Too Much Stuff

Hattie Garlick and her 2-year-old son in every child's favorite toy, a cardboard box. Photo: Nancy Honey

Coming down the stairs this morning I stepped on, over and around no less than seven Barbies, the charger for a hand-held gaming device, a stuffed dog and a handful of Lego’s.

Sleepy and grumpy and coughing (remember last week when I was all, “We’re over the flu!”? I was wrong.) I looked around at the detritus and was thoroughly irritated.

So, it was with great interest that I read THIS article that was waiting for me on my Facebook news feed like a beautifully wrapped gift.

A recently-unemployed mom has decided to spend nothing on her toddler in 2013. That’s what the headline said, anyway.

The headline was a smidge dramatic– after reading the article it’s clear that she will in fact feed her child and pay for things like doctor visits and necessary medicine–”‘I’m not an idiot,’” she quipped. What she won’t do this year is buy clothes (she’s going with hand-me-downs), toys, kid-specific food and a myriad other items she deems “unnecessary.”

“I love this,” I thought, as I rubbed the spot on my foot still indented from stepping on a Lego (shakes fist in the air).

The article goes on to say that there is a surge in parents going the way of minimalism when it comes to “stuff” for their kids.

Minimalistic moms in the article suggest adopting the lifestyle during pregnancy or in your child’s infancy. “Kids aren’t born with the expectation of rooms full of toys,” noted one mom.

Really though, isn’t that true? How many of us can think back to a Christmas morning when our kid spent hours playing in a box while the toy that was packaged in said box sat in the corner? This mom can (I’m raising my hand).

The cacophony of squeals that results when I produce bubble wrap alone is deafening. These children are still happy without all the newest, best and most expensive toys.

In the article, experts encourage parents to tackle small mountains first– a box of toys in the basement/garage or a shelf in your child’s room.

Sometimes I clean out the kids’ rooms when they’re at school. I don’t get rid of their favorites, but I’ve never had them ask about a toy that I tossed or a jacket that I donated.

I don’t feel 100 percent and I’m fairly certain there’s an aging apple core at the bottom of my boys’ toy box that is going to totally oog me out, but I think I’ll attempt that tiny mountain today anyway.