Clutterfree with Kids

I am slightly obsessed with Joshua Becker at the moment. He is the writer and founder of the site Becoming Minimalist. I find his articles relevant and they seem to speak to me on a level that is encouraging and makes the thought of living a life with less stuff pleasurable.

The more clutter I rid myself of the easier my life is getting. I open cupboards and there is space. I don’t lose as many things. I thought I needed multiple of things because I could never find anything but the opposite was true. I could never find anything because I had too many things in general and the things I needed got hidden behind the clutter.

I’m finding that my desire to buy things is not my own decision, it is a decision that advertisers have made for me. The less I read magazines, walk around the shops or check out online sales….the less I want.

Being free of that wanting is bringing me true happiness. My mind is no longer ticking over how to get it, when to buy it, how to find the money I need. My wardrobe suddenly seems full of good options and the more I get rid of the more workable my wardrobe seems. My kitchen is humming from the space and I am getting things done faster. My linen cupboards are no longer overflowing and messy but pared down to essentials and neat….I can find the pillowcases when I need them now.

Freeing myself of comparison to others and freeing myself of caring what others think (this has been a huge process) has allowed me to be more at ease with myself and as I follow my own path I feel more interested in life and more interesting when in company. 

During our lives the need to fit in puts us onto the mainstream path – watch the news, watch this show, wear this kind of outfit, be this kind of successful, have this many children at this age….

We find ourselves concentrating so hard to be who we are not that it takes away our uniqueness….and therefore our interest to other people. By making ourselves the same we fit in but we can never stand out.

So by reading his site I found myself being advertised to…..and he won. I bought his book, Clutterfree with kids. I just found myself wanting to keep reading his words and even after reading blog after blog I still wanted more.

We will always have desire and consumption, we are born consumers, we just have to be more discerning about whether the things we are buying align with our true values or not.

After reading this book I am thrilled with my decision to spend $4 🙂

It was advertised at $2.99 but that was american dollars. I bought it on Amazon and just used their kindle reading app on my ipad to view.

I read the 200 pages over a couple of days and found the writing as affirming and interesting as his blog.

You would probably want to read this book if: 

You have an overflowing toy room

You keep everything sentimental and can’t throw away gifts

You need advice on becoming a one income family 

You find packing with kids to travel anywhere a major hassle

You don’t know what to do with the mountain of artwork, school work and sentimental pieces your children bring home 

You can’t find anything in your house

You spend more time cleaning than playing with your kids

Your cupboards are full and the thought of a clean out fills you with dread

Some of the most important parts of this for me were:

  • The concept that keeping everything is the same as keeping nothing. “When everything is kept or everything is displayed nothing is allowed to take precedence, the less important always steals attention from the most important.”

Ask your kids which artwork, if they had to choose one or two, they would like to keep. Then display it proudly.

  • Capture It with Photos – Taking photos of your children holding their work/art will allow you to keep it forever. By having your child in the photo it also allows you a time record of when it was made.
  • Create a memorable souvenir – use the photos to put together a year book for the child. My sister in law actually did this for my son Julian – it is amazing
  • Give them time. Asking your child to get rid of items when they bring them home at the end of the year may be met with resistance – from you and them but halfway through a new term the importance will lessen and you could probably get rid of everything without them minding. Just think if your parents had kept every piece of art and every school book you ever written what a burden that would be to go through and then hard to get rid of. If they had only kept a few special pieces it would be a  joy to look at.
  • Creating an “outbox” where things are stored whilst deciding to get rid of them gives you space to let go. At the moment I have an “out home” as we purged a lot of our things to create a beautiful house to sell at home open. Our new house received all these items and they are stored there for now. By creating space from our possessions, i have discovered that not only do I not even remember what is there but I haven’t missed anything.

So ultimately I want my kids to

  • learn satisfaction outside of the toy store,
  • to be able to help me clean because it doesn’t take a mountain of work everytime,
  • to experience more of nature and friendships,
  • to learn that relationships matter more than things
  • that being an interesting person is more important than having interesting things.
  • to learn the joy in buying only what you really love and being free to do what their heart desires and not be tied to “have to’s and shoulds” in life.

Kids learn from their parents primarily and they learn more from watching and observing than listening to what you say. If this is what I want for them in life then I need to show them.

Minimalism for more out of life. 

3 Comments

  1. There is nothing better than de-cluttering. We moved at the beginning of this year and it was a great opportunity to get rid of all the “stuff” we have acquired over the years. I love nothing more than opening a cupboard or drawer to see it neatly organised and free of clutter. Simple things hey 😉 I must read this book now, thanks for sharing

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