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Until March 2020, life was moving along at a quick pace for Rachael Classi. Like many of us, that was all she knew. As a working mom of two young daughters, her daily schedule was filled to the brim. And, then, everything changed.

When the pandemic began, Classi stepped back from her high-pressure job at a start-up company. "At that time home, it, it was like I could see my family and my home with fresh eyes again," Classi says. "What I saw alarmed me. There were things happening that I think in the busy-ness of our day-to-day life, we'd let slip that weren't us."

One glaring problem? The "mountain of plastic toys that were missing parts or broken." Classi became determined to find a toy minimalism solution that would offer her daughters true enrichment through their play experience. This seed of an idea grew into Tiny Earth Toys, a circular subscription toy kit, that helps children develop through age-appropriate, educational toys.

On the latest episode of The Motherly Podcast, Classi talks to Motherly co-founder Liz Tenety about why she started her company, how losing her mother at a young age influenced her approach to parenting what tips she has for parents who want to declutter for the sake of the earth—and their own sanity.

After hitting a breaking point with their toy situation, Classi started a neighborhood toy exchange so that family's could freshen up their play-time options without adding to clutter to the home or creating waste. The concept was such a hit that, within months, Classi launched Tiny Earth Toys.

[Psst! Save $25 while trying out your first month of Tiny Earth Toys with the code MOTHERLY.]

"We are on a mission to reduce plastic waste, but more importantly, build a society of environmental stewards," Classi says. "We think we can include our kids in this environmental journey that we're all on. So, how we do that is by promoting reuse, and particularly with children's toys, which are their first, most loved objects."

Tiny Earth has also helped Classi get back in touch with her childhood—and revisit what she valued most during that time while growing up in the Pacific Northwest. After losing her mom at the age of 8, she moved in with an aunt and uncle on a piece of land surrounded by untouched nature.

"I think that's shaped the passion that I have for building this," she says. "Now, it makes me feel even more convinced that we have to do anything we can to preserve that space for our kids and our communities."

That's why Tiny Earth's toys must met a few criteria: They must be plastic-free, open-ended and educator-backed. The other core concept is rotating toys—which can take some work for kids.

"Now, I feel like there's a lot of excitement that they get around, 'Hey, you know what? We keep 10 to 12 toys in this one room.' And after a couple of weeks, when they've gotten stale, they get excited about putting them away. Putting them in a basket, bringing them up to the closet and then picking out some other toys to come back down into the rotation and in doing so, I think they're keeping their spaces cleaner."

Inspired by her daughters (and Tiny Earth kids everywhere), Classi has also become more intentional about the products in her life. She suggests starting a decluttering project by tackling one space at a time, such as a drawer in the bathroom.

"You start by removing the things [that] are no longer being used or no longer serving you in any way," she says. "Then it's the hard work day-to-day of not buying more things to fill it."

That's just the start of Classi's actionable tips and inspiring advice. For more, listen to her full episode in The Motherly Podcast. Then, don't forget to use the code MOTHERLY to save $25 on your first month of a Tiny Earth Toys rental.