In preparing to move aboard we purged everything, including the kids toys. As a family we sorted through our huge collection of board games. We repackaged, sorted, purged, and stored until we had a nice mix to bring aboard.
Owen brought three small organizers of Legos and put 18 gallons more into storage. He picked through his room and came out with an assortment of books, art supplies, and toys that would fit in the space available. We gave him an idea of the space available and he culled to match the space.
I sorted for Kinsley. Anything large, her play kitchen, tricycle, fisher price barn, were eliminated immediately. Her few stuffed animals all came, as did a number of playsilks, art supplies, and far too many books. Toys were harder. If Kinsley had her way, she would never play with anything larger than golf ball. She can spend hours sorting nuts and bolts or dice and game pieces. I knew that she already made her own toys out of anything handy, this transition was an opportunity to put that into more constant practice. In the end I picked out some play kitchen food and pans, a few animal figurines, and some pattern blocks. Her wooden blocks, doctor’s kit, and a few odds and ends were tucked into an accessible box in the storage unit.
Since settling, an odd thing has happened. Owen has sent two loads of toys and books back to the storage unit. He builds intricate Lego projects with the tiniest of pieces, turning them into transformers that shift from one shape to another. Our treasure chest provides the pieces for endless games. He writes, he draws, he creates for uninterrupted hours.
Kinsley has played long and hard with her favorites and barely touched some of the other toys. Both kids have increased their independent play time, letting Alex and I work through boat projects. It’s not unusual for Kinsley to spend an hour cooking on the little stovetop Alex drew for her, note the propane bottle and switch she insisted that her stove needed. She holds long conversations with her stuffed animals. Fewer toys and distractions means they both play so much more creatively what what they have.
No new toys have come out of storage. Aside from a roll of stickers and a cup of Legos, no new toys have been purchased or asked for. No one has expressed regrets about items we donated or stored. Not once. It really makes me wonder about why we felt the need for so much stuff when we had our house.
Again, I find myself so grateful for making this change in our lives.
- Joy Weiss