Beautiful Plenty

I want to share something with you.

I know you didn’t really ask, but maybe someone needs

or wants

to hear (see) what I have to say.

“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” – William Morris

I do my best to adhere to this principle with all of my possessions. But I don’t always do a good job – especially when it comes to my kids, because I think parents are always trying to keep well-stocked for all the what-ifs of life. Still, I try.

Oh, and,

the other principle I like to stick to is

if I can’t easily figure out where it came from or how it was made or it just doesn’t even resemble its natural state of being, I probably don’t want it in my house.

I want my kids to be able to decipher where their toys came from. Not because when they turn it over, ‘Made in China‘ is imprinted upon it –

no,

I want them to see it.

Wood.

Fiber.

You know? I want them to see it and feel it and imagine it. And I want them to appreciate the art of it and the person who brought that toy to life.

Sometimes I let things fall through the cracks. But right now, we’re doing all right. I’ve done a particularly large amount of purging in the last few weeks, and this is what we are left with:

(Oh, and I know you’ll be a dear and forgive me for the awful photo quality!)

Pots and pans for cooking delicious wooden meals

Playsilks for colorful silky fun

Blocks for building houses and knocking them down as loudly as possible

A big wooden train, a big wooden plane, and a big wooden truck for driving through the house and into the kitchen and beneath my feet while I’m trying to cook dinner

A glockenspiel for making sweet music

A pocket-sized doll

A little broom and a tiny dustpan and brush and a sweet small apron for getting the job done

Whimsical books and educational books and silly books and more books

And a few sneaky stragglers that will probably be phased out eventually, except that they’re too dear to a certain little boy to tear them away quite yet – some BPA-free plastic animals and some little plastic-and-metal vehicles.

It’s not a lot, but it’s plenty.

(And there are a few things sitting in the closet for when the boys need a bit of change. Kind of like shopping from our own toy store.)

You know, useful. Beautiful. And it’s mostly obvious where the majority of it came from.

Which is good.

It’s not always easy to resist buying all those interesting bright sing-songy musical super-educational cheaply-priced toys

but

it’s worth it. Especially because buying the natural, the mostly unchanged, and the beautiful usually means one of these:

local

or at least domestic or, if not, fairly traded

high-quality

sweatshop-free

healthy

happy

simple.

And all of that is really, really good, too.

Some of my favorite places to find these happy toys:

Nova Natural Toys & Crafts

Willow Toys

Imagination Kids

Imagine Childhood

PS – I wasn’t paid or given anythingatall to post the links to those sites. I just love them and I like to share the love. Go there and love them yourself. ❤

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2 Comments

Filed under homemaking, on being a mama

2 responses to “Beautiful Plenty

  1. I love the way that room looks! So peaceful. Ideally, we would have almost all wooden toys, but it hasn’t worked out that way. While we normally buy wooden toys (or recycled like Green Toys), our relatives buy the Made in China stuff. The girls love it, and then it’s a double-whammy of hurting a relative’s feelings and making our girls sad. So we don’t get rid of most of it, even though I’d sometimes like to. I have sent a few of the very worst toys on their way, and it’s gone unnoticed, but if we got rid of most of them people would know. Do you have any problems with people finding out you got rid of their gifts? How do you deal with it?

  2. mamarissa

    Jenny, I totally understand. It’s not practical to hold relatives and friends to all of our personal standards because that’s just what they are – *our* standards.

    I’ve found that I can clearly communicate my preferences during holidays and birthdays, but the end result is out of my control. Thankfully, my family is very attentive to my wishes for the toys that come into my home, but if they weren’t – I’d probably keep the toy(s) around for a little while and just slowly phase it/them out. There’s no way to guarantee that the givers wouldn’t find out, though! That’s a hard one!

    One thing that may help: if you feel like the girls have plenty or too many toys but one of their birthdays is approaching, you might try requesting (via the birthday invitation) that each party attendee donate their money to a charity of your choice in lieu of a gift (but obviously say it as more of a suggestion, so it sounds nice). You could say something about already being so blessed and wanting to share the blessing with those who are less fortunate, or something to that effect.

    I don’t know if that’s much help! But know that you’re not alone – remember those sneaky stragglers I mentioned? Yeah…it’ll probably be a little while before I figure out a way to phase them out. 🙂

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