Mini-malism Part 1 – Chuck out the cheap plastic

I remember when I was pregnant with my first child, I was determined to not give in to a home over-run with a mountain of plastic toys. My child was going to grow up in a Made-in-China-free universe of hand-carved abacuses, wooden puzzles and Pinterest-worthy felt mobiles.

Fast forward ten years and five little kids later, and I feel like I’ve been in one of those McDonald tubes slides that end in those dodgy ball pools. I am immersed in all things bright, plastic and toxic.

Now, it’s one thing to have a home full of life and people – I love that. But I have experienced the dark side of a home full of (excuse my American) crap.

Largely brought in because of these little people, I know all too well the insidious, slow creep of despair and out of control-ness I feel as I try to ignore the mounting corners of chaos, the drawers overflowing with random toys and disjointed pieces that belong somewhere, anywhere but here.

To say that my husband and I are super-neat perfectionist people would mean that one had never, ever met us or entered our home. We are really laidback but still, we both long for some kind of semblance of order in the chaos.

I’m thinking I’m not the only one in this same overcrowded boat, so let’s journey together toward reclaiming a little simplicity in our homes, let’s teach our kids that less is more, that it really is better to give than receive, to better look after what they do have, and to only keep what we all truly cherish.

Over this 4-part series entitled ‘Mini-malism’, we’ll explore all of these themes together and I’ll let you in on the journey I’ve been on…

It all started about six months ago, amidst a sea of cheap plastic stuff, something in me finally clicked.

Or rather, snapped.

I was hunched down picking up some random pieces of a toy for the hundredth time – and I began to juxtapose in my mind my hourly rate at work against the worth of this cheap toy, against the HOURS AND HOURS I’d spent stressing about it littering my house and trying to keep all its pieces together, against the MINUTES my kids had actually played with it.

It was the very definition of anti-ROI (Return On Investment).

Today, I don’t just dislike cheap plastic toys. I positively loathe them.

I loathe how badly they are made and how easily they break, how much stress and clutter they add to my home, how they teach my kids that gifts are disposable and worthless, and how much they choke our already fragile environment.

Our mindless consumption is literally killing us and our planet. Already, there are more pieces of plastic in our ocean than stars in our galaxy.

We were on holiday recently and we took only a few toys: lego blocks, coloring-in and activity books, a few board games and two puzzles. Every day, our kids spent many happy hours, totally engrossed in one of these things – and the house stayed relatively clutter-free and easy to tidy.

In fact – I would go so far as to say they played MORE than ever, MORE happily than ever. I came home with a new resolve to live with less – not as a means of disenfranchising my kids, but as a way of truly empowering them to enjoy what they do have.

I then spent the better part of two weeks sorting through cupboards and drawers and toy kists and baskets. I gave away and threw out mountains and I’m never, ever going back.

Of course, this kind of militant clean-out can’t be a once-off. If we hope to live with less, it’s going to mean we don’t only have to clear out our current cupboards, but be far more mindful of what we bring into our home and our lives in the future.

This is what the next article in this series will be all about – watch this space!

Mums have you got loads of these types of Nik-Nacks around the house? Comment below and let us know x

6 thoughts on “Mini-malism Part 1 – Chuck out the cheap plastic

  1. Bishonia says:

    Thank you Mumbox. I hardly give away toys but after reading this article I just realised that I need to start sorting them out to giveaway because its a lot and there’s no space.

  2. sroekeiyiyah says:

    This is such a wonderful article honestly makes you realise you are not alone and offers great advice and lets you know you’re not alone in your struggles. Thank you.

  3. Maudeny says:

    Mini-malism Part 1 – Chuck out the cheap plastic – Cant wait for this journey to start
    I have friend to share the idea with
    …I will deffies be watching this SPACE
    Maudsxoxox

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