Lagom (pronounced [ˈlɑ̀ːɡɔm]) is a Swedish word meaning “just the right amount” and it is my inspiration for our “kid cave” (AKA basement family room). I want my three kids to have enough toys for a variety of play options, but not so many that they can’t appreciate, love, or care for them. Simple enough, right? Right. Now, my idea of what’s “just the right amount” is likely different than many others, but that’s the beauty of any concept/idea – you can interpret it to suit yourself.
I’ve spent a lot of time observing my kids at play, and what I have noticed is that they generally gravitate towards the same types of play: dress-up, building, and role-play. So it seems logical to divide the toys we have into those categories and keep what they TRULY play with, following two simple rules:
- No duplicates
- Nothing broken or in disrepair
I won’t go over everything in minute detail, but at the end of the day, we boxed up…
- duplicate and excessive
- baby doll items
- play kitchen/food items
- Barbies and accessories
- dress-up items
- toys that simply aren’t played with
- toys that are out-grown
- toys in disrepair or broken condition
I’m not going to lie and say purging toys is ever easy. I have done it a thousand times (that’s an exaggeration), but I always confront the same demons. That voice that says…
“You paid good money for that.”
“That was a gift.”
“They might play with it someday.”
No. No. And No.
This time I reminded myself that I had to be ruthless, keeping the end-game in mind. Fewer toys translates to less cleaning up and more meaningful play.
Here’s what we wound up keeping:
We kept 5 dolls as well as the doll accessories that are truly played with, are good quality, and in good condition (this included the stroller, crib, and high chair). We kept the Duplo Lego table and legos. We also kept an assortment of books. The play kitchen as well as a bin of play kitchen items also made the cut. Despite being significantly pared down, we still kept a lot of Barbie stuff. I feel good about what we kept though because the Barbies are well loved, and what we kept gets played with. We kept the magna tiles and marble run, and we kept a bin of dress up items. We also kept a handful of items that don’t fall into our three “keep categories,” but are used and loved.
Going into any purge of kid stuff, I always let my kids participate and have some say in what they are ready to say goodbye to. My daughter is extremely good about letting things go, but my oldest son gets more attached to things. So, at the end of the day we also kept a bin of super heroes and WWE wrestlers that I can’t say truly get played with, but that my son wasn’t ready to part with. And while we slimmed our stuffed animal and toy vehicle collection, we still have several.
I’m really happy with our progress this weekend. While I am certain we kept more than we should have, I can say with full confidence that we definitely pared down, and this space is closer to my idea of “just the right amount” of toys.
I hope you found something useful in this post, and I would love to hear any tips you might have for creating/maintaining a “lagom” playroom.
Until next time, keep it simple.
P.S. Confession – I wasn’t up to the challenge of tackling our games and puzzles just yet. That is another closet for another day.