Simplifying | The Life of K: Simplifying

Thursday, February 6, 2014


The book I just finished, Simplicity Parenting, is a life-changer. The book is about how to simplify your kids' lives to make them happier and calmer and more secure. Sign me up! What I didn't expect was how simplifying, whether all out or in bits and pieces, would change my life too. I want to share what I've learned and the changes I've made, and hopefully convince you that simplifying is the answer.

The author talks about simplifying different areas of your child's life: toys and books, clothes, activities, food, and screen time. The first thing parents often do is cut back on the number of toys in the house. I think this is the most obvious and easiest one to tackle. The author argues that if a kid had a mountain of toys to choose from they have a hard time choosing what to play with, and they don't hold any of the toys dear. No one toy is special when there are so many.

We don't have as many toys as some people I know, but we still have more than enough and for a while now I've wanted to go through and get rid of especially the broken ones. The too-young ones can be put aside (put away to be brought out when little ones visit). The toys the kids never play with - gone. The toys that annoy the crap out of us - gone. I already had the baby toys put away, and now I've filled two big bins with toys that are never played with. I think I'll keep them in the basement for a while in case the kids ask for them. If a lot of time passes and they haven't I'll sell them.

To go through the mountain of toys, first you have to see them all in one place. If you're like us, we have toys in the kids' rooms, in our room, the living room, the basement.. all over! I grabbed almost everything and put it all in the upstairs hallway. I purged some and organized the rest. And with all their toys in plain sight, I can really tell what the kids like to play with. There are buckets that they haven't touched in over a week.

Getting rid of the toys isn't going to be easy, but I'm planning on selling what I can and giving away or donating what doesn't sell. We have some great used sites for Ottawa (UsedOttawa and Kijiji) but we also have a great community Facebook group for selling used toys. I'm going to do this stealthily because we all know that kids will get excited over toys that are meant for someone else. This will be an on-going project for after the kids are in bed.

The other change we made almost immediately was to cut down on the amount of tv the kids watch. TV was my crutch. When I needed Little J entertained so I could get Little K to sleep, he watched tv. When I need some more sleep in the morning, they sit in my bed with the tv on. After school? Let's watch a movie. They were always asking to play a game on my phone and spent entirely too much time with a screen in front of their faces.

One morning when I turned off the tv so we could go have breakfast, Little K lost it. I knew it was time for a change. That day the tv didn't go on again and since then they kids have watched very little. They haven't played on my phone at all. And you know what? We've noticed a difference in them. They play more, they sleep better, they're more creative with their play. They've done puzzles and read books and imagined all sorts of things. These are real changes.

The next thing I'm going to tackle is books. I've always thought that a kid can never have too many books, but that isn't true. Just like a mountain of toys, a huge pile of books is overwhelming. Kids love to read, but they also like repetition and would be happy reading the same few books over and over. I'm not saying I would be happy doing that necessarily, but I am going to take more than half of the books and put them away. I'm going to create a sort of rotating library - one that I can access whenever I want but that isn't visible to the kids all the time. I'm hoping this gets them excited about the books that are out and makes them really appreciate them.

I'm going to stop there and work on my thoughts for simplifying clothes, activities, and food for another post or two. This is truly life-changing and I'd love to hear your thoughts. Have you done a toy purge lately? Do your kids have too many toys and books? Have you read the book, Simplicity Parenting? Do you think I'm just crazy for attempting this?

That is an affiliate link but feel free to Google the book if you'd rather.


  1. Hey K. - I haven't read the book, but I like the principles you are describing...that's definitely in line with how I feel. We're continuously recycling toys and bringing them to sell at consignment stores (Boomerang Kids is great!). I try hard to keep his bedroom/play are uncluttered so that he has space to play with the toys he does have. TV/movies is so important to regulate. We have been really good with that up until my new born arrived in December. Since then we've been a bit lax, but we're pulling it in. It's been hard to get outside as often as I would like because it's been so cold. Great review and read - we can all use a little more simplicity in our lives!

  2. Hi K! Great post! I agree with limiting the amount of TV, toys and books kids have. My kids like playing with things like pots, pans, etc. They could play all day with them if they could!

  3. Great review and great post overall! I think the principles you've outlined are good not only for kids but for us adults in our everyday lives!