The Task: Reduce our children's bath toys to a few small items.
The Why: Okay, so I've been reading this book, The Joy of Less by Francine Jay. It's basically a complete guide on how to get rid of all of your junk and become a minimalist. While reading I am constantly torn between reading one more page and jumping up to dispose of half my house. In fact, where I live it is a holiday today and my husband asked me yesterday "What do you want to do on the Civic Holiday?" and I said "Go through the entire house from one side to the other and get rid of....nearly everything?" And in his profound wisdom and deep desire to relax and barbecue something, he said "um....no."
Anyways, all this to say that I am really coming to see the whole "less is more" thing come to life in my home. The more we declutter, the more we enjoy what we have. All my stuff is shaking in it's boots right now.
The How: I kept three rubber duckies. And got rid of 2 toy boats, a plastic frog, 4 more rubber duckies, a bunch of fishy toys, a plastic Winnie-the-Pooh and a set of washable bathtub crayons (oh, how I loathe those "washable" bathtime crayons!)
The Verdict: Honestly, I don't think my kids have noticed yet. We boxed up the extra toys and put them in the basement weeks ago and my kids have been playing with the duckies and washcloths and the soap. They pretend the duckies are boats, or sisters, or see monsters. They dip rubber duckies under the water and squeeze them to fill them with water and turn them into loaded water weapons. I will often sit on the bathroom floor and read to them from the Little House Series or my husband will read to them from whatever organic gardening tome he is currently reading. Bath time is fun and relaxing and the extra toys are definitely not missed, which means that today that little box in the basement is making it's way into the donate pile.
Also, three little toys are easy to tuck away in a cabinet, easy to get out at bath time, and if they accidentally get left out on the edge of the tub they look cute, not messy!
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I don't have small children and there are know bathroom toys. But I do have quite a collection of soaps, shampoos, shaving cream, gel, masques and like items stuck in every corner of my tub. Now, I do use most of those products, switching out what I use every couple of days. The scented bath gels tend to break me out, I should give or throw those away instead of allowing them to clutter up the bathroom. Maybe a basket to keep all the other items in.ReplyDelete
Instead of throwing the bath gels away, use them to clean the toilet. It'll smell nice, too :).Delete
I'm with you on this one. I tossed all our bath toys a few months ago. The thought of how filthy they were totally grossed me out. Now if the kids really "need" something to play with I throw a few cups and bowls in then just toss them in the dishwasher.ReplyDelete
Love that idea! Bath toys gross me out, too. We have a couple of rubber ducks that don't get water on the inside, and those are fine, but I don't like the ones that squirt water.Delete
How ironic! JUST last night I decided I was going to do this, as well! I only have 1 child, but she has quite a few bath toys. She doesn't play with them all and I don't think they're all necessary, they just clutter up the tub. (And I hate havin to move it all when *I* want to take a bath!) (:ReplyDelete
Question: How do you keep those rubber duckies clean?? Mine get very mildew-y inside. Gross!
I taught my kids early on to always give them a good squeeze when they get out of the tub to get all the water out of them. We've never had a problem with them getting gross inside.Delete
I like the idea of cups and bowls that can be thrown in the dishwasher. Maybe I can wash all of our bath toys in the dishwasher... I started rotating our bath toys, whittling down from a tub full to a few favourites. Somehow, they seem to multiple, so it's time to do some more purging.ReplyDelete
I love this post. Thanks for the encouragement to really see what we need :)
My kids outgrew their bath toys several years ago- my son have to give them up early due to eczema- yet I just recently gave away their bath toys! (I tossed out the really grungy ones). And I admit that deep down I was holding on to them for sentimental reasons- I have such fond memories of my kids playing in the bath together. But saving those bath toys was not going to bring those days back, and giving them away was not going to diminsh those memories, so off they went.ReplyDelete
Our whole family shares the upstairs bath, so I am always streamlining the number of product in there, but this sounds like a good day to do a little of that straightening and decluterring in the bathroom, because the less stuff that's in there, the easier it is to clean- so thanks!
@Nikki: I saw somewhere that if you take your dry duckies and put a dot of hot glue to seal the hole, you can keep the toy dry inside.ReplyDelete
Also you can throw bath toys in a mesh bag or the cutlery basket of the dishwasher to sanitize. Just my two cents!
The hot glue idea is a great one! I don't let my boys have any toys that hold water, as they get gross inside even if we squeeze them out well. (We live in a very humid environment.)Delete
I let my boys have very few bath toys, just some nesting cups. That's it. We don't play very long in the tub, either. After I wash them, they are allowed to play while I floss my teeth (I figured I had nothing else to do during that time, might as well get some dental hygiene!) plus a few minutes extra. They don't seem to mind quick baths. They play in the water enough while they're outside in the summer. (In the winter, they get chilled too quickly.)
We recently moved, downsizing to just one bath so my #1 thing to do was get rid of all unnecessary items, including the crazy mess of bath toys my kids had. I, and they, have not missed them one bit! Now they just have 2 cups (for play/rinsing) and they like to play with their washcloths.ReplyDelete
I've enjoyed following this challenge, even though I'm not participating at present.
My 2 year old son had taken it upon himself to toss most of his bath toys behind the bathtub, which is hard to get to, so they stayed there for a few weeks. He never seemed to miss them - why oh why did I think I had to bring them back? Now I'm thinking I'll make them disappear again and we'll all be happier for it. I never did like those toys that don't work right - boats that don't float and all that... useless and no fun anyway.ReplyDelete
No bath toys for me, but my thing to work on would be the 'nearly empty' shampoo and conditioner bottles.ReplyDelete
When they start to run out, I stick a new bottle in the shower thinking that if I'm in a hurry in the morning, I don't want to waste time getting the last bit of shampoo/conditioner out.
But then I don't always finish them up when I'm not in a hurry either, so there they sit, four bottles, on the edge of the tub. Not pretty. Will try to work on this.
I thought I was the only one that did this! lol.. I need to work on this area for sure. There are more bottles of shampoo & body wash then there are toys. Though, the toys are rather large. :/Delete
Leave the nearly-empty bottles upside down. Then it'll come out quickly, and you'll get the last drops besides!Delete
I learned a few years ago that less is more in the tub. We were on family vacation and all I had for bath toys in the hotel was what I could find. My little one had more fun with a cup and bar soap (something she didn't have at home) than she'd ever had with actual toys. Lesson learned!ReplyDelete
Kelly- Do you have any suggestions for dealing with a perpetual "gift giver." My mother, while her intentions are wonderful, feels the need to give each one of my 4 children a gift (trinket, toy, something) EVERY-TIME she sees them...which is weekly. I don't want to hurt her feelings, but it is completley the opposite of the philosphy my husband and I are trying to embrace currently, following along and challenging ourselves with you. She knows we are doing this project too....Thoughts? Ideas?ReplyDelete
I wish I had the answer! we have the same problem. I think that when people hear that you are simplifying and decluttering, somehow they think that doesn't apply to this item they want to give.Delete
I am going to address the issue on the blog after we've had a couple of the kids birthdays to deal with, then I will be more of an expert...haha!
Great! Thank you! I will stay tuned. I sit at my desk at work...contemplating the fate of those poor little boats and BLASTED crayons in the tub at home...'insert evil laugh'Delete
Donate them to Goodwill or give them to a shelter. Depending on the age of your kids, explain to them that they have plenty of toys and there are many kids who don't. It'll teach them compassion too :)Delete
We have had a few direct conversations about this, after gentle hints over the years have accomplished nothing. Now my kids will get a "experience" gift from my in-laws (like a membership to the Discovery Museum)...along with the usual assortment of toys. The toy onslaught has lessened, but it's still there.Delete
After four years of receiving toys toys and more toys, I feel no guilt in regifting or donating them.
I'm reading the exact same book right now! It's amazing, isn't it?ReplyDelete
I love the idea of purging bath toys...my kids seem to gravitate to the same ones over and over, so clearing out the bucket shouldn't be too much of a shock to the system.
Just a tip. I've read that if you put a dab of hot glue in the rubber ducks squeak hole, it wont get moldy and ew inside :)ReplyDelete
Well, you already got rid of the "washable" bath crayons, but just for those who haven't yet... I never let those things get to the bathtub when my kids received them as a gift. I put them in a wine glass and use them to mark glasses for people when we have guests. No wine charms in my house (I always hated those things) and the gift was actually put to a better use than it would have been otherwise.ReplyDelete
Love your blog! Ditto the feeling of wanting to read more of The Joy of Less and yet get up and rid the house of everything. LOL I actually had my DH move our trailer, which we'll haul to the garbage dump, up near the house so I can just walk out the front door and toss while I declutter the house.ReplyDelete
We're past the bath toys stage with all 8 of our children (youngest is 7 now), but I'm ready to spend a whole day getting rid of all...I mean...most of their toys. We've actually decluttered their toys several times over the years but keep them in boxes in our garage attic. It's like Christmas to them when they remember them, but they have to "trade" one toy from the garage for one in the house. It's worked out quite well for us, but Christmas and birthdays always seem to bring the level of toys back up and we need to declutter again!
Thanks for great, inspiring reading.
Love your blog! I am totally on board with the Less is more theory! The area I am really struggling with (and you may be planning to address this later in your series) is how to scale down all of the toys that my 3 year old daughter has. How do you handle that with your children?ReplyDelete
You're right....I AM planning to address that later on :)Delete
Somehow, we have ended up with a laundry basket full of bath toys, and I agree that they are gross. This is on my to do list for tomorrow!ReplyDelete
Less toys would get your kid bathe faster because the distractions are lessen. Focusing them on bathing is not a bad perspective.ReplyDelete