Let’s Read: Simplicity Parenting


We have arrived at Chapter Three, entitled, “Environment”.  The chapter begins with painting a picture of the child’s room which ends with this sentence: “The room’s pastel color scheme and basic furniture – bed and bureau where the changing table once was – are no longer visible, buried under a thick overgrowth of multicolored, ever-growing, and expanding stuff.”

Kim John Payne talks about how in many of his workshops, parents want to begin simplification by simplifying the environment.  This is a tangible, doable step toward simplification.

American culture leaned toward selling toys to children beginning around 1955 with the advent of the Mickey Mouse Club and Mattel advertising a toy outside of the Christmas season.  And now, toys have expanded so that one doesn’t have to go to a toy store to buy a toy, but toys are available everywhere!  Advertisers spend about 16 billion dollars a year now to market to children.

The four messages of advertising include:  be unhappy with what you already have; you are the center of the universe and you should have what you want; products can solve problems and buying products is important.

Kim John Payne writes,” If you overwhelm a child with stuff – with choices and pseudochoices —before they are ready, they will know only one emotional gesture:  “More!”

He  asks parents to imagine all of your children’s toys in a mountain, and then halving this pile and perhaps again.  Commercial toys shifts children’s creativity toward something that is dependent upon adults and the things adults provide.  What would it be like to have less toys in your home?

Many blessings,


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10 thoughts on “Let’s Read: Simplicity Parenting

  1. I am so excited, Carrie. Last week, while my 9 yo son was at day camp, i took all of the toys in the house and piled them in an empty room. I had to stand on a ladder to take a photo! Then, i followed KJP’s advice and tossed everything that was broken or based on a commercial character and that plastic stuff that comes in goody bags. The rest was separated into a sell pile and a keep pile. Except for a few things like his wooden swords and guns, tinkertoys and blocks, the rest were put into 4 medium sized clear bins in the garage and one basket for the other plastic stuff (nerf guns…sad to say). He actually added some to the sell pile and only took one stuffed animal out (because it had “too many memories”). The house, particularly his room, feels so much better and he seems calmer. Also, so far, he hasn’t had his typical trouble to fall asleep. I am very happy with the outcome!

  2. I too went thru and cleared out my girls room. It’s amazing how much “junk” creeps in! They have been soooo happy with the results though, once in a while I hear “where is…” And they get mad at me when I tell them it’s gone. My mom isn’t too thrilled either as the provider of much of the junk! But I am learning to have boundaries with her and not allow her negative comments to direct the way I raise my kids. It’s a process.

    • Ramona,
      Decluttering does have a way of working on relationships, doesn’t it?
      So good to work on things physically and emotionally!

  3. We’ve done this a few times in the past few years (honestly it was motivated a lot by moving, not in the name of simplifying, but whatever it takes!) and it is AMAZING how much more my boys will actually PLAY with toys when they have fewer toy choices. When they have too many, then end up bouncing from one to the next and doing a whole lot more taking out/dumping. When they just have a few choices they sit down and spend an hour building something, then incorporate a few other toys into whatever they just built and use that dwelling for the rest of the day. Plus, then at the end of the day everything has a place to be put away and they can handle it themselves instead of me pulling my hair out taking care of their things. =) Love this advice!

  4. I know that those “four messages of advertising” work…because *I* learned them as a child and still ascribe to them unwittingly as an adult! So true – there’s always something better ( that ONE homeschool book…) and products can solve problems – ouch. It takes such courage to step outside and be That Family. Such courage. I am grateful for others that model it for me on this path…it helps at least a bit to know there are others out there who value their kids inner life enough to say no to the stuff. <3

  5. I just loved reading this & then implementing it in our home. Lately, we’ve been living on our screened porch & the only play thing out there are our wooden blocks. My girls have been building beautiful structures & haven’t even gone much into the play room. I know this is mostly due to summer weather but I’d also like to believe they’re just content. I know i am sitting out there watching them :) thanks Carrie!

  6. I’ve done ‘the clear-out’ a number of times. But somehow we’re still overwhelmed. My oldest is 10 now, and I recognise that quite a few of the toys in the kid’s rooms are mementos of earlier days, and even toys we store in there that once belonged to us as kids. I’d love to move a lot out into the garage. But our house is little, and the garage isn’t totally weather proof. I have to think about storage where things won’t get damp :(

    The trouble is that cleaning out the children’s clutter is just ‘one more mission’… added to the mission of sorting out meal planning (with the new online planner I just joined), and sorting out next years homes school, and sorting out all my own clutter, and sorting out our finances (How did we end up paying that much each month in insurances?), and sorting out all those boxes of homeschool resources. I think whats needed for me, is an approach where I can break this all into manageable pieces and feel some achievement – and yet still keep up the enthusiasm and energy to do it. This isn’t going to happen overnight. I think I’ll go start with one bite – right this moment :)

    • Right, well I spent about 4 hours in the children’s bedroom in the end. And it was very satisfying to move a lot of things to the charity bag, and dust, and put things aside for the garage storage. Once I got started I could see that a lot of things just needed to go.Its only a start. I’ll be interested to see how the extra space affects the kids :)

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