Shortly after Christmas I noticed that I was feeling irritable and uncomfortable in our house. As much as I love the holidays, the influx of new “stuff” often overwhelms me.
We did a good deal of purging before the holidays, and our (wonderful!!!) extended families continue to be extremely considerate of our desire to keep toys simple, battery-free, and at a comfortable level for our small-ish house.
And yet I still found myself feeling irritated and overwhelmed in the days after Christmas as we all recovered from various illnesses, and spent lots of time at home together (during multiple snowstorms) stepping over – and on – various little pieces and parts.
And I went through waves of feeling guilty for having annoyed feelings when we are so blessed with abundance.
But the truth, for me, and I believe many others, is that I am affected physically, energetically, and emotionally by the “stuff” around me. And when my space is cluttered, I feel uncomfortable, and irritable, and just generally unsettled.
So it is a huge feeling of relief for me when the Christmas items get tucked back into their plastic storage tubs, the tree is moved out onto the deck (where we can still enjoy its lights), and the presents are happily sorted and tucked into new homes.
This year, Lily, who is four-and-a-half, received quite a few presents with lots-o-little-pieces, which are just perfect for her developmental level and interests, but very challenging to manage — especially in a house shared with a two-and-a-half-year old.
We needed to figure out a way for her to store and enjoy her multi-piece treasures without her little brother making off with important pieces (like the teeny, tiny bone she joyfully feeds to her dogs from this Playmobil set).
And so I decided to expand on the theme of our Rainy Day Closet, and create a special collection of everyday toys, games and puzzles that are enjoyed consciously, gently and one-at-a-time.
Our one-at-a-time shelf is tucked out of our main living space, at the end of a short hall that leads to our basement (which is slowly but steadily being de-cluttered and organized to create additional living space).
Both of the kids understand the one-at-a-time-shelf rules, and Lily loves to proudly explain them to any guests who visit.
And I love how our one-at-time shelf helps us to keep special toys, puzzles and games accessible and in usable condition so we can really appreciate and enjoy them!