An Aspiring Minimalist’s Take on Children’s Toys and Books

The other day one of my Instagram peeps asked me about our toy collection, and I thought it was the perfect time to discuss it and our children’s book collection.

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First, I must admit that my boys aren’t really “toy kids.” They’d much rather be in front of a screen or outside, in that order. SMH. But, sometimes they are in the mood to play with toys, and therefore I’ve had to create space and rules for them.

I have two main rules for anything in our home, toys and books included: 1) it must be something that we either love or need and 2) it must have a home. Anything outside of these two rules simply isn’t here. At the stage of motherhood I’m in, the management of the toys and books mostly falls on me, so why would I make things harder than they have to be? I have enough going on! Can I get a witness? Oh, and I also try to limit the toys that come in via birthdays and Christmas, too. Here’s how I handled it last Christmas.

Toys

Again, the two aforementioned rules apply. If the toys are neither used nor have a home, they’re sold or donated. The only unused toys we keep are for our baby girl to eventually play with.

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Toys in the playroom

Yep, those are all of the toys they have. As you can see, I’ve limited my children’s toys to the playroom, so we don’t have toys all over the house. I’m not the mama who has tons of random containers holding a gazillion random toys. I see some of y’all. *squints eyes* I purchased the shelving units at Ikea, and will be going back for a third to hold my daughter’s toys. The bins in the units we have aren’t full, which leaves space for more. Also, the larger toys are few and also limited to the the playroom. I’m not finished with our playroom, but it works for now.

The toys we have in the bins are: K’nex, train set accessories, blocks, Magna-tiles, Little People figures and accessories, action figures, cars, and animal/dinosaur figures. I try to make sure the toys we have can be used by multiple ages, if possible.

The only other toys we have in the house are currently in our dining room and homeschool room. I’m still debating whether or not to sell the train/Lego table that’s in the homeschool room. The boys don’t really play with it, but something is telling me to hold on to it for a little while longer. The mini-kitchen in the dining room is played with frequently, and I’m sure my daughter will enjoy it once she’s older.

Books

I love tons o’ books and I cannot lie. Books can be found all over our house, and I love that. I want my children to see books all of the time. However, again, the books we have are loved or needed, and have homes. The children’s books live in the homeschool room, playroom, and the boy’s bedroom. I review their books annually and donate what we don’t need. As a homeschooler, books can get out of hand if I let them, so I make sure to go through what we have an annual basis, and get rid of ones that we don’t need. It’s super refreshing.

Following this method of toy and book management has not only helped us on our minimalist journey, but has allowed my children to actually play with all of their toys. It has also provided immediate access to the books they like to read and makes them want to read more than before! All part of my plan. ;-)

Cleaning up (Yes, I know you want to know.)

As for cleaning up, I try to have the children put things away immediately after they’re done with them, but if you’re a mom, you know how that goes. If not put away during the day, they will put them away before bed. I’d say that happens 99% of the time. All in all, they ride with me on this crazy way of life I’m moving us toward. It keeps things simple for them, and that makes way for more play time. Kids are always down for that.

What I’ve Been Up To | A Quick Update

 

 

Hey, everyone. It’s been a good while since I’ve last checked in here. My life has changed in many ways and blogging about it just didn’t make it into my days. Thankfully, I finally have some time to get back into it, so here I am.

Since I’ve been gone my baby girl was born. She’s almost five months now, and she’s the joy of our lives. She’s a lovely little soul who always has a smile for you. I just love her, and her brothers do, too. They make it their business to make her laugh, wipe her little face when she has drooled everywhere, and calls me as soon as she so much as looks as if she’ll cry. They are truly her protectors, even from each other. Brothers, I tell ya.

The boys are enjoying the summer. The weather has been wonderful, so their days are filled with playing outside, being out and about with me and the baby, and hanging out in our newly renovated basement. They are such boys, you know? Horsing around all the time, and driving me bananas. Doing exactly what they should be doing at ages 7 and 3. They just finished up a summer soccer league last week, and had such a good time that they’ll be attending more soccer programs this fall. Basketball is coming this winter, too! Awww, they’re growing up.

As for me, I’ve been slowly adjusting to being a stay-at-home mom (SAHM) of three. Yes, I left my previous employer after having my daughter, and I’m so glad I did. The transition from two to three children, and becoming a SAHM, is a big one. Bigger than I thought it would be. I’ll be sharing more of that experience with you soon. All in all though, I’ve been well. Can’t complain. Well, I could, but I won’t. At least not right now. :-) Oh, and I finally can add urban gardener to my list of accomplishments. We planted a small garden in May and are starting to see the fruits (well, veggies) of our labor. I’m so amped about doing this gardening thing, y’all. When I saw our first little green beans growing I literally squealed. I’m already planning what we’ll be growing next year!

Last, but certainly not least, we began our third year of homeschooling yesterday. Yay! I almost can’t believe we’ve been at this for three years. Like parenting, homeschooling continues to be one of the most humbling, yet wonderful experiences of my life. You can check out our homeschool blog here.

So, that’s it in a nut shell. We’ve been enjoying our summer and my being home full-time. I will be posting on here each Wednesday, so please subscribe if you haven’t done so already. I will be sharing my experiences of motherhood, homemaking, minimalism, and more. Until next week!

Oh, Mama! My Maternity Photo Shoot

We have a tradition that with each new baby comes new family pictures. I always want to capture my little family in a special way that shows where we are at the moment and where we’re headed. This third pregnancy is no exception. When I started searching for a photographer to take pictures this time around I had a few boxes that needed to be checked:

  • They had to have their own studio or was able to shoot in indoor locations that may not have natural light (We are in the winter in Michigan!).
  • They had to be take our style of pictures — candid, creative, and beautiful shots, of course!
  • They had to be able to shoot us in February or March, at the latest.
  • They had to be somewhat affordable (We’re in the middle of a basement renovation and planning my maternity leave, so finances are stretched!).

I had never had a problem finding a photographer before, so I didn’t think it would be a problem this time. Well, was I wrong. I had great options, but none of them fit all of the criteria. I had almost given up hope until I was blessed to be recommended Yamile Branch. Yamile is the owner of Yamile Branch Photography, and she recently opened her own studio in St. Clair Shores, MI. She’s warm, has a wonderful personality, is professional and passionate about what she does. Did I mention that she takes AWESOME photos? Did you check out her website yet? My goodness. See what I mean?

We decided that we would make this a true maternity shoot with just me and my belly. (We will take family pictures in the spring or summer as a family of five. :-) ) I hadn’t taken professional pictures by myself since high school, but instantly felt at home in front of Yamile’s camera. She really captured how beautiful I felt during this pregnancy, which I totally credit my baby girl for. I love every single shot and hope baby girl loves them, too.

If you’re in the market for maternity, newborn and babies, children, or family photos, give Yamile a call. And tell her I sent you! You’ll be more than pleased.

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