When our oldest was born we lived in a small apartment and were barely getting by. We didn't have a lot of money for extras, and even though she was still a baby, I felt bad that we didn't have the room or the money for many toys for her to play with. I asked my Parent Educator from Parents as Teachers what to do and she always reassured me that kids love simple things to play with like wooden spoons and a bowl. She also said if we were to buy her anything, to focus on the 3 B's: books, balls and blocks.
Fast forward to her birthday and we started to receive some toys as gifts. Then Christmas and Easter and another birthday and another baby and the toys keep rolling in. Add to that, the toys from fast food restaurants and other giveaways everywhere we go and we started becoming buried under a sea of toys. I couldn't help but think of a Focus on the Family broadcast where I heard a guest describing his family's 10 toy rule. His kids were only allowed 10 toys and when they got a new one, they had to pick one to donate or hand down to a sibling. I thought it was extreme at the time but as the playroom started filling up, it was beginning to sound fantastic.
I started to realize that keeping toys to a minimum was actually a blessing to my kids. When I got rid of a lot of the little toys that they weren't playing with, they were able to clean up the playroom more quickly and didn't get as frustrated with the notion of cleaning. They were able to see what they did have and played with their favorite toys more. I'm going to keep lightening the load around here and enjoying a simple play space.