Yesterday I shared my thoughts on applying the “6 items or less” phenomenon to parenting rules. It hit me that life gets more complicated as we add more “stuff” so maybe if we get rid of some “stuff”, our lives will become easier and smoother.
So, why not take this minimalist idea and go through your child’s toy box and pare down the items to 6 or less. Have you ever been to (or had) a birthday party for a young child where there are so many presents, the child is overwhelmed and doesn’t even know half of what he has been given or who gave it to him? And that is just the point, having too much stuff, whether it is kitchen gadgets, clothing, toys or ANYTHING, is just overwhelming and stressful. Life can be overwhelming and stressful enough without adding to it by accumulating too much.
Just think about it…wouldn’t clean up time be quicker and easier if there were only 6 items for your child to pick up? What will you and your child choose to keep in the toy box? If your child is VERY young, put away all the toys except for 6 items that seem to be favorites and are age-appropriate. If you have doubles and triples of some items, maybe you can donate them to family shelters or local children’s hospitals. If your child is a little older, sit down with her and talk about what she most enjoys playing with. If you are also taking this 6 items or less to heart and are paring down your “STUFF”, she may be thrilled to be “doing what mommy is doing”. Point out how much easier it will be at clean up time…life uncluttered creates a sense of peace and well-being. Again, box up toys that you feel she will grow into…encourage her to donate usable items that are too immature for her. If something has great sentimental value, create a memory box and carefully store it in there.
You will notice I haven’t said anything about your child’s books. Now you’ve discovered MY weakness. However, in this area as well, there can also be too much…I think. What’s the sense in having dozens of books, haphazardly stuffed in toy boxes and under beds. Go through your child’s book collection, donate doubles and triples of any items you find, wean out those in really bad shape, and create a special place (little bookshelf in your child’s room, separate box, etc.) where these treasures can be kept and enjoyed every day. Could I apply the 6 items or less theory to my children’s books? I honestly don’t know. The best I can say is that I would try to keep 6 at hand to be used on a daily basis and rotate the rest.
Depending on your child’s age and maturity, what toys would you choose to keep in your child’s toy box, if you could only keep 6?
And, which 6 books would you choose to put on the bookshelf?