Tag Archives: Pareto principle

Minimalist Parenting: 3 Ways to Reduce Noise Toy Clutter

21 Jan
Chalkboard Laptop, Anthropologie, $40.

Chalkboard Laptop, Anthropologie, $40.

One of the biggest challenges as a parent is keeping the amount of noise toys (and toys in general) to a minimum. Of course it’s easier said than done. Toys are one of the best ways for children to learn, grow and develop their motor skills. Some amount of toys are necessary to keep young children occupied and engaged. However when you find that every room in the house is becoming a playroom and the noise toy engagement level becomes too much, you know it’s time to clear some of the clutter.

Here are three ways to simplify:

1. Streamline with the 80/20 Rule. Have you noticed your children play with 20% of their favorite toys about 80% of the time? I’m not sure if you’re familiar with the Pareto Principle where 80% outcome is caused by 20% effort. (In clothing terms we tend to use about 20% of our wardrobe 80% of the time.) The same could be applied to toys. Anything my son has outgrown or is no longer interested in I usually donate to charity or pass down to a younger kid who might appreciate it.

2. Rotate toy selection. With the streamlined toys you do have on hand try to change things up on a regular basis.  While I keep my son’s favorites out for him to play with, I also have containers of toys that I keep out of sight in storage. I rotate a small bin of toys (especially noisy ones)  in and out about every week. This keeps things fresh and makes it seem like he’s getting new toys.

3. Opt for simpler toys. This could include learning flash cards, blocks, puzzles, etc. After becoming a parent and receiving an onslaught of high-pitch sounding noise toys from well-meaning relatives, I was pleasantly surprised to come across this old school chalkboard laptop from Anthropologie. What’s nice is that it allows for kids to be creative and work on motor skills without all the over-stimulation from noise toys. It’s also portable enough to take on trips and keep a child occupied.


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How to buy just the things on your shopping list

15 Aug

Lately I’ve not only tried using the 80/20 Rule for paring down the clothing clutter in my wardrobe via Glam Save Style Challenge but also in other areas of my life, including errand shopping. Whether it’s the grocery, farmer’s market, Target or Walmart, I often find myself distracted by attractive aisle displays, sale items or food or products I think I might need later and not what’s actually written on the shopping list on my iPhone Notes app.

Well, today actually felt like a mini-victory as I was able to get just the four things on my list and that’s it! That almost never happens as I always find excuses to put other things in my cart.

What helped were three things.

1. I made it a point to pay cash for this purchase. If I paid credit, I knew I’d be tempted to put more things in my cart.

2. When tempted to put a non-list item in the shopping cart (like a magazine or candy at checkout), I asked myself the following questions:

  • Do I need this item?
  • Will I use this purchase at least 80% of the time?
  • Will this help me on my way to a simpler, minimalist lifestyle?
  • Will this actually help or just add to the clutter?

3. Fortunately Walmart’s setup is more utilitarian than Target’s cool designed layout. Had I been at Target where they have more attractive stuff to put in your cart, I probably would have had to take out the non-list items out of the pushcart once at check out.