Apr 29, 2017

On Worms & Minimalism

Check out sweet Rosie yesterday, playing with a worm she dug up in the garden. My kids are at their happiest when they are let loose in nature with nothing but a stick or their bare hands. Which got me thinking it might be worth sharing my minimalist dreams of late...

During the renovation, we've packed away all of our furniture and belongings into the guest room and garage. Even the attic is emptied out! And we've had to admit something to ourselves that we kind of knew all along: we are swimming in STUFF! Since moving in four years ago, amid the chaos (aka survival-mode) of parenting very young children, we managed to accumulate way more than we ever intended. We've been shoving things in attics and closets rather than taking time to decide if we actually want them anymore.

At the very beginning of our renovation, we found it simple to load up the car with donations and toss trash into the dumpster. We emptied out entire carloads worth of stuff and it felt great! Now things are slower. We're down to the nitty gritty - the toys and knick-knacks and books. The baby clothes and kids' art and school work (an entire chest of drawers worth of it). It may take us a while to methodically get through all of it, but I feel lighter with each pile that leaves the house.

When I started thinking through our goals, here's what I zeroed in on:

Less Consumerism
A part of our new thinking is to stop BUYING so many things. This is harder than I thought, because I've realized what a well-trained consumer I am of all the things I don't need. I try to stop and think about whether I really want to look at something at the bottom of the toy bin in a few weeks, or whether I'll wear a top more than once. Quality over quantity is the goal, with an eye on only buying things that will last a while.

Only Keep What Makes us Happy
Another goal? We don't want to move anything back into the house unless we truly LOVE it. If I'm honest with myself, all of my "projects" (broken or old dining chairs, things needing reupholstery or paint, artwork with broken frames) are not worth the money I'll save DIY-ing, if they cause me stress each time I look at them! We hope to do any refinishing, hire professional upholsterers, or just replace with new, BEFORE any of these things go back into our home. The money I might save by trying to repurpose decrepit furniture on my own is just not worth the mental cost right now. It's taken years to admit this to myself - I love projects, but at some point I want a completed house that I can look around without thinking, "oh, that will look so much better when I paint it...," or "if only I had time to finish sanding and staining that piece it would be perfect..."

Family Ideals
Part of this whole process is a real stripping down not only of our stuff, but also of what matters to us as a family. I don't want to spend all of our free time wading through toys and piles of clothes. I know that life with less will be easier and happier. Getting there is pretty hard, but we're working on it. Toys are a big challenge because the kids have acquired so many. Things that were gifted, in particular, cause guilt. Books are tough for me, probably because I value books and reading so much. However, I know we have way too many choices!

I just started the audio version of the book "Simplicity Parenting" (http://www.simplicityparenting.com/), and a big idea that resonated with me is that kids' quality of life improves when they have fewer toys. Too many choices, too much stuff, and too much busy-ness overwhelm them - and even cause anxiety. With a smaller selection, they will play longer and delve deeper, expanding their imaginations and creativity. This is a huge motivator! 

Another resource I've enjoyed, if you're interested, is http://www.becomingminimalist.com/. And Ben and I watched this Netflix documentary, which sort of jumpstarted this whole mission of ours. https://minimalismfilm.com/

No comments:

Post a Comment