Do your kids love having their face painted (or in my kids’ case, their entire body besides their face)? Then get yourself some watercolor pencils and call it a day. Nothing beats them for basic face painting, especially when you have kids who like to DIY.
My favorite for the job are the $4 MÅLA pencils from IKEA. Just dip the sharpened end in water and get painting! The best part is the ‘paint’ just washes off with water. Pro tip – make sure to let them dry out (tip up) when done so they are easy to sharpen for the next go round.
In my experience the majority of children are not keen to part with their things. I know the general thought in this post Marie Kondo world is to have them involved with the purging, but I can guarantee you that every single toy will bring them joy (even the ones they haven’t played with in over a year). So, what to do? You want to downsize but your small human belongs on an episode of Hoarders.
Here’s a couple of recommendations:
A simple way to downsize and have your children involved is to have a set container/basket side for things. For example the stuffies (because everyone has too many) – if they don’t fit in the designated basket then they don’t get to stay. You’re giving your child control but with very clear perimeters. They may still need help talking through letting go, and almost certainly they won’t choose the toys you would keep, but it is a really easy way to downsize with your child’s help.
The other step, is to purge while the kids are away (be brutal, like for realz). Start boxing/bagging up toys you know they don’t use anymore and put them out of sight. I can guarantee they won’t notice anything but their play space feeling easier to play in. If they haven’t been desperately missed in a couple of weeks, donate away!
When purging, low hanging fruit are toys that come with kids meals and all the plastic crap you get at birthday parties. Unless your kids have a huge attachment to them, these should go. Toys your kids have aged out of using is another easy one to remove.
Make sure not to forget books (this one can be hard, I get it). Start with books you hate reading (we all have them), books that were gifted and nobodyenjoys, and books they are too old to read anymore. Little Free Libraries make donating books so easy and anxiety free.
Finally, find a task you can do together. At my last install, the five year old of the house was very keen to get involved. We sat together and worked intently for over an hour sorting beads, craft materials, and testing old markers to see if they still worked (which ultimately meant minimizing materials). Being involved helped her feel ownership to the new space and made it easier for her to see how having an organized, cleaner, more minimal space made it easier to play and created.
Dropped my first post-holiday load of things at the thrift store and popped inside to look for some more storage options for a play space I am installing this week. A quick browse turned into the motherlode (most of which was for me 🙈). Lots of retro linens for my boys’ beds, wool blankets for when we sit around the fire, plus a vintage blanket for our bed. Annnnd a few things for play spaces too, which totally justified the trip in the first place. ;)
Note how at home my boys make themselves there – haha. A little #curatedpsa, I’ve found by saying yes to a toy or some books (always our first stop when we arrive), it makes the whole thrifting with kids things a breeze (and only costs me a couple of dollars – #everyonewins).
Our family celebrates Christmas and it ends up being a week long holiday by the time we’ve seen family and friends. We do our best to keep things minimal while still being magical, but it’s fun to see your kids be spoiled a little. This inevitably means lots of new things coming into the home (this is just a little of what my boys have already been gratefully gifted).
The next couple of days will be focused on family fun, but once the festivities are over it’s time to figure out where to put everything. The temptation of course is to find more storage and just make it fit, but this year I encourage you to take the time to go through old (and maybe new) toys and take out at least the same amount of what has come in (if not more).
Give your kids the gift of being able to find and enjoy their new toys, without having to endeavor on a treasure hunt through buckets and bins. And consider it a gift for yourself too, because I promise it will equal a happier more peaceful household, and some time all to yourself. But first it’s time to bake cookies, wrap gifts, turn up the Bing Crosby, and start laundry (because it isn’t all #instalife glam over here).
One of the very best things you can buy for your play space (and home) isn’t a toy or storage item, it’s a vacuum cleaner – namely a cordless stick vacuum. Kids are inherently messy. They collect all the crumbs, dirt, glitter, and things you can’t identify 😳, and then deposit these all over your lovely floors and rugs – especially where they play. I talk a lot about play invitations and having a clean space is #1. The beauty of the cordless stick vacuum is that you can grab and go mindlessly, which means you will actually use it and often. I know this post might seem a bit silly, I mean come on, we all have a vacuum of some sorts. But for me, the day we bought our Dyson Stick revolutionized our home and my ability to keep spaces inviting. It’s also something even my littlest can use, which means my kids have learned to clean up after themselves too. 🙌