Failing Motherhood

Decluttering TOYS: A Guilt-Free Guide to LESS

January 02, 2024 Danielle Bettmann | Parenting Coach for Strong-Willed Kids Episode 136
Failing Motherhood
Decluttering TOYS: A Guilt-Free Guide to LESS
Show Notes Transcript

Tis the season for under-stimulated kids, over-stimulated parents, an influx of gifts and stuff everywhere!  

If you have the urge to throw everything away right now, you’re not alone!

If you’d love to have LESS at your house but feel guilty for getting rid of perfectly good (educational even!) toys, this episode is for you.

Today I’m sharing the benefits of less toys for you and your kid(s), your goals to set out and attain, and I break down the steps to take to go through things one shelf at a time.

Cheers to more cooperation, more focused independent play, and more SANITY in 2024!

IN THIS EPISODE, I SHARED...

  • A step-by-step approach to tackle toys at your house with no guilt whatsoever
  • Advice on how to involve your kids
  • My thoughts on toy rotation, books, gifts, and all their trinkets + trash :)

DON'T MISS:

  • The key mindset shift that sets the tone for everyone!


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Danielle Bettmann  
Ever feel like you suck at this job? Motherhood I mean? Have too much anxiety, and not enough patience. Too much yelling, not enough play. There's no manual, no village, no guarantees. The stakes are high. We want so badly to get it right. But this is survival mode. We're just trying to make it to bedtime. So if you're full of mom guilt, your temper scares you. You feel like you're screwing everything up, and you're afraid to admit any of those things out loud. This podcast is for you. This is Failing Motherhood. I'm Danielle Bettmann. And each week we'll chat with a mom ready to be real. Sharing her insecurities, her fears, your failures and her wins. We do not have it all figured out. That's not the goal. The goal is to remind you, you are the mom your kids need. They need what you have. You are good enough. And you're not alone. I hope you pop in earbuds somehow sneak away and get ready to hear some hope from the trenches. You belong here, friend. We're so glad you're here.

Danielle Bettmann  
Hey, it's Danielle. Happy Holidays and Happy New Year. I am so glad you're here. I hope that you had some moments of joy. I hope that you're feeling refreshed. But I know that you're likely hanging on to a thread of sanity right now which we are going to address shortly. But if you missed it, I just need you to know my registration for the live free masterclass is now open, it is going to be Wednesday, January 17 12 o'clock Central 2024 You can go to parentingwholeheartedly.com/confident for all the details, the replay link will be emailed to those that register. So don't miss this opportunity to make the changes that you want to see in your home in 2024, alongside your partner. Now, let's dive into living with less with kids.

Danielle Bettmann  
I don't know about you. But Tis the season to feel the motherly urge to purge throwing everything we see in the trash. I had that at about 11am On Christmas day I started just gone around with a trash bag. And just it was the only thing to make me feel a little bit more in control and have some purpose and just feel like there wasn't wrapping paper everywhere and toys everywhere. And it just felt like chaos. And I know that you don't need me to tell you how much your sanity is likely correlated to your environment. So if I was feeling this way with not even super young young kids at this point, I know that that's likely a little bit universal right now. So if you have felt that way at all in the last two weeks, you are not alone. Welcome home. I know that you want your spaces working for you, not against you. And as a parent at this time of year, we have the combination of some under stimulated kids and some overstimulated parents an influx of presents some great some junk, if we're being honest. Boxes still everywhere, remaining, you know, holiday decor up or down. It's a lot. Okay, so it's a lot. And it is something that I just want this episode to give you permission to feel overwhelmed with feel a little frustrated with feel like you're not wrong or bad as a parent for for resenting the influx. It is normal. It is expected it is human. Hey, 

Danielle Bettmann  
I don't want this episode to be something where you're like, oh, man, now I feel bad for having so much stuff, and I need to get rid of it. No, this episode is just to validate that understanding frustration, and from a parenting coach perspective, give you permission to let go of some things if that's what you are ready for, if that's what you want to do. Then hear me when I say I am cheering you on. 

Danielle Bettmann  
If you're at a place where it doesn't bother you, right doesn't even matter how much stuff you have. If it doesn't bother you, if it is not a problem. It's not a problem. Okay, it's not a problem. But if you're here and you're like a problem, then that's what we're here to talk about. So you likely are not probably even tuning into this episode. If it's not something that is rare. went to you right now. So the rest of us, hi, welcome. 

Danielle Bettmann  
You know that the spaces do affect you likely more than your partner, you know that your kids get a little bit crazy when the space is a little bit crazy, you know that they probably would play better if they had less, but like you don't know where to start, you don't know what to keep what to throw. It's a very overwhelming process, there are a million amazing resources out there for minimalism for decluttering your whole entire life and space and home. The only part I want to talk about today is decluttering toys, because that's what I feel like I can lend some unique perspective. 

Danielle Bettmann  
And okay, so just for reference, in 2017, my family moved from a two and a half storey home with a two and three year old to a two bedroom apartment and got rid of about 75% of our belongings. To this day, I can say we barely missed a thing. And that's what I was so shocked by I've actually gone on some other decluttering and minimalism podcast to talk about our story with that. Because honestly, for the first at least, like two years, the apartment was refreshing, it was so easy to maintain, it was so just inherently set up for our success. Because we didn't have the luxury of storing extra items, we didn't have the luxury of dealing with things later, it had to be dealt with immediately, or we couldn't walk down the hall. And there was so much that actually made sense. 

Danielle Bettmann  
Now it didn't last forever. Because COVID hit and I did have kids, homeschooling and working from home, and we didn't have our own outdoor space. And there was just still a lot where they couldn't, you know, learn to ride bikes there. And obviously, we have the spaces we have right now for a lot of reasons. Some we can control somebody can't. So we want to be able to make the most of it and feel like we are being good stewards of what we have. Right. So just you know, that's our unique story. We're back in a house now. And there's a lot that we haven't regained. There's still a few things where it's like, oh, yeah, we owned that at once. In the past, it would be great if we didn't have to rebuy that. But we would have had to live with it for the last seven, eight years. And that would have been a burden. So there's a lot more that goes into our relationship with stuff then we'd likely give a lot of credit for. And that's where my personal story has really helped open up a lot of perspective and what we really actually need and what our kids really actually need is a lot less than we think. 

Danielle Bettmann  
So today, I'm going to just talk a little bit about why decluttering especially your playroom, or your kids toys at this time of year is valuable for you why it's valuable for them, some of the goals to keep in mind, and how to go about getting rid of some things. At the end, I'm going to talk a little bit about some of the specifics like seasonal items, you know, my thoughts on a toy rotation, and how to talk to them about it. So I could probably break this up into a couple different episodes. I'm taking a training that I've done a paid training that I've done in the past and just kind of sharing a lot of that with you here. Because you're my people I love this podcast. I love that failing motherhood is thriving going into our like fourth year this is that so I hope that this is valuable. 

Danielle Bettmann  
If you don't know, go to failing motherhood.com for our most listened to episodes playlist, our playlist for where to start if you have a strong-willed child, and shownotes and transcripts for every episode, if that is something that you would value and find value from. 

Danielle Bettmann  
So let's start with why decluttering toys is valuable for you. And I know I'm preaching to the choir on this one. But this is so that you don't feel crazy. Clutter does affect your mental health. The amount of time you spend keeping up with things, just even day to day laundry dishes, picking up dumped out baskets of toys and cleaning everything directly takes away your capacity and ability to have the energy and the time. You want and need to be present, to have patience to stay calm and to be the parent you want to be. Especially if you're at all neurodivergent if you have some sensory issues with like, textures, sound ,anxiety, then it's only going to be even more important. 

Danielle Bettmann  
We know, we don't just pay for things with money, we pay for things with time, time spent maintaining it, time spent cleaning it, we have to pick it up, we have to dust around it, we have to move with it, we have to designate a place to store it. And our time is our most precious commodity, we'll never get it back. Our kids will never be this old. Again. I mean, other way more important ways you want to be spending our time than picking up the dump, don't make the blocks for the 1,000th time. Everything within eyesight in your home should be there because it's serving you in some way. Because you are making that sacrifice to pay for it both with your income and with your energy and your time. So families who declutter in some way to live with less, find more money, more time and more energy for things that matter most. It's a life with less stress, more calm, more freedom and less burden. And it models a lifestyle for your kids that might set them up for more success down the road, because you're showing them what enough looks like or what those boundaries look like.

Danielle Bettmann  
So if it's not your child, saying, I have too much toys, Mom, please help me go through them, you need to be able to come to this with a very confident, clear headed energy that lets go of the guilt of saying I'm a bad parent, because I'm making my kids have less toys. No, no more, we are letting go of that guilt. And we are saying, I am giving my kids the gift of a more patient, present parent, by setting up our environment for success. Only keeping the things that really serve us. And using my time and my energy as wisely as I can. 

Danielle Bettmann  
That shift is really important to work through. Before you ever start the conversation with your kid that says hey, we're going to start going to getting through your toys, we're gonna share some things. If you start that conversation before you're ready, and you have not worked on this mindset, and you don't you feel a little bit guilty, you feel a little bit, like it's not the right thing to do, or you're being a bad parent, or you know, they're gonna hate it and you're not ready for the fight, it's not going to go well. And then it's only going to reaffirm See, I knew this wasn't gonna go well, I shouldn't have even brought it up. I'm a bad parent. And then it's only to give you more and more evidence that that's true. No, work through this. Talk to a friend that can reaffirm it, listen to this as much as many times as you need to, until you can truly say I am doing this for their good. And my good. And my needs matter just as much as my kids. I need to show them that so that they don't become entitled kids. Right? This is bigger than just twice. It matters. So that's why decluttering is important for you. There's also reasons why it's important for them, they truly, truly do play longer and deeper and better, with less options. 

Danielle Bettmann  
There was a fascinating study, and I didn't go back and try to find it for this episode. But there was a fantastic study that I read about in one of my early childhood development textbooks that basically studied watching several kids in a classroom, tracking their movements, and over a certain amount of time in an environment with more and an environment with less. And the environment, they showed like a map of like how much movement the child did throughout the amount of time in the room was more. And they were like all over the place. constantly moving, getting up changing what they're doing, not being able to really focus or sit down on any one project. They were just all over the place. 

Danielle Bettmann  
And it would be like if we sat down with our, to our desk or our computer and just had everything that we could possibly need to do or or have to do all over the desk all over the desktop notifications everywhere. That's overwhelming, like where do you even start, you start, you know, jumping from task to task. It's like you know, when you try to clean your house, everything is a mess. You start to put one thing somewhere else and then you realize that in order to do that you need to do this and then in order to do that you need to do this and then all sudden you've accomplished nothing. 

Danielle Bettmann  
That's like what their play is like when they have too many options. They're able to actually They go deeper and have more complex sustained project type play, when there's less options available. And when they have a little bit of a jumpstart, when you when you kind of initiate the first thing of an idea, then they're able to run with it. So their mind becomes very easily overstimulated. It's like, chaos, we're doing them a favor, when even though every toy is in and of itself innocent and great, even educationally, then we're doing them a favor by giving them a less options.

Danielle Bettmann  
We want them to learn the value of boundaries. We want them to have instilled values like gratitude, or humility, that's hard to learn when they live in excess. We want them to have extended play that's deep and engaged and collaborative with siblings and ideally, not always, you know, led by us or needed that they need us to be able to play, we want them to play independently. It's very hard for them to do that, when there's play and chaos everywhere. 

Danielle Bettmann  
So that leads us to defining our goals for the vision of why we're even taking action at all, and what action is needed. So here's a few goals, you want to be able to have white space, somewhere. If you have a playroom that is packed to the brim with toys on every single shelf, every single table, and the floor is even covered. There is nowhere to build from, to have imagination, there's no word to be able to take one toy and use it with another toy and have the ability to even be creative. We need to be able to provide fuel and space to then be able to have a combination for good, consistent deep play. So whitespace is important. Whitespace visually on the walls. 

Danielle Bettmann  
Man, I walked into one kindergarten classroom at a kindergarten round up. And I as a parent was so overstimulated visually by the walls, I had to leave the room, there was posters, everywhere, it was too much. And if that's how I feel, imagine how a kiddos brain feels that is literally still downloading software, at a rate of like a million neuron connections per second, overwhelm, we need whitespace visually, we need whitespace on tables, or shelves or counters, to be able to then fill in use appropriately, any white space on the floor, so that they can drive the cars or that they can get things out and be able to not feel immediately cramped, and just, you know have that cringe factor and it can want to leave the room. 

Danielle Bettmann  
So if you will already you're starting off with a very small space, you know, apartment living over here, that means that you need even less, but you can use that really wisely. And your kids are not missing out. They're not missing out on anything. Okay, that they can, you can be doing them more of a disservice by having an entire basement filled to the brim with every toy they could ever imagine. And they're not going to play with any of it. Wow. Right? 

Danielle Bettmann  
They might, quote unquote play but it's not going to be independent. It's not going to be collaborative, it's not going to be deep, and you know, focused and imaginative. 

Danielle Bettmann  
So, your one goal is whitespace. Another goal is to be able to have domains covered as in you have a diverse range of options that cover a few different elements of their development. I define those as gross motor play, which would be you know, little bikes, trikes, ladders, climbing, you know, a nugget jumping, climbing, riding like kind of stuff. Sign motor, is anything that's going to develop the muscles within their hands. So that means anything that's like holding a utensil, putting together a puzzle, threading beads, something like that. Then you also want to have some imaginative play that can be two different variations. One, pretend play with figures. I call it a figure reenactment where you have you know the Paw Patrol trucks and house or headquarters where you have the little figures and you're using them in some way, that's play, pretend figure reenactment, the other one is playing pretend whole body reenactment, where that's where you have the play kitchen, and you have the dress up clothes, and you are embodying the imaginative play in the characters and the roles. Both, you know, ideally, you want to have something that provides the ability to play in that way, in your space or in your home. And then of course, books, right, I will go off on another podcast about all my fascination with love for books, but books should be in every space in your home, just a little basket with a few options in every area so that they're available, but not available to be quickly overwhelmed with. 

Danielle Bettmann  
Okay, so that is the reasons why it's important for you and for them, and some of your goals moving forward. Now, let's get into the nitty gritty how, how do we do this? What does it look like, and all of the coulda, shoulda, woulda was what about at this point in minimalism principles, you know how to's, best practices, you typically want to start decluttering in an area that is least sentimental. So if your playroom is filled with toys that are heirlooms or that are from your childhood, that's obviously going to make the decision making even more taxing on the mental load that it takes to go through them. So you might need to start smaller, you might need to start in another space, the easiest place to start typically is a bathroom. Because it's not as likely that you have very sentimental items. In a medicine cabinet, where that's a little bit more logical analytical, you can build up some steam and some momentum there. 

Danielle Bettmann  
But if you are starting with toys, then start in either the area that drives you the most crazy, or whatever feels easiest to you. So if you know that that's a closet that hasn't been touched in ages, and it's going to be really easy to start to go through those things. Because you know, right off the bat, what needs to stay and what needs to go, it's critical to build a snowball of momentum that starts small, starts easy and then builds to the heart. I think a lot of times, we want to take on a project like this, and start at the really, really hard level. And that is going to make you feel really overwhelmed really quickly lose steam quickly feel very defeated. And you're going to end up worse off than where you started. Because you've got a bunch of stuff out. And now it's just all over the floor in the hallway, and you have no energy left to deal with it. 

Danielle Bettmann  
You need to start small, take manageable chunks, critical, then you're going to find one space, whether that's a drawer, shelf, corner, a something, okay, and then you're gonna go start to finish with that one space, that one drawer or that one shelf, or that one corner, you're gonna get a laundry basket, or a garbage bag, or a cardboard box, or all three. If you have the energy, you're going to take everything out of that one space, that drawer, that shelf, that corner, take everything out, every single thing out, then one at a time, you're going to deliberate on each item and decide if it stays or if it goes. That's the first decision stays or goes. Stays means that it is currently serving your family. It is meeting the developmental needs of at least one child at the age they currently are in your home. It is of interest to that child or more children. Right now actively they are playing with it. They love it. It is something that they gravitate towards, and you have the space and capacity to maintain it.

Danielle Bettmann  
Then that means it's a yes. If it's a maybe not. You still don't have to decide exactly what to do with it. You're just putting it in two categories. 100% Yes. Or maybe not 100% Yes. And then that goes in the other side. And if it 100% yeses, then you put it back, put it back. You start with putting the best of the best back into that drawer shelf or corner and then you have to stop before it hits 100% capacity again You have to know when to stop when enough is enough. And that is with whitespace. Imagine, when you've seen on Pinterest pictures of Montessori shelves, they're not filled to the brim. They're not full of baskets and bins that are, you know, ready to be dumped out, they have a few cars lined up, they have, you know, a little tray with something on it. And that's by itself. It's very visually welcoming. It's very calming and peaceful. And it's very intentional for a reason. 

Danielle Bettmann  
Because when a child goes up to that shelf, they are able to analyze from those few options, decide what to do take it and start when we have bins and bins and don't have genuinely and invites overwhelmed play, which means dumping out to try to find the one thing I know is in here. And then when I find it, I am not responsible or accountable to deal with all of the mess that it just took me to find that one thing. And then now I can't play with it well, because my space is a mess. And I'm just moving on and I'm gonna go bug a sibling, I'm gonna go beg my parents entertain me. That's not what we're looking for here. 

Danielle Bettmann  
So we're gonna start with putting the best of the best back, you're gonna know when enough is enough, and it's less than you think. Then you're going to deal with the rest. You can decide at that point. If it's something that you're just going to store for a while. If you have the storage for it, then by all means, put it in a closet, put it in a box, put it in the basement somewhere until you're able to use it again. Or you decide that it's something that you're ready to donate, pass along, you know, to a thrift store or anywhere else. You order you decide that it's trash, no one else wants the burden of this item. And so you're going to put it then in the garbage can. 

Danielle Bettmann  
But deciding if it's something that's worth selling, honestly, truly, from the bottom of my heart, I love you. I've sold a million things on Facebook marketplace on consignment sales on like buyback stores like big wheels to butterflies. It is very rarely worth your precious energy and time to do that. You have to be at a place where you are like done having babies and you have half of a basement worth items. Then go all out. Have that garage sale, do that consignment sale, have a big you know hand me down party with friends do something that warrants that. But most of the time, if you're just doing a seasonal purge, it's better to just say goodbye. 

Danielle Bettmann  
But you can still do that in a way that makes you feel like you've done your due diligence. And I'll give you a couple ideas, donate to places that your child might see that thing again, or that you know, it's going to be a good home. So I honestly say it's worth going through and doing a little bit more research to know that you have peace that your items are going to a good home rather than working to try to sell them for a buck. Because you're gonna get scammed you're gonna get spammed, it's, we don't have the opportunity for that much anymore. So the few places I have donated things is like a young moms charity, a, you know home for for teen moms or moms that are in kind of a halfway house. We have donated things to a pediatricians office, we've donated things to a church that we went to for, you know, Sunday school opportunities, we have donated to the childcare they were going to or other childcare that they've used in the past. We have donated to gyms, you know, like the gym daycare that we've been members of places will take things and it's very cool for your kids to be like, Oh yeah, we've never really played with these giant cardboard bricks at our house. But now we can do that at the Y. Yay. So fun. And they you know can be responsible for cleaning him up every time. So there's a lot of opportunities to get creative on that that really makes you feel like not only is my space serving me more, but I feel even better about what we did with those things. So I will say it's worth worth the energy to research that a little bit more. 

Danielle Bettmann  
And remember, that's an entirely different set of tasks. Your first task is just to start to finish. Go through this one drawer, one shelf or one corner And then decide what staying, and then put the things off to the side that you know are not 100% serving your kids right now. And you can deal with that tomorrow, as long as it is in a box in a laundry basket in a garbage bag somewhere, come back to that, then make your decisions about where it's going to go. If it's going in the trash, if it's going in a donate bin, or if it's going to a specific, you know, new home, decide that later, then put it in a trunk, then put it you know, down in the basement, and it can still be another two weeks to a month until you finally donate those items. 

Danielle Bettmann  
And that's actually what I recommend. I recommend a I call it purgatory. But it's basically where you give toys a temporary home, in a laundry basket in a garbage sack in a box that's out of sight. And that but you still hold on to them. And you hold on to them for a certain amount of time, maybe a week, up to a month. And that allows you to have a period of time where if your child asks for a toy in that box or bag by name, then you're able to go back and get it out and say oh, yeah, Ifound it, it's right here. 

Danielle Bettmann  
Because if they are able to recall that item by its given name, then you can you can make that decision at that point, if you are able to get it back out and give up to them. And to have them still play for it for a little bit longer. Because maybe you didn't know that it meant that much to them. That's fair, you can't read your child's mind. And that makes you feel a little bit more like, you know, weeks or months later. And you know, these things have not been recalled, they have been out of sight out of mind, you can feel a little bit cleaner, have a cleaner conscience to go ahead and say peace be with you go off to your new home. And that's okay. 

Danielle Bettmann  
So, you're going to do that with each space, you're going to do that process of getting out a new drawer, new corner, a new shelf, go top to bottom, getting everything out, one at a time, putting the best of the best back, knowing when to stop, then dealing with the rest and where they're gonna go after that purgatory time period. 

Danielle Bettmann  
Now, here's when I advocate for your sanity by saying if you hate it, it goes.

Danielle Bettmann  
Your sanity met matters. Your sanity matters, your sanity is more important. So even if it's a good, academically valuable toy wipe, it doesn't mean they need it. They will survive without a shape sorter I promise you I was a preschool elementary teacher, they will learn their shapes without that toy. So if you hate picking up after it, if it that has little toys that get all over everywhere, constantly. And it is bothering you so much. It goes. No questions asked. If it's a talking toy, that is super creepy and loud. It goes. If it stabs you with sharp edges in the middle of the night, when you walk around it goes, if it's one of those terrible character books that you hate reading, because it drives you insane and has no storyline whatsoever. It goes if it has tiny pieces, and you collect the tiny pieces, and you know they go to something, just throw them away. If it has no off switch, it goes no volume control. It goes if they use it as a weapon more than its intended purpose, It goes.

Danielle Bettmann  
because happy mom happy parents driving kids. Right? You can help them through their emotions. If they find out a month later that something is missing. And they're sad. You can help them handle that you can validate. I'm sorry, you missed that toy. You really loved playing with it. And we went through things. And you know, you play better in a space with less things. So I'm still doing my job as your parent to act in your best interest by having gotten rid of that toy. 

Danielle Bettmann  
You are in charge of your space in your home and your playroom and their bedrooms. You are the parent, you have that authority. 

Danielle Bettmann  
Now a lot of you know here's here's where the questions come up where I've helped a lot of clients through this, because there's a lot of ifs wins what ifs, right? So what else. 

Danielle Bettmann  
Do I have my kids do this with me? And what I will say is the if they are old enough to be able to actively participate engage with you, I would still start without them I would be, I think it's very respectful to give your kids a heads up that says, Hey, I know you're going back to school tomorrow while you're gone, I'm going to do some cleaning, I'm gonna go in your room, or I'm gonna go in the playroom. And I'm going to take some things out, so that we can play better and that we can clean it together. I know it's a lot of work for you to clean up, when there's a ton of choice, it's going to be a lot easier for us both to clean it up and keep it clean, when there's less than there, I am not going to get rid of anything, until I until you have an opportunity to remember something that was missed. So while you're gone, I'm going to put some things away. If there's something missing later on, you can ask about it and we can get it back out. 

Danielle Bettmann  
So just let them kind of know, you're gonna put some things in storage. If they ask for it, you can get it back out, if they're really missing something that you put away in storage, and let them know that and give them that heads up ahead of time. That way when they come home, they're not shocked, blindsided, angry, and you lost trust in you. Because you've done this without their consent, you're still not asking necessarily, like, Hey, is it okay if I go through your stuff?  You're saying, Hey, I'm going to go through your stuff. And I know that you might, there might be some things that really mean a lot to you that I might not know, mean a lot to you. So I'm going to provide an outlet for you to get some things back that are missing later on if you come across that. So you want to be able to balance that expectation and those boundaries in a way that is healthy, and recognizing that you both have important needs here. 

Danielle Bettmann  
So if they are younger than five, they aren't going to be able to do a lot of this themselves. Because if you get overwhelmed with the mental load of making these decisions, they just also developmentally are not at a place of being able to do that rationally. You can try, but just know it's not going to be super successful. You can do it for the sake of modeling. But know that if you actually want to make some dramatic progress, it's not going to happen with them. And that's okay. Hey, but later on, you can start the process while they're at school, and then invite them in and say, Hey, I would love your help to go through just your shirt drawer. Can you let me know which of these shirts are too small for you where you don't like or don't wear? That would be great. So you just help them take all the shirts out of their shirt drawer. And then you can sit with them and say, Oh, would you like the shirt? You wear it? Okay, great. Let's fold it and put it back? No, I haven't seen you wear this one a lot, or this one feels itchy. Okay, let's go ahead and put this one in this pile. 

Danielle Bettmann  
And as they're old, they're older than five or six, they'll be able to do that with you in short bursts. And that's maybe more of a healthy, developmentally appropriate expectation of what that can look like with your child. 

Danielle Bettmann  
And I'm not able to answer every, you know, what if in this episode, but I'll address a few more. One of them I get a lot is What are my thoughts on a toy rotation? Here's what I have to say about toy rotations, they are beautiful in theory is very rare to find a parent who is able to have the capacity to do them well. And what I mean by that is, let's not pretend we are twiddling our thumbs as parents, and have nothing to do, then, you know, have planning periods and be able to set up our environments every single day with new and rotating things. Even if you are homeschooling, you do not get planning periods with no kids, you don't get these big breaks in the day when someone else is taking them outside your home so that you can clean up and go through things and rotate it. It's just very hard to do strategically and intentionally well for a sustained amount of time. So if you have tried a toy rotation, and failed and felt guilty about that, please let that guilt go. Okay. It is way more about your circumstance than it is about you and your discipline as a parent or a person. 

Danielle Bettmann  
So by all means, you're welcome to put things in closets, and then get them out and switch them out with other things because that novelty for kids does wear off quite quickly. Right? You're gonna be listening to this at the end of January and be like, Wow, they aren't playing with any of their Christmas gifts anymore. This is lovely. But there's about a three or four week period where things are novel and fun and then they lose the appeal. That's okay. Put them in a closet, get some back out two months later a brand new toy, or move their location. Right? If there's something that's not getting played, like the dress up trunk is not getting played with at all, move it from the basement to the living room or the living room to their bedroom. That will bring new novelty. And they'll be fascinated with things. Again, we know that this happens a lot of times when we're trying to go through things. So we start to move things from like the basement to the front room, and then all of a sudden, they're playing with everything again, because it's in the front room. That refresh is bringing a lot of novelty to those items again, and that's normal. And okay, still okay to get rid of them, even though they started playing with them again, because that novelty is going to quickly wear back off. But this is inherent, this is normal, this is all kids. 

Danielle Bettmann  
So don't feel guilty that it's your kids or that it's you. And you feel that this, by all means keep only the best of the best out. And if you have a million other great amazing toys that you want them to play with, keep them aside, it doesn't need to be beautifully categorized from like the home edit, and a rainbow pattern and all these perfect bins and labeled. If you have the time for that, go at it. That's amazing. Good on you, we would love to see pictures. But for the rest of us, just keep it realistic. Put it away in a closet. And when you have time, a month or two from now. And you remember because you put a reminder in your phone, go get a box of items, put it in the closet, switch it out. Yeah, we're done. Amazing, you did it. That's why that's on a toy rotation 

Danielle Bettmann  
Books, put a small display of books in some small bins, put display books with the covers out, or just have them standing up in a little band, your kid could essentially grab the top of the book, put it forward picture like if you had records and you had records in like a little bin where you can tab through the records. Like if you're at a record store. That's the best type of book storage is when you can tab through the books, grab the book you need without dumping all the books out. Or if there's all stacked on each other. Or it's just book mayhem, small amount of books that they can tab through in small baskets in several different places all around your house. That's what I recommend for books. 

Danielle Bettmann  
If you got gifts for the holidays, and you know that there's kind of an explicit strings attached, and you know, you know that person is going to look for those items, but you really don't want to keep them around. Please just remember, you are in charge of what comes into your home. A gift is not a gift if it comes with obligation and expectation. You know what's best for your child, and your home and your life and your family. And you can make decisions accordingly. You should not have to feel guilty about passing something along when it's no longer serving your family. Especially even if it never did in the first place. It served its purpose by bringing the light to the gift giver when it was given the end of story. I know that's easier said than done. But that's my thoughts on gifts.

Danielle Bettmann  
And then with kids, knowing that you're going to get pushback, there is never going to be a kid that's like, Hey, I have too many toys, please give me a lot less options. Please take all of these amazing gifts that I loved getting for my birthday and take them away. I so appreciate you parents, you are the best. It's not gonna happen. So stop imagining that that's going to one day wake up and be your reality. Kids are sentimental. They are tiny little hoarders they love freely. They love control. And they have a Rolodex in their brain of every rock and wrapper and PIs piece of paper that they've ever gotten. That is their reality. We love them for that. And it's okay if we don't keep them all right, we need to teach them boundaries. We need to teach them how to understand that others have needs in their home. And it's okay. 

Danielle Bettmann  
So you're going to communicate openly and honestly like giving them heads up say hey, I'm gonna go through this while you're at school. Love you. If there's something you're missing, let me know. You're going to respect their wishes that they have some while having kind and firm boundaries. You're going to maybe designate a space put a box around that behavior like I've said before, of I love that you have little rocks pieces of paper and wrappers. Let's keep those in a special box we have a treasure Box, all those special items that you collect around the way are gonna go in that treasure box when the treasure boxes full will have to go through it. Having some type of boundary or procedure around it is so much better than having zero or expecting there to be a Inbox Zero for things like that in your home. 

Danielle Bettmann  
Know that trinkets from birthday parties, art that comes home from school, random seasonal items are going to have a short lifespan, they're going to have some type of life lifespan, but it can be short. So you can say, all right, this very cool cardboard contraption that we made as like a fort can live in our house until Saturday. On Saturday, we're gonna break it down for the trash truck to come. So play with it until then, right? It's okay to have a short lifespan around those things. Let's say hey, every incoming art, we put it here it lives on the fridge for two weeks. Right? And then it can go maybe you know, most special art goes in a box. And then everything else gets tossed because we have new art coming around. And we want to be able to celebrate that. 

Danielle Bettmann  
When you let go of your guilt about it, you're able to be a much more confident leader that your kids thrive off of your vibe. If you're giving a very uncertain, icky, guilty vibe around this, they are going to see that as an invitation to convince you that you are not making the right decision. And you do need to keep it around and you are a bad parent if you don't. So your energy really does create a lot of the expectations. 

Danielle Bettmann  
Okay. Okay, I'm gonna stop there. Because I know that we can get into a lot more things I like I love toy libraries, right, we need to bring those back post COVID. There's a lot more to do with, you know, seasonal items and where to store those. But I hope that that's enough of a push to help you feel like you can declutter what you want to not feel like you need to for your family right now. And whatever that is, whatever that's bothering you, go do it. When it's no longer an issue, it's no longer an issue. 

Danielle Bettmann  
We are here cheering you on supporting you, giving you permission to prioritize your own sanity, so that you can have more energy and patience to be present. And make those memories with your kids. I know you want to because you're here. And that says a lot about who you are as a parent. So I hope to see you at the upcoming free training. I am so so so glad that you're inviting failing motherhood into your ears and into your home and 2024 Happy New Year. And I hope that it's a year for your family that you're able to make the changes you want so that you can have the peace in your home you desire. Take care Talk soon. 

Danielle Bettmann  
Thank you so much for tuning into this episode of failing motherhood. Your kids are so lucky to have you. If you loved this episode, take a screenshot right now and share it in your Instagram stories and tag me. If you're loving the podcast, be sure that you've subscribed and leave a review so we can help more moms know they are not alone if they feel like they're failing motherhood on a daily basis. And if you're ready to transform your relationship with your strong-willed child, and invest in the support you need to make it happen. Schedule your free consultation using the link in the show notes. I can't wait to meet you. Thanks for coming on this journey with me. I believe in you, and I'm cheering you on.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai