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Simplifying Sahara’s Bedroom

The “Simplicity Parenting” book by Kim John Payne has been on my radar for a while but it didn’t find its way into my hands until a couple of weeks ago. A client lent it to me and I’ve been voraciously reading it since. I do my best to live my life simply so this book resonates and it has inspired me to take action in ways I hadn’t thought of. I was immediately inspired to simplify my daughter’s bedroom and I would like to share my experience with you, because it has been amazing!

Using the guidelines in the book I went through every item in my daughter’s room and made decisions about whether the 1) item stayed, 2) was re-gifted to someone else, 3) donated to a thrift store, 4) placed in a ‘bring it out later’ bin, or 5) tossed into landfill. This included books, dolls, toys, stickers, plastic jewelery, games, drawings, coloring books and everything in between. I allowed Sahara to go through her room first and tell me what items she didn’t play with or want anymore. Surprisingly, she was happy to get rid of a decent amount of stuff. While she was at school I completed the rest.

Having a very strong aversion to plastic – it all ends up in landfill where it never decomposes, it’s toxic, it’s ugly, and it’s usually cheaply made – I decided to get rid of everything plastic. Yes, everything.

Almost equal to the amount of plastic a small child receives are stuffies – stuffed animals arrive by the dozens as soon as a baby is born. Many are cute, some are old treasures from family, some come from special trips, and they are all piled in a large basket rarely played with. At first I didn’t know what to do with the special ones – the teddy bears my mom made, the doll from Great Aunty Carmen – but was reminded of Payne’s advice to take these items and store them somewhere other than your child’s room. So those are in the “bring it out later” bin. Left in her room are three stuffies and 3 dolls and the rest are gone.

Games – how did we end up with more than 20 games?! Half a dozen have been re-gifted, 10 are in the “bring it out later” bin, and the rest are on her shelves.

Books – A child can never have too many books right? Wrong. When challenged by this (and it was a challenge) I realized indeed, Sahara had too many books. Between what was on her shelf and what comes home from the library we had enough reading material to last years, especially given the fact she likes to read the same books over and over again. Her shelves were packed. So much so I had to shove them in to make them fit. When given the opportunity to choose which ones she wanted to get rid of the stack was halved! While she was gone I chose to keep about 20 books on her shelf, many went into the “bring it out later” bin and the rest are gone.

Dress up clothes & Doll Clothes – if it’s cheaply made or not cute (my judgement), out it went. She now has about 5 of each in separate baskets with a few in the “bring it out later” bin.

The thrift store stack was TALL and W I D E….and it all left the house before Sahara returned home from school.

The result? Surely she came home and started noticing what was missing. Where’s my doll stroller?! Where did all my stuffies go? Did you get rid of the _____ that ______ gave me?! After all, her room looks…empty? Not quite. Clean? Yes, but….that’s not quite the right word either. Well, no matter. She hasn’t commented on anything that is missing and, instead, tells me how much she likes her new room. When asked, “What do you like about your new room?” she answered, “I like that it’s organized and that is that. I also like where you put things.”

One of the bonuses of not having so much stuff is that even after she and her friends have been playing in there for a while, the room doesn’t turn into a disaster area. Tidying up is a breeze, which makes everyone happy!

Her new room looks and feels beautiful and we are all happier with less stuff. Imagine that.

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