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The Benefit of Less Stuff

September 4th, 2016 at 05:58 pm

Saw a really great article about minimalism.

https://thebalancedlifeonline.com/how-getting-rid-of-my-stuf...

"I was that student in school who stays up all night studying and gets a C. That’s how I felt about my life. I was trying so hard! I felt little satisfaction, little joy, and every day was a battle for my time that I didn’t want to wake up for.

I asked other moms, friends, and people I respected if this was normal, how they managed their homes and kids, and if they felt like they enjoyed it. What I was met with was a resounding “oh yeah, I remember those days! That’s motherhood. It’ll be okay and you’ll get through it.”

"After another particularly difficult day, I reflected on how I’d yelled, how I’d been the mom I never wanted to be, and how I was counting how many hours I had of peace and quiet before morning came and I had to start over."

"In that moment, I had had enough. I decided I wasn’t going to let this be my life, and this overwhelm and depression wasn’t going to rule me any longer."

"I went into the playroom – the room that was the bane of my existence. This was a room full of colorful bins, each bin full of toys. There were toys on the floor, in chests, in boxes, toys everywhere. I would send my kids in here to play and they would come out less than ten minutes later complaining of boredom. This room was pointless, and I’d had enough.

I started working through the room, making piles – keep, trash, donate. I got rid of every single toy that I felt wasn’t benefitting my kids. If it didn’t cause them to engage in constructive or imaginary play, it wasn’t staying in this house because it wasn’t worth the work it caused me. If I was going to clean up it was going to be the things that added to our lives; it was going to be only the things we needed and the things we truly loved.

When I was finished, all that remained were trains and tracks, a couple of dress up costumes, books, and blocks. The trunk of my car was overstuffed with toys to take to Goodwill, my playroom was purged, and I immediately felt lighter.

The next day my kids ran downstairs for breakfast, and as usual, I sent them into their playroom to play, curious to see if meltdowns would ensue because of what I’d done with their toys. They walked in, looked around, said something along the lines of “Hey! It’s nice and clean, Mommy! Hey! There’s my trains!” and happily started playing.

I was shocked. I stepped out of the room, poured myself a cup of coffee, and sat on the couch. To my surprise, my kids played in that room that day for three hours. Three hours! It wasn’t just that day either. They continued to want to be in their playroom for long amounts of time from then on. They started going outside more often, making up stories and scenarios together, playing tag, and creating art. It was as if I had unclogged their God-given gift of imagination when I got rid of their toys. "


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I'm personally in a space where I just don't understand the average American existence. I remember being surprised by how other people's houses always looked like toy stores erupted in their homes. (I mean, to the point of ridiculous). I'd strive for the complete opposite.

I still remember a childless friend complimenting us once on not having piles of toys in our main living area. That our house hadn't been over-run by children.

I think there are several factors. Our parents didn't love us with "toys" and "stuff". With space at a huge premium (growing up in San Francisco), it would never occur to me to have a whole room dedicated to toys. !!

It was never any conscious decision to have less stuff in order to make life easier. It was more just that we didn't understand all the stuff.

But I keep coming across blogs and articles that articulate some of our experiences. I suppose it's possible that our kids were less bored and more creative because we weren't drowning them in toys.

I thought this tied in well with the article I posted in my last blog post.

& read the entire article if you can. It was really interesting.

6 Responses to “The Benefit of Less Stuff”

  1. ceejay74 Says:

    Interesting! All the kids' toys are in their rooms except puzzles and crafts. Those are better played with in the main living area where we can control the mess of them. They're socked away out of sight, as is the kid-sized card table and folding chairs.

    I did hear from our friends in England that their sister's main living area has a sort of heap of toys in one corner that seems to get ever larger. Of course they probably don't have the option of storing toys in their tiny bedrooms in England--but even more reason not to have a ton like that!

  2. creditcardfree Says:

    That was a good read wasn't it? Our girls had toys, but it never felt out of control honestly. They had a lot of play time outside, making up games and play with neighbor kids in our basement. And I've never liked clutter, so once the toys were not played with for a period of time they would go.

  3. scottish girl Says:

    Interesting article. We don't have a playroom so the kids toys are in their room. I've gotten into the habit of swapping their toys over from their tub to the ones that are out. It's making it easier to get rid of toys they aren't playing with anymore.

  4. VS_ozgirl Says:

    When it all comes down to it we all need far less than what we think we do. Blame consumerism! Less is more though I think. And really I'm more of an experiences person. Would rather go on a holiday any day than buy more stuff to create more clutter.

  5. ThriftoRama Says:

    We have a 'toy'' room. Our boys share a room now, but when they get older, they'll get their own, so in the meantime, his is the kid room. Mostly, it's a excuse to corral all the legos into one room so I'm not stepping on them all the time.

    I think the toy issue depends a lot on if the kids are home all day when they are young or if they are in daycare all day. Mine were home all day, and I was desperate to entertain them just to get a free minute to work, or veg out, or cook dinner, so in the toys came.

    (Most used, but still...)

  6. Jenn Says:

    I can so relate to this - a great article. I remember when our twins were toddlers having the realization that I wouldn't have to pick up 100 toys every day if we didn't own 100 toys. I wouldn't have to wash, fold, iron, & store 100 pieces of clothing if I didn't own that much. I wouldn't have to pack away summer clothes and pull out the winter ones unless I insisted on having too many clothes for my closet. And that aside from keeping clothes & dishes caught up, cleaning every day instead of every week or two wasn't a good use of my time.

    I started moving things out as they came in. Now I have a standard trip to Goodwill every 2 weeks and a bag in the laundry room to capture our excess for the next Goodwill trip.

    I recently read The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up and I'm being challenged even more.

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