In my journey to less stuff and less clutter in my house and in my head, I came to realize something: my living room is quite different than the living rooms of the people around us. So let me start by saying that housing here in Spain is a bit different than what I was used to. E.g. if you live in or close to a city, not many people live in a house house but the big majority lives in flats / apartments. Usually, this also means less rooms and therefore the typical “playroom” concept that in other countries is huge, here doesn´t exist so much simply because there might not be a room left.
So in our 3 bedroom apartment, most toys are actually in L´s bedroom. We have (or soon had, since we´re turning it into a nursery for baby #2) one extra room but used that one as a guest room and study, definitely not as a playroom. That doesn´t mean we only play in the bedroom, usually we play all over the house and take the toys with us (yep, that´s also what you have in an apartment and everything is on the same floor, having toys in the bedroom doesn´t mean we have to carry them all the way down if we want to play in the living room, it´s just crossing the hall) but at the end of the day, their place is in the bedroom. This worked out quite well so far, only there´s, of course, limited space in the bedroom as well and therefore not all toys might fit there. This made me realize that we´re actually one of the few people in our circle that don´t have a living room full of toys and looking around friends´houses I noticed a lot of living rooms are actually more like playrooms: overflooding with toys. In our living room, you will find hardly any toys: there´s a garage with some cars in a corner, one drawer in the closet with drawing / crafty stuff and some books under the table for bedtime reading. But it did make me wonder: should I get some grown-up stuff out so the play kitchen fits in the living room? E.g. the piano takes up a lot of space, the big table as well… should we use that space for toys as well?
And I don´t want to judge people for whom it does work to have their living room full of toys, but honestly, I just know this won´t work for me. When a chaotic day is over and the bichin is finally asleep, I need some peace & quiet. Peace & quiet to crawl under a blanket on the couch, with candles, tea, chocolate and Netflix. Peace & quiet to work a bit without being distracted by #allthestuff. Peace & quiet to disconnect for a couple of hours from crazy mom life before going to bed. Peace & quiet to enjoy some time between our stuff and not cramming myself between baskets of toys and tiptoeing between the lego bricks to reach that couch. The living room might sometimes be a war zone during the day, but after bedtime, it´s my zone and I would like to keep it that way. So yep, we might have less space for all the toys but this means we have to be more selective and purge more (something I am all up for, I have noticed already that the fewer toys the bichin has around him, the more he plays with them without being distracted with the other 600 things around him). And yep, the piano might take up a lot of (useless? since we don´t really use it) space but it has a lot of sentimental value for me so it´s going to stay right where it is. And yep, before bedtime, we might have to carry some baskets with train tracks or bricks back to L´s bedroom to put it back in its place. But frankly, the fact that after bedtime my living room is quite clutter-free, helps my head relax and disconnect more and is, therefore, all worth it.
So for now, no matter how small a flat might be, my living room stays an almost toy-free-zone after play hours to help this mama keep her sanity.