Living with less….with kids.
A misnomer? An ironic suggestion? An impossibility?
We live in an era of abundance.
Just for a second stop and appreciate that.
Not only are our key needs met for shelter, sustenance and security but we have surplus.
We have coffee machines that give cafe quality flat whites at home. We have fridges full of wines from the best wine regions in the world. We can put in our mouths any type of food we desire. Our homes can be designed “resort style” to get that holiday feeling everyday.
And we have stuff – crockery, linen, cushions, decorative items, clothes, shoes, bags, tables, couches, lamps….etc.
Everyday we get to choose how our world looks, how we present ourselves and where we go. We advertise our status to the world through cars, suburbs, schools and exotic holidays.
But are we happy?
Or is the stuff we possess…possessing us?
Do you feel owned by the job you HAVE to do, the bills you HAVE to pay, the bigger house you HAVE to have to house all your stuff?
I have been decluttering for a year. Seeing if I can live without this, live without that. I haven’t missed a thing. I’ve stopped buying as much….no more kitchen gadgets, crockery, multiples of linen or excessive shoe purchases.
Reducing my spending was not the goal and to be honest I don’t think I have. Spending money instead on e-books, meditation courses, organic food and juice cleanses – things that are slowly filling up my soul.
I’m still trying to convince myself that I don’t need three full 8- 14 piece crockery sets. I am sure that my shoe wardrobe can be pruned, the kids toys culled again and the linen cupboards still emptier, but I am exhilarated.
Because owning less means less cleaning, less organising, less thinking about storage options and an ability to move to a SMALLER house.
I open cupboards and see space and I want to do more. I want to hold onto that feeling of less.
You know what that feeling of less feels like?
So where do we start?
- The first stage is a general elimination.
I went through toy boxes, kids clothes, my clothes, the linen cupboard and the bathroom cupboards.
It’s a process and just grab the excess from those areas as a start. Then in a week or two go back and do it again and then again.
You start to ask yourself questions – how many spare pillows do I actually need? How many sets of linen per bed? How many tea towels and which ones do I actually like to use? Which pots and pans do I use? How many mugs do I need (especially as I have my “good set” for when friends come over)? Even if I like this top – does it actually look good on me? Do I feel good in it? Is it easy to wear? – and the pruning continues.
- The second stage is sentimental stuff.
Collect moments not things.
I took photos of my childhood teddies and tossed them. I threw out ticket stubs, memorabilia, old drivers licences and gym membership cards.
I took a deep breath and got rid of things people had bought me – forcing myself to think that these were gifted to me to enjoy, not to burden me. I did enjoy them I just don’t need to enjoy them forever.
- The third stage is to stop purchasing things you don’t need.
This could be the hardest bit of all, especially if you are in a cycle of believing you need a lot of things to get by.
The best advice I can give is buy only what you love. Spend more on that item but buy quality not quantity.
I used to get so excited about a top I would buy one in every colour. Too soon I was totally sick of that look and pretty much wasted my money on the extra ones.
I also would rarely buy just one thing in a store, i figured if I was getting one thing, I might as well grab the others, especially if it was a bargain. I soon found out that most of the time things are on sale for a reason.
I also stopped buying from shops that kept disappointing me. Chain stores where the item would still cost a good amount but would last a couple of washes before falling apart.
So there you have it.
What do you think?