Sunday, April 6, 2014

Our Big Project

Recently, David and I have been taking turns bringing Nico to a Montessori-based play group. David came home from the first group with an exciting revelation--everything has a place. Each toy has its own little basket, and a special spot on the shelf. And each child should only play with one toy at a time. Groundbreaking, right? 

David loves organization, and I have a more difficult time with it--to say it lightly. When we lived in Chicago, for an anniversary present to him I organized our winter gear closet and labeled separate bins for gloves, hats, and scarves. That was the happiest I had seen him since our wedding day. On the surface level our home looks clean and simple, however we have accumulated plenty of things that we have deemed "too nice" to throw in a donation bin, so they get shoved to the back of closets and into our attic. 

And then I read this blog post entitled "There's just too much stuff." And in fact, yes, like most of America, we just have too much stuff. The premise of the article is that children become overwhelmed with too many options with toys and books. To quote Stacy Burnett, the author: 
"The things we surround ourselves with are not always lovely, not always useful or meaningful.  In our house, we have closets and a garage full of things we don’t really need or use.  We have living spaces that are cluttered with toys, books, games, art projects and the like.  Often these things have missing or broken pieces...What I will do is be more deliberate about what we really need, what is truly engaging, and what is lovely and pleasing to us.  I intend to be more thoughtful in how these things are arranged, displayed and organized....Nothing is stacked or hidden, nothing is in a toy box or in cluttered bins.  The children can see the materials, can access them easily, and can put them away with ease." 
When I showed David this blog post, he immediately went to his closet and started pulling things off the shelves--if we were going to try to pull off this sort of organization with our son, we would need to make it a family commitment. The result is that we are in the midst of a life changing spring cleaning, that we have affectionately deemed "The Purge", after the terrifying movie. 

Although this may pass to many folks as organized toys:
This is the look we are going for: 
Anyone that knows me well may be doubting my ability to pull this off (my mother is laughing out loud as she reads this). Our goal is to unload 30-50% of everything we own--you are cordially invited to our massive garage sale. We will keep all of Nicolas's toys, however, what cannot fit on the shelves in his room will go into a storage closet and they will be rotated every week or so.

Here's what we have so far. Has anyone pulled off a "purge" of your own? Advice is appreciated.


  1. Great ideas. I've been trying to get rid of a few things myself. For clothing, I love - they give you some cash for what you send in and then donate whatever they can't sell.

  2. I haven't heard of thredup...I am checking it out now, thanks for the suggestion!!