Have you wanted to give your children everything – and then wondered what to do with it all?
Have you sent them to their rooms to clean, and then thrown a fit as you yell and toss things into a garbage bag?
Do you wonder why their toys are constantly all over the house?
Do you blame your job, husband, homeschooling, after school sports, or your lazy kids?
I do, I have, I Do, and I used to.
14 years ago started the age of collecting for us. Baby books. Baby bouncers. Clothes. Plastic toys. Swing sets. Jungle Gyms. Playschool. Duplos. Toy Story Figures. I think our after work hobby for the first 9 months while pregnant was to wander the baby isles and grab one or 5 of everything that “They” said we Needed. My mom would shake her head in wonder of “what all it took nowadays” to raise a child.
We lived in a cute double wide trailer that my parents gave us on an acre of beautiful property. It was a two bedroom. We used one as a nursery, one as our room. By the time Nathan arrived in person, he was already fighting a loosing battle on his room, and he couldn’t even hold one of the 20 teething rings in his basket.
This continued on – for 3 years. Every trip to Walmart or Fred Meyers resulted in One More Thing. It’s on sale! I’ve always wanted one! It’s so cute! Then, brother came along.
And it doubled.
Jon was just turned 1 and Nate was 4 when I learned a hard reality. None of the excuses above were true. Because none of them started with ME. Angie. I did this. I bought it. I stored it. I saved it. I cherished it. I held onto it as if childhood would be forgotten if I tossed one hot wheels car to the thrift store.
We started attending a home group with a family. Each week, their house was clean. To the corners. There were three sisters, living in the same area, and we would travel from house to house each week. Each visit, even spontaneous – resulted in a very orderly home. They had several children between them, and they were always together.
So – one week I had to ask. HOW DO YOU DO THIS? Do what? Keep your house clean with all of your other responsibilities? – Her answer was simple, sincere, and never forgotten.
I don’t have Stuff. If you don’t have stuff, you don’t have to put it away. I have what I need for the day. She walked me through her home, her kitchen and bathrooms and garage. Explaining how each area had “needs”, and how to store those simple items. They didn’t casually wander the Mart stores to see what they would need, they knew what life required. – She also saw cleaning as her main responsibility, not the Chore in between other daily events.
I can’t tell you how puzzled I was, as a young mom, to sort this out. Wanting everything for my two young boys, overwhelmed with sorting toys and cleaning all the live long day.
It wasn’t until the boys were 4 and 7 that we were able to put it into practice. We were given 14 days to move across state for hubby’s job. It took days to clean out the workshop that had turned into a storage shed. I bought the boys 4-5 attractive tubs, and told them to pack what they wanted to keep, and we dumped the rest at the garage sale and good will.
It was the start – of what is now – a life of simplicity.
I’d like to share – in the coming weeks, what these three gals taught me, a few of the every day tips that has kept us clutter free.
Thanks for reading . . . . .
This post was submitted to The Christian Home, Issue 16