouldn’t have to spend thousands of dollars to move into a larger home that’s only used to hold more toys. If you think your outgrowing your home, try one or more of these suggestions for reducing the size and amount of toys in your home. You may just find out that you can live in a small home and love it…toys and all!
What do you think? Is it possible to limit the amount of toys your child has? Have you found a way to eliminate toy overload?