Save. Spend. Splurge.

The minimalist baby and toddler toy box: How I keep my home clutter free

It is extremely easy to get caught up in buying your baby and later, toddler, all of these things because you want them to learn and be curious about the world. It is much harder to actually stick to it. I think we’re pretty minimalist in terms of our baby/toddler clutter and thus far, this is what Baby Bun owns to play with:

HOMEMADE TOYS (easily recycled in a bin when ruined)

  • Cardboard house made out of cardboard
  • Flash cards for letters and numbers
  • Baby socks that no longer fit his feet (he wears them on his hands as mittens)
  • Cardboard boxes (jewellery boxes, old tupperware boxes, packaging, anything he can use as a container)
  • 1 metal box (came free with a watch)



  • Map for the wall (I loved this stuff as a kid)
  • Box of crayons
  • Mini play kitchen
  • Mini pots & pans
  • Mini plates & cutlery
  • Mini sliceable fruits & vegetables
  • 3 toy trucks (one is a secret one I keep hidden in my purse ONLY to pull out in desperation when he is being grumpy)
  • 12 board books – planning on keeping only 5 after he outgrows them, such as the Goodnight Moon classic
  • Bouncy rubber animal to ride

HOUSEHOLD GADGETS (easily repurposed)

  • [Old] iPad & iPod – No wifi connection, only games that teach language on them
  • 4 wool dryer balls – I use them in the dryer but he likes to kick them around


CLOTHES (for going out)

We of course run out of clothes once in a while if I don’t do laundry on the regular or if he gets them dirty all the time, but I just do a load and he has clothes for the week again (or longer).

  • 2 pairs of shorts
  • 2 short t-shirts
  • 3 long-sleeved shirts
  • 4 pairs of pants
  • 2 sweaters
  • 1 jacket
  • 1 pair of shoes – he has outgrown 2 of them so far, this is the third pair
  • 1 pair of boots – unused thus far and seems like a waste of money

CLOTHES (for the home)

  • 6 t-shirts
  • 3 pairs of long pants
  • 1 pair of shorts
  • 3 onesies (he still fits into them and wants to wear them because he’s a baby)
  • 1 pair of footed leggings

That is all we own, and I think it is a lot because I always have to walk around picking all of this stuff up and off and floor… but then I go over to other kids’ houses for a visit or playdate, and I realize just how minimalist we are.

They have closets FULL of clothes and toys, their closets are stuffed full with lots of clothing and they have multiple pairs of shoes that have to constantly be replaced each time their feet grow.


It is kind of surprising to me how much they have, and even if it was bought cheaply for a buck or two, it is visually arresting for me. I walk in to a landmine full of plastic toys.

Even Baby Bun is overwhelmed.

He only picks out ONE toy and plays with it until he is comfortable enough to play with another.

My whole mission is not to be some crazy minimalist parent who won’t buy their kids ANYTHING or give them anything just to keep a house clean, but to make sure he has toys he actually enjoys and plays with.


  • Miemo

    Love this post! I had to downsize my things to make room for my little one, but good to be reminded that she really doesn’t NEED a lot of things. And kids prefer to play with boxes rather than the toys that actually come in them anyway!

  • Mrs. BITA

    Nice job keeping to such a small list. Our list of things that we have bought Toddler BITA is small, but as others have already mentioned in the comments, we have received a metric ass tonne of clothes and toys from relatives and friends. Toddler BITA has far fewer toys than most of her peers and her cousins, but she still has very many more than I would like. So far my concern for her having too many toys seems unwarranted. She chooses what to play with and for the most part she chooses stones. She brings them in from the garden, cooks with them, feeds them to her stuffed toys, pretends that they are animals and plays meta games where the stones that are animals are fed with stones that are food.

  • Cassie

    So far I’ve purchased a rattle, three board books, two jingle stuffies for his stroller, and a jolly jumper. Everything else we have was gifted to us. He’s 5 months old and I’m already starting to get overwhelmed by it. One set of inlaws seems to get a kick out of the idea of completely overwhelming me with a house full of toys, and yet they’ll make comments when they come over if I haven’t swept the floor or gotten to the dishes on the counter. WTF? I’m kind of terrified of Christmas this year.

    • save. spend. splurge.

      I’ve taken a firm stance with my family and said: NO TOYS.

      Yet, they still bring things, I give them the eye and they sigh.

      The thing is that I don’t want any of what they’re bringing. I didn’t ask for it, it is not useful, Baby Bun doesn’t even like it!

      I just feel bad that they’re wasting their money.

  • Julie

    Wow blows my mind how you can get by with minimalism for a toddler!
    I guess we have far too many toys and clothes and I just keeping buying.
    What kind of games/apps do you use to teach language? Other educational apps you recommend? My toddler has free range to wifi and browses youtube and chooses his own shows. He won’t let me pick any shows for him.

    • Alexis

      I recommend Tumblebooks, a free-with-your-library-card app that reads books to kids and is interactive. It’s visually appealing like a video, but highly educational.

      You might also enjoy Hoopla, which is free with many library cards and is like Netflix but free. I like that you can put the settings to only show kids materials.

    • save. spend. splurge.

      I do not have wifi on the iPad. I know it is a slippery slope to YouTube once it happens….

      I honestly just googled “French language kids” and that’s how I got all the apps. I bought the ones I thought looked OK. You can download them and see how they are, and then decide to buy the full app or not, which is what I did.

      Some are a hit with him, others are kind of meh.. he forgets about them. He likes the ones where things move when you touch them, like when she says: “Danser!” and she dances.

  • Elisa

    Omg, yes! We have an 8 months old and I’m already feeling overwhelmed by his toys and clothes eventhough we only have 6-7 same gifted toys we have since newborn (thanks goodness they were older babies’ toys)..

    Not sure if you did it before but we are still using his 3-6 months onesies as T-shirts since it fits loosely (just won’t snap close anymore since he grows taller) but easily covering his jeans/pants still. Btw, no winter jacket? How do you keep him warm in cold Montreal weather? Genuinely curious since we are debating whether to get him one on top of his regular hoodies jackets (Vancouver is pretty cold these days…).

    I’m taking notes of your clothes and toys inventory also for when is your son’s age 😉 If you can do update from time to time on this, that will be great as well =D

    • save. spend. splurge.

      Ah! Yes he wears his onesies but unbuttoned. Only to bed though.. We have home clothes and outside clothes.

      As for the jacket I forgot to mention that we have one snow suit and one regular jacket. It is huge on him so we roll the sleeves up, with gloves, and I gave him my hat and scarf.

      His “sweater” is a zip up hoodie but it is too thin for Montreal.

      Will modify my list.

      The clean up I also make him do with a lot of direction but it at least makes the place a little cleaner.

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