Thursday, 10 August 2017

Using Our Toys List To Maintain A Minimalist Toy Collection

We've been working towards having less at home for around 18 months now. When I look back on photos of how much we had Baobao's first Christmas, I cringe. It's good to see how far we have come, I suppose, but I still don't feel like we are finished. Our home still feels cluttered.

The one part of my home I feel we are doing well in is toys. We are at a point where even if Baobao were to tip all of her toys out on to the floor at once, which she never does, we can tidy them all back away within 5 minutes. We don't have to rotate toys anymore. We rotate books, puzzles and games, but not toys.

I try to make any new toy purchases really intentional. I try not to just buy on a whim, although every now and then I do end up buying something I later think I shouldn't have. Sometimes the prettiness is just overwhelming. On the whole though, we have a fairly small toy collection and try to only add to it sparingly. This also means I can focus on primarily wooden, ethical toys sold by small companies.

One of those companies is One Hundred Toys. I came across One Hundred Toys about a year ago, and the philosophy of having only a few good quality toys for the first 5 years of life, really spoke to me at a time when I was knee deep in the KonMari approach to decluttering.

I used the page to make a list of types of toys for each age group, adding things like instruments that weren't on sale on the website, but I still felt were important for that age group. Our own toy list based upon the One Hundred Toys philosophy, consists of about 10-15 toy types per age group. Many of these toys types overlap, meaning a toy that you buy for your 18 month old is likely to still be great at 5. I use this list to keep tabs on the types of toys that Baobao and Xiaobao have and to make sure I'm not adding too much of the same type of toy.

Xiaobao's Current Toy List (6 months):
  • grasping toys/teether - Xiaobao has a collection of around 5 grasping toys and teethers
  • rattles -  Xiaobao has a collection of around 5 rattles
  • soft balls - We have a small basket of soft balls
  • mirror - We have a small mirror in the calm down area, plus another in the dress up area
  • blocks - We have some large, soft blocks, as well as the smaller wooden blocks from Baobao's collection
  • stacking toys - We have a couple of stacking toys that we have kept from when Baobao was younger, that we will use with Xiaobao once she is ready for them
  • sensory activities - I make treasure baskets out of household items for Xiaobao to exlplore
  • soft books/board books - Xiaobao has a small collection of books left over from Baobao. She also really enjoys when I read the books more suited to Baobao's stage of development.

    Toys from the list that Xiaobao doesn't have:
    • baby gym - Xiaobao rolled at 3 months, and only barely used the baby gym before that, so we passed it on to another family.
    • play mat - Xiaobao crawled at 5 months, making the play mat kind of useless. She now prefers our wooden floors for play. Before that I had a large blanket that she played on.
    • mobile - As with the baby gym, her mobiles (I made multiple beautiful Montessori inspired mobiles) became obsolete around the time she could roll.

    Baobao's Current Toy List (2 years 6 months)
    • Construction Toys - wooden blocks, Grimms Rainbow & Semicircles, Duplo
    • Vehicles - cars, Grimms small boat
    • Small World Play - train set, wooden animals, peg dolls, wooden scenery (grass, pond, tree)
    • Musical Instruments - Baobao has a box of different instruments
    • Puzzles/Games - Baobao has a box of puzzles and games for her stage of development that we rotate regularly. I find it difficult to limit this category, but we try to buy second hand from local selling sites or charity shops.
    • Role Play - play kitchen (with pots, pans etc but no play food), doctor's kit, fabric and a couple of accessories
    • Art Materials - water colours, pencils, crayons, chalk, paper, easel
    • Sensory Activities - We make our own play dough, play with water and use dry rice and pasta. Baobao doesn't enjoy messy play
    • Fine Motor Skills - Grimms tweezers, beads, threading board, laces
    • Gross Motor Skills - balls, beanbags, scooter, ribbon wand
    • Outdoor Play - we're currently working on our garden, but use the local park as a resource
    • Books - This is the other category I find it difficult to limit, but we rotate regularly and borrow books from the library to fit in with Baobao's current interests.

    Listing their toys like this, makes it seem as if the girls have lots of toys. We are really down at a manageable level now.

    Do you try to keep toys to a minimum? How do you use to decide which toys stay and which go? How do you handle holidays and birthdays?

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