7.21.2011

Living Simply


photo courtesy of Horia Varlan

L
ately, I've been dwelling a lot on the concept of living simply. I read stories like
this of people who limit their possessions to 100 items or less, and I wonder if I'm capable of the same. I don't see any need to do something this extreme, but the principle of reducing, refusing, and rejiggering is appealing.

If you strolled through my home, you'd see a severe lack of toys. Despite the fact that I have two young girls, my house is not overrun with plastic or large toys. I prefer to buy things that stimulate the imagination and leave room for creativity rather than dead-end items that only have one purpose or character to each. Sure, my daughters love going to friends' homes and excitedly running/crawling from toy to toy trying new buttons that flash and make noise and rolling around new characters they don't see often in their own home. And I'm completely fine with that. It's new and exciting for them, and I love to see them experience new things.

Despite friends' toys' newness, I cannot think of a single item in the last three years that my daughter has chosen to cling to, cry for, or desperately want after we leave our friends' homes. In fact, most toys she plays with at others' homes only hold her attention for a few short moments before she's on to the next one. Playtime is generally a race to touch every new toy in the room before leaving.

We've all heard parents lament the high-ticket items they were so excited to buy for their children only to find that a bucket filled with water and other cups and bowls, or an empty box provided hours and hours of child-preferred entertainment. This only reinforces my desire to keep only meaningful toys in our home. Perhaps this will change as the girls get older, but my desire is that the principle will never leave them--money can't buy happiness; enjoy life in the now and the people who surround you.

All this to say, while I make it a regular routine to clear out our toy baskets and throw away unused toys or cheap kid's meal prizes, I see a great disconnect to extend that routine to every other area of my home. With our house for sale, we've filled a rather large storage unit with all of our "unnecessary" stuff to de-clutter our home for show. I can count on one hand, actually, one or two fingers, the number of times I've had to go back to the unit to get something out that I needed. Naturally, this makes me wonder why I needed all that stuff in the first place.

If our home does sell quicker than we find a new one, we've contemplated switching to an apartment temporarily. To be honest, this idea thrills me--a life of less. Less bills. Less cleaning. Less clutter. Less responsibility. It sounds divine, doesn't it? And since my daughters thrive both in the home and outside doing activities of all sorts, I have no doubt they'll conform well to a change toward simplicity.

What are your thoughts, dear readers? Are you appalled at my hypocrisy to simplify my daughters' lives and yet hoard useless items of my own? I'll be honest; I am appalled at myself. And I have every intention of having a huge moving sale once our house sells. Even though I had to put all my stuff in storage to realize how little it means to me, at least I've taken that step, and now I'm ready for the next. How about you?


3 comments:

kyna said...

started decluttering my home last week. :) 'Less is more' is my motto these days. Also awaiting the arrival of "it's all too much" by peter walsh.

cant lie...kinda excited to make some money on the excess in my home! :)

Joy said...

I couldn't agree more. Definitely excited to make some money on my excess too!

This Is Us said...

Ugh! Stuff! We are constantly battling stuff at our house. Our home is only 700 sq ft so we really have to get rid of things before we get something new. I make at least monthly trips to donation centers and I'm still frustrated. My biggest problem is gifts. I really have a hard time giving things away that were given to me or especially to the girls. Even if I never use them or hate the item, I feel guilty getting rid of it. Since M was born I've gotten better. I probably have biweekly meltdowns about the clutter in our home. My poor husband. Good luck on your quest to live simply!