Hello, friends! I wanted to chat a little about what seems to be the hot topic as of lately- minimalism. There are a lot of things that come with this whole motherhood gig… love, laughter and STUFF. So much stuff.
I remember unloading our vehicle after my baby shower with my son and looking around like…. whoa. Where are we going to put all of this?! Fast forward 2.5 years and another baby and it’s safe to say we have acquired a lot of things. I have been really into decluttering/minimalism lately. Yes, I did watch the “Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” docu-series and yes, I did purge a LOT of things from my closet. Ever since, I have been making an effort to go through the different areas of the house and organize them/get rid of unnecessary items. If you’ve ever embarked on a similar journey, you will probably agree that this entire concept is a lot easier with your own things than it is with your kids stuff. My son has every Paw Patrol character x 2, matchbox cars galore, play-doh, puzzles, books, 3 ball pits, a play tent and enough duplo blocks to build his own city. Not to mention all of the toys that come with 1,000 pieces that get lost after the first time he plays with them. All of this to say, he is very loved and gets very spoiled for his birthday and holidays- and then this mama gets very overwhelmed. I will be honest, there are still toys in closets and under beds that haven’t been opened because 1) there isn’t enough space 2) they aren’t quite age appropriate yet or 3) I just know he won’t play with them right now. The thing is, our kids do NOT need a million toys! In fact, they play better and more creatively with less. My son will play for hours making up scenarios with his “guys” and cars, but is only interested with an electronic toy for a few minutes. If the weather is nice, his dump truck is all he needs! He will run through the yard, collecting sticks and rocks and have the best time of his little life.
TOY TIP: Rotate your kids toys. Once a month or so, go through the toy box/bin/whatever and swap out the toys. Less stuff that is accessible to them= an increased likelihood they PLAY with the toys vs. just throwing them around like a lunatic plus the added bonus that you have less stuff to pick up every day. It’s like shopping in your own house! I keep my sons ball pit put away, because I value my sanity, but I pull it out every so often and you would think it’s like Christmas morning. When I kept it out all the time, he just thew the balls e v e r y w h e r e.
The next area of “stuff” I struggle with is clothing; specifically, holiday themed clothing. I am all for a photoshoot with my daughter (she’s 4 months old and the only one of the two who cooperates with pictures now) BUT I can’t bring myself to spend $16.99 on a “My First Valentine’s Day” ensemble from Target that she will only wear once. As I walked through Target just yesterday, I saw Valentine’s Day stuff working it’s way to clearance, just to make room for St. Patrick’s Day. It’s not even just the unnecessary expense of these outfits, though that is definitely a reason, but the total principle of consumerism surrounding it. Retailers and American culture have made us feel like we need more, more, more at every turn. Holiday coming up? You need a shirt (or 3!) for that. You surely can’t send your kid to his holiday party wearing the same themed shirt he already wore for another event CAN YOU? Don’t forget the holiday cup, plate, bowl, too. I hope you don’t plan on serving heart shaped pancakes on a regular plate, you monster.
Just kidding. My point, I promise I have one, is that it is easy to fall into the trap of always buying more and thinking it will lead you (or your kids) to happiness or fulfillment. I totally get that buying stuff for our kids is fun, trust me! I want to buy my kids everything under the sun and make themed food and serve it on themed plates, too. I just think that we can be more aware of the items we are bringing into our homes and by doing so, live more simply, spend less and waste less.
CLOTHING TIP: If you like to do themed clothing, skip the “my first…” or super apparent themed stuff and go for something that they can get more use out of it. For example, with my daughter, I picked up a few things with heart patterns or red/pink colors that she can wear for V-Day and still be festive and for my son, he can just wear a red Paw Patrol shirt he already has- or a plain colored t-shirt! This concept can be applied for most holidays! If you’re looking for dressier options for holiday events or pictures, you can check out stores like Marshall’s/TJ Maxx for less expensive options or kids resale events. Most of those were only worn once anyhow!
I love shopping as much as the next person and I am a work in progress over here, but some questions I ask myself before I buy something for myself, my home or my kids:
- Do I/we have something similar already?
- Is this a seasonal item, and if so, why do I want it?
- How much use will the item get? (You know where I stand on holiday t-shirts, but this also applies to toys and other items- for example, I had a son and then a daughter. I saved all of my son’s infant toys, which I will use for my daughter. Is it tempting to buy new stuff for her because it’s shiny and pink? Sure, but it’s also a waste of money and perfectly good items I already have.)
- Can I resell it when we are done with it? I participate in a semi-annual kids consignment sale where I can sell their seasonally appropriate clothing/shoes + toys, furniture and other baby items.
I hope this post finds you well and remember that this, like all of our posts, is just one perspective. You don’t have to agree with me or my ideals and I promise I’m not pressuring you to throw out all of your kids belongings… p.s. even after purging, I still own approximately 30 coffee mugs. We all have our things. 😉