Guest Blogger Series: Reducing The Stuff In Our Lives – Edinburgh With The Kids

Guest Blogger Series: Reducing The Stuff In Our Lives – Edinburgh With The Kids

Welcome back to my Guest Blogger Series. These weeks roll around so quickly, but I never complain as it’s great to have such great content so regularly on my blog. This week we have Laura who blogs over at Edinburgh With The Kids who is blogging for us today about reducing the ‘stuff’ in our lives.

“Hello! I’m Laura – a full-time work Mum, wife and Mama to three lovely kids – Katie, Thomas and my stepson Ben. I started blogging whilst on maternity leave with Thomas and now almost two years on I’m still writing. ‘Edinburgh with Kids’ is a magazine style lifestyle blog. I aim to offer simple, honest, inspiring and down to earth advice. I have no idea if I’m successful in that so people feel free to visit and let me know!”

Guest Blogger Series: Reducing Stuff - Edinburgh With The Kids

Reducing The Stuff In Our Lives

Currently, I’m writing in my best friend’s living room in Norfolk. The door to the garden is open and the sun is streaming through to the spot that I’m sitting. The room is spacious with minimal furniture. There are a few toys dotted around but it’s all pretty modest. I’m actually propped up on a gigantic bean bag rather than the solitary sofa.

If I were to imagine the equivalent in my house, there would be far more noise and well… stuff.

This morning as I was drinking tea and thinking about this comparison I was reflecting on how much money we could’ve saved over the last 5 years if we had just opted to have less. Do we really need everything we have? The honest answer is of course, no.

I know this to be absolutely true because of how content the kids have been over the last few weeks.

This holiday, we initially headed to my Mum’s house in Sussex. The kids had a single box of Duplo, a few bits of Playmobil, colouring in, and a doll with a buggy. They were all happy to play with these toys – and did for several hours per day. There may have been less but as a result, we just headed out the door more.

Now we’re in Norfolk we have a basic train set, some baby toys, and a little carry case with some Playmobil. None of them have been moaning about this or asking for more.

They haven’t once said – “I wish we had brought all the Peppa Pig stuff” or “Why didn’t we bring my trampoline?!” They honestly seem very content. So why do we own so much? What possessed us to buy it all?

Maybe, I have rose tinted glasses on because we’re away. Perhaps if we stayed away for months at a time we would miss things. The kids might get bored and start asking for more.

But looking around my friend’s house, whilst admittedly she only has one baby – she doesn’t seem to have most of the junk we had for our first and yet is really quite comfortable!


Consumerism

Guest Blogger Series: Reducing Stuff - Edinburgh With The Kids

I think we are constantly bombarded with the idea that we need to buy things for our children. I was thinking early about some of our Playmobil 123 toys. They really are lovely and both of the younger children enjoy them. But why do we have 3 different sets? Were they not happy with just one?

But then I remember the pressure of birthdays and Christmas… The question always arises – what should we get the kids? More of the same is purchased so there are things to unwrap and we’ve ticked the box of getting them something.

I remember days where we’re in the toy aisle at the supermarket and they’re asking to get something new. Inevitably they just ask for something they know and like already – so we add another Barbie to the collection.

I remember watching the kids play with a toy at a friends house or play cafe and thinking we should get one too. But why didn’t I just think we should visit each other more often?!

You often hear people saying ‘It wasn’t like that in my day’ and I’m sure I’ve thought that at times, but honestly I would be lying.

Do you know those ‘clickbait’ type articles on Facebook entitled ‘Remember these toys from the 80s/90s’? I ALWAYS click on those. What they reveal is all the rubbish I had forgotten about – long ago abandoned to landfill.

I had the Polly in my Pockets, the My Little Pony, the Pound Puppy and the weird duck ‘Keepsi’ thing with unlocking wings. Not forgetting the Fisherprice record player, toolkit and garage. As a teenager, I had several Tamagotchis and can full well remember the early models of Nintendo.

All that plastic fantastic joy! But did I need it all? Has it lasted?


Toys That Last

Guest Blogger Series: Reducing Stuff - Edinburgh With The Kids

If I’m perfectly honest, if my Mother produced that Fisherprice record player I would be overjoyed. I know they’ve brought a new one out but apparently, it’s not the same and doesn’t have those plinky grove bits. But I’m more thankful, she’s not attempting to foist degraded plastic on me from some forgotten corner of the attic.

That’s also not to say there aren’t toys that she’s kept. It these I’ve been reflecting on. What toys have genuinely lasted for the past 32 years and still keep the kids happy?

Brio – this wooden train set was given to my brother when he was two (34 years ago). He played with it daily, I played with it, visitors to our house played with it, and now my kids play with it. You couldn’t tell it was old and many of the pieces can still be bought today and haven’t been adapted.

Lego – we still have a huge box of Lego from my childhood (and a small amount of Duplo). The difference is – none of it is a particular set or theme. It’s a mixture of bricks, wheels, and base plates. In short, it requires a little more imagination.

Playmobil – I was a huge fan of Playmobil as a child and a fair amount is still going. Sadly some bits have now snapped off through rough play but I’ve noticed that the more modern variety is actually a little worse for this. They seem to have added a lot more gadgets and themed items. Gone are the very generic cars and spies have arrived in their place. Obviously a great marketing ploy!

I’m not exactly sure what makes these toys different. I just know that they were the ones played with most, consistently, and have lasted.


The Solution?

I don’t know what the solution to all of this is. I know that Katie’s birthday is fast approaching and the likelihood is I’ll be giving her something to unwrap. I doubt it will be unique and I doubt she will really ‘need’ it. That doesn’t exactly fill me with joy.

I’m also not about to bin all of the toys in our house – although I’m sure a few will be appearing on Gumtree soon!

I do know however that I’m uncomfortable with the amount of disposable plastic rubbish in our lives. I don’t just mean toys in that either.

I mean the bottles that clutter our bathrooms, the packaging spilling out of the bin after our weekly shop, and the many many take away cups littering the floor of my car. All of it soon to be joining my abandoned toys of the 80s.

As I sit enjoying the sun and the green trees hanging over the garden. I do just feel I could be making more effort to live responsibly. To consume a little less and just appreciate life that bit more.

 

Laura
 

edinburghwithkids.comfood, fitness, style, design, & a love of family life

A Scottish Lifestyle & Parenting blog
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I absolutely LOVE this post. In fact, if I didn’t know better I think Laura has crept into my head AND my house and written about me! I am certain that we will all relate to some if not all of this post. I know I have far too many toys and more than enough ‘tat’ in my house. I would go as far as to say that reading this has given me some inspiration to have a good clear out! Thank you, Laura, for sharing this great insight, and food for thought. Don’t forget your badge!
a
If you would like to get involved in the Guest Blogger Series, drop me a message by filling in the form on my Contact Me page. I look forward to hearing from you.
a
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32 Comments

  1. 7th August 2017 / 12:51 pm

    Oh my goodness. I certainly can recall those toys and I’ve been turning my attention slightly to Christmas and thinking what do the girls really need? #PoCoLo

    • Jaki
      7th August 2017 / 6:28 pm

      Every birthday and every Christmas without fail!

      • 11th August 2017 / 1:19 pm

        We’ve only had a couple of Christmas and Birthdays with them so far #TriumphantTales

        • Jaki
          14th August 2017 / 8:21 pm

          Ah you have all this to look forward to!

  2. 8th August 2017 / 9:26 am

    I try really hard not to buy too much especially the plastic tat but somehow it just creeps in. I have to have a huge clear out before birthdays and Christmas just to make room and ensure we are not overrun with toys. #triumphanttales

    • Jaki
      8th August 2017 / 12:34 pm

      I hear you! I did just that this weekend. We have two designated ‘tat’ boxes for all that free rubbish they hate to part with, one upstairs and one down. So long as it has a home and isn’t all over the floor or in random places in each room, I can cope with it!

  3. 8th August 2017 / 9:57 am

    This is so true and having 4 children our house is literally stuffed with toys. When I think back to my own childhood, I have fond memories of playing with my Sindy house for years! I can even remember specific jigsaws. I’m sure my children won’t remember the masses of jigsaws currently sitting on top of their wardrobes. that being said, I really don’t know how to opt out of the pressure of providing so many toys either #triumphanttales

    • Jaki
      8th August 2017 / 12:32 pm

      I had a good tidy and clear up at the weekend and felt so much better when they were more organised – still too many but at least everything now has a home!

  4. 8th August 2017 / 2:55 pm

    Interestingly we have 2 suitcases each, as we move a lot. We buy stuff off other expats that are leaving and sell when we leave. It’s such a good lesson in how much you actually need. #TriumphantTales

    • Jaki
      8th August 2017 / 4:11 pm

      Sounds like a great way to recycle though!

      • 8th August 2017 / 4:17 pm

        Yep and we save a lot of money

  5. 8th August 2017 / 4:04 pm

    Yes! by the end of a day the living room is full of toys all over the place like a bloody lego minefield,
    footpaincity #TriumphantTales

    • Jaki
      8th August 2017 / 4:09 pm

      I feel your pain!

  6. 8th August 2017 / 7:06 pm

    Great post and so true, My children have so many toys that the last birthdays they received money into an account, They had a little something to open but apart form that we just took them on a little day out. I think its us as parents that seem to want them to have things just because that’s the “thing” to do.

    #triumphanttales

    • Jaki
      9th August 2017 / 11:48 pm

      I totally agree – and we don’t feel guilty when they have gifts to open!

  7. 9th August 2017 / 9:33 am

    I absolutely love this and agree 100% I just need to find the motivation to sort through all the toys lol! Great post.

    • Jaki
      9th August 2017 / 11:42 pm

      This post gave me the motivation – I had a right old clear up at the weekend! 🙂

  8. 9th August 2017 / 12:15 pm

    Currently writing this in my front room surrounded by junk and toys. Its hard for me as I am such a hoarder. I still have bills and receipts from my Uni days circa 2006!!! I also hold on to things as they hold memories. I need a bigger house hahah! #Thatfridaylinky

    • Jaki
      9th August 2017 / 11:40 pm

      Bigger house will result in more stuff lovely!! 😉

  9. 9th August 2017 / 5:20 pm

    Oh my, I love a good declutter! And we need it! We live in a small space and it just seems that the ‘stuff’ grows! HELP! I’, all for recycle and reuse too! TY! #triumphanttales

    • Jaki
      9th August 2017 / 11:39 pm

      I know the feeling. It’s all the little itty bitty stuff in our house – it gets everywhere – even in my handbag!!

  10. 9th August 2017 / 10:56 pm

    I love this post!
    We are currently having a massive summer clearout. I hate clutter and tat. My husband is a bit of a hoarder and spendaholic so it is challenging!
    #TriumphantTales

    • Jaki
      9th August 2017 / 11:32 pm

      I’ve got one of those too! What are they like?!

  11. 10th August 2017 / 9:26 pm

    Great post. As above, we are currently having a mass clear out and declutter! I think being cooped up with both kids off school more is making it feel so much more cramped. I’ve got rid of SO many toys and do you know what? They are playing better and more with their toys because its all less overwhelming and there’s more space! I can’t wait to be finished and have a calmer house, they don’t need loads, plenty to keep occupied but I do go overboard. #FriYAYLINKY – thank you for linking up, hope to see you this week xx

    • Jaki
      10th August 2017 / 9:48 pm

      I did exactly the same last weekend – I was inspired!

  12. 10th August 2017 / 11:28 pm

    We have so many toys in our house and most don’t get played with 🙁 My parents still have all of our toys from our childhood so the kids have plenty to play with. I can’t bear to throw anything out 🙁 #anythinggoes

    • Jaki
      14th August 2017 / 9:10 pm

      So hard isn’t it?!

  13. randommusings29
    11th August 2017 / 3:49 pm

    Fantastic post and so true! I loved Lego as a kid and I much preferred it without a theme – the boxed sets now are ok, but you can really only build that one thing from it and once you’ve done, well, you’ve done it.
    Thanks for linking up to #AnythingGoes 🙂
    Debbie

    • Jaki
      14th August 2017 / 8:14 pm

      We’ve had that exact same problem today – time to get Daddy’s old lego down from the loft I think!

  14. 16th August 2017 / 10:09 pm

    There is something liberating about freeing yourself of stuff – as long as it’s the right stuff you get rid of and then don’t want it six months later 🙂 I’m often amazed at how much friends spend on each other for birthdays and christmas – we’ve never been into the big spend approach, so maybe that’s why. Thanks for sharing with #PoCoLo x

    • Jaki
      17th August 2017 / 9:33 pm

      I had a good clear out after reading this, it felt very liberating!

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