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the decluttered/minimalist toybox - Page 2

post #21 of 24

I recently decided to revamp Bug's toys and get rid of anything that doesn't fit into seven different categories...

1. Legos/Duplos

2. Wooden building blocks

3. Matchbox/Hotwheels cars

4. Wooden train set (minimal Thomas expanded with comparable cheaper trains)

5. Animal figures (sturdy ones by Safari Ltd. and Schleich...I get them at Michaels or Joannes with coupons for 40-50% off occasionally, so I'm not spending the big bucks on these, but he'll eventually end up with a decent set)

6. Babies and stuffies (he's only got one baby doll but about 10-12 stuffies...and won't be getting any more!!) If I had a girl it'd probably be a few more dolls and a few less stuffies...but the amount is decent for now)

7. Pretend play...this is the biggest one, because it incorporates dress up clothes, play dishes and kitchen stuff, and some play workbench stuff...but I still keep it from getting out of hand.


Besides the stuff listed above, Bug has got a few hulahoops, a sand and water table, and a hand-me-down scooter outside...a kitchen drawer with stickers, paper, construction paper, gluesticks, safety scissors, crayons, colored pencils, and a coloring book...a shelf of books in my room and a small basket of books in the living room...plus a little "desk" in our home office with a handful of manipulatives on it. 


We've got him a wooden train table off of Craigslist for $20 that he can use for just about every kind of imaginative play. If I were to find an inexpensive compact wooden play kitchen for him then we might add that to the mix. But really, with what he has everything fits in or on the train table and in containers on one side of the bottom of his closet.


I know we could be even more minimal than this...but this is what works for us right now. With a zoo membership, a museum membership, a library card, and access to both the neighborhood and several city parks...he's got a fairly well-rounded life without a ton of kid stuff overflowing every space in our house!!

post #22 of 24

I like all these suggestions, but would also add - playsilks and those big kid-friendly clothespins to go with them, I also second the dress-up clothes suggestion, musical instruments, and art supplies! (you could buy some gorgeous watercolor paper, Stockmar crayons - block and stick, paint, brushes, an art caddy... but here I am spending all your money on things I want :)). I do like your idea about a play treehouse or something open ended. We absolutely do minimalist toy box. We keep a "toy library" in her closet and cycle out toys that she's lost interest in for the time being (one in, one out, as you said). We also put away all the outgrown/too old toys. I think she currently has too much out now, after Christmas. Once the in-laws leave, we are clearing things up a bit.

post #23 of 24

We've got about 200 Magna-Tiles and can't wait to get more. Those are our ABSOLUTE favorite toy. EVER.

post #24 of 24

I'm reading along because we're in a similar situation re: we like to keep it minimal but also thoughtfully replenish. I actually asked a similar question a little while back. Thanks for the magna tiles rec, I'm going to check those out! 


Top toys in our house (for my 4yo) are matchbox cars and little wooden trains (he's been playing with them nonstop since he was 18 months), any kind of track (as long as it can be rebuilt lots of different ways), and art supplies. Of course he plays with all sorts of other stuff, including plenty of non-toys, but those are the things he plays with constantly, for hours every day.


I wanted to add that I've learned that I can't always predict which toys DS will like. For instance, I think I know what tree house set (or type of thing) you're referring to - I'm entranced by it myself! For DS's birthday we found a good deal on a similar but smaller-scale and less expensive version of it. I was sure he would love it. Well, while he does play with it occasionally, it's honestly far from his favorite toy. I'm glad we didn't go for the larger one because it would have been a waste. Same thing with his trampoline, which was my rec for his birthday present from my MIL. I was sure he'd love it, especially for our cold winters and he...doesn't. He can bounce on his friends' big backyard trampolines for hours in the freezing cold but the little one, not so much. So for that reason it's probably not worth it to buy a big ticket item unless you're really certain your kiddos will like it. I almost bought a play kitchen for him at one point but I decided to make him one instead out of cardboard. (I got an amazing pattern for one on Etsy.) It's not done yet but he's pretty excited about it because he watches me work on it and it's something special I'm building for him. I have fun doing it and if he likes it, great. If not, hey, it was fun and almost free to try out. Some of his favorite toys that he plays with for hours and hours are frankly ones I'd never have chosen for him, especially matchbox stuff (just never imagined they could be played with in so many ways). 


FWIW - Maybe it's my cultural background, but I think it would be unkind to go against your mother's intentions.

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