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
I’m patiently(somewhat) waiting to read what you write next about this topic. I try to keep our belongings to just what we need but we still have stuff spread around the house most days. I’m sure it has something to do with having toddlers. My children are really bad about dropping tissues, papers and other trash on the floor instead of using the trash can.
I somehow learned this this year,, and have since been on a quest to remove stuff from our home. The biggest thing for us (a family of 5) was clothes. We had too many, so this Spring I told the boys they could have a certain number of pants/shorts, and shirts, and 1 pair of pjs. I do one small load of laundry a day. Laundry is always done!!
sweet blessings to you this fine Spring day!
This post sure brings back some great memories for me for when I was a young momma.
I did keep some of my kid’s favorites in stackable tubs. One granddaughter lives with me and at age 4 she plays with some of her momma’s childhood toys. Now that’s what I call recycling!
d from homehaven
Oh I can’t wait! I keep trying to get rid of the ‘stuff’ but it comes back (does it grow legs when I take it to the second hand store -and it knows its way home??). I’m a work in progress… perhaps someday … someday I’ll have it down 😉
Great post Angie!
As we are going through things to move, I can say that I agree with you totally. We have way too much STUFF. I am ready to simplify! So, I will be watching closely to your upcoming posts so I don’t get in this shape again.