Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Project Simplify 2012: Week of March 5, Kids’ Stuff

Week 1 of's challenge was kids' stuff.  Addy is only 9 months old, but I have to say, we have already been inundated with quite a few toys.  I am crazy grateful from most perspectives, because it really is nice to have different things to do with her during the day.  Especially during the winter, when you're not going outside as much.  For her first Christmas, Matt and I decided not to really get her much and just fill in things afterwards.  That was the best decision ever, because come January, neither of us could think of anything else to get her.

After Christmas, we went through things and decided that there were a few things that we didn't need, some things that we wanted to pack away for the next potential baby someday, etc.  We felt pretty good about the fact that we were already on top of not letting her toys get out of control.  So when this challenge came up, we both thought oh cool, this won't be that hard - we've already done this once.

Wow, was I crazy wrong!  When I piled all of the toys that we had in the sun room (now functioning as a play room) to sort through them, I was stunned - it took up more than half of the room!  
 This is the loot - includes all of the containers we were using to put toys in as well.

Here's what we found:
  • She had outgrown a lot of things already that were taking up valuable play space.
  • We had more duplicate things than I realized.
  • She definitely had more things than she could play with.
  • A lot of baby stuff is large and takes up a lot of space, but you would be crazy to get rid of it until you are done having kids.
  • Some toys just don't do much.  It looks cool at first, but when your baby tries to play with it, you see that it is too narrowly focused (i.e., all you can do is push this one button and it says this one phrase over and over and over).  Some toys really don't let the kid do anything fun with it.
So we ended up sorting out the toys into these categories:
  • Things that Addy has outgrown that we want to keep for potential future kids.  We tried not to keep too much fluff here.  We stored smaller things in a tub in the basement and decided to try to use some vertical space for those large, awkward things (like the changing pad, play mat, swing, pack and play accessories like the changing table, napper, etc.).  We have a bar hanging from the rafters that was largely unused, so we bought some cheap garment bags (2 for $5 at Target), and stuffed them as full as we could.  Now things are off the floor and covered to protect them dust.  I'm in love with this idea.

 Stuff hanging in the basement - my dress clothes are now surrounded.
We even hung up the stroller that went with her infant carrier.

  • Things that Addy loves to play with that are non-electronic.  These got separated into one small basket for her room, a few things to put in a kitchen drawer, and one larger bin for the sun room.
  • Things that are electronic that we like.  We split this batch in half, keeping half upstairs in her toy box, and the other half in a bin in the basement.  I will swap these out every couple weeks so we can use them but not have too many out at once.
  • Duplicates and un-fun electronic toys that we wanted to get rid of.  I'm going to see what Once Upon a Child will take first, and then give away the rest.
We also decided to move the cedar chest back to our bedroom that we had been using as a toy chest; it isn't very kid friendly with it's heavy, slamming lid, and now we have a lot less to store anyway.  We moved her actual toy box from her room down to the sun room where it will be used more.

The result?  More room to play and less clutter to navigate in the sun room.  Toys in all the places we need them, but not so many that we will never play with them all.  And hopefully a few extra bucks from selling things we don't need.

The after pic of the sun room.

Man, all of this, and she hasn't even had her first birthday yet!  Craziness. 


  1. I so hear you! I thought we were being conservative in regards to the material goods for our daughter, now I realize we probably doubled the number of "things" that we own.

    1. I know, isn't it funny? You think you are doing well, and then you take a second look. And just all the "normal" stuff that takes up so much room, like the pack-n-play, swing, changing pad, etc. Those things are so big, and I'm not about to get rid of them in case there is baby #2.