Friday, June 8, 2007

The More You Own, The More You are Owned

As I said in my former post, I'm trying to make the most of my time of preparation before Benjamin comes home. I have a huge list of "to-do's" before he gets here. Practical things like: Clean out the playroom so it can become his bedroom. It is such an overwhelming mess in there, it might take me six months before it's ready for him. : )

When we were on vacation, my husband and I talked a lot about how we were living in a much smaller house for the week, but it felt perfectly comfortable, even after our friends, a family of five joined us. While we were there, we had just enough clothes for the week, only the bare minimum dishes that were provided in the condo, and the kids had only three toys each to entertain themselves with. It was a simpler life, and I loved it. I did small loads of laundry and dishes as needed, and we had all we needed, and I had a lot less work to do. It was peaceful and relaxing and the house mysteriously stayed so clean and organized because of the lack of stuff.

I've heard an old Japanese proverb that says, "The more you own, the more you are owned." I think that is so true and after our week of the simple life, I was inspired to come home and simplify. It was depressing to come home to the playroom, where I have to wade through a sea of toys and can't even see the floor. I know my kids are overwhelmed by the amount of "stuff" that they have, but we are all sentimentally attached to the toys because they were given to us by generous friends and family members. How do we simplify? What goes? What stays? I know that Benjamin would be completely overstimulated and overwhelmed by the amount of toys we have currently, so it is a project that I am determined to take on, and I think that we will all feel the weight come off as we de-clutter. We have been pretty good about keeping the rest of our home simple and de-cluttered, but toys and kids clothes are the next step. I spend so much time doing laundry and cleaning house because of those two things. I'm going to simplify, simplify, simplify because I want that peaceful life back that I had on vacation and I don't want to be owned by our stuff anymore. : )


Patty said...

Becky, I am impressed by your conviction. I, too, am hampered by the "we can't give that away, because (insert name here) gave it to us. You have inspired me to begin the de-cluttering we so desperately need.

Rae said...

I'm with you. And, I agree with Patty there that it's really hard to divest ourselves of things people have given, especially for Sam. What's your strategy to get others on the bandwagon with you and understand your desire for simplicity? One thing I've begun is to ask for "experiences" from the family for Sam's occassions--things like a zoo or Discovery Center pass or gymnastics or swim classes. Things that would be fun for Sam and we can tell him, "We get to go to the zoo today because Papa and GG were so thoughtful that they gave us a zoo pass!" Or whatever. What other strategies might you employ that honor the generosity of our friends and family but allow us to maintain a simpler life?

Jocelyn said...


I love to read your posts...I have been thinking a lot about these very subjects. I'm doing my best to be able to de-clutter my life before Isaac comes home.

Thanks for your thoughts.


Brandi said...

Becky, it seems we're all with you! We go through the playroom a couple times a year and get rid of anything that doesn't fit in the bins provided. We either give it to a charity for kids or to a single mom who sells it at her garage sale. There are even consignment stores that will buy it from you. (check they're great).

I do feel your pain too. . .it's Brayden's birthday in a couple of weeks and I DON"T WANT ANY MORE STUFF!! So, we do what Rae suggested and ask for passes to places.

Rachel said...

im with you sister!! i am sometimes overwhelmed as i try to clean one place and my three littlest ones are making a huge mess somewhere else!! i will join the mantra...simplify, simplify, simplify!!!!!
rachel h.
p.s. your little benjamin is so cute!!

Dono & Laurie said...

I loooove when God's tells us to simplify!!!! Every time we have followed his call "into that" we have been so blessed! Just wanted to let you know that we were concerned that we didn't have enough "toys" for Kojo before he came home.(Our youngest is 11, before he came home). So we did get some toys but not many, before he came home. It's funny because even though we continue to accumulate toys, his favorite thing to do is roll an old bike tire thru the back yard while chasing it and making it go with a stick. The only thing he plays with everyday is his Bike.
it always feels so good to strip things back and give away...get rid of the "extras" in our life.
I love the idea (RAE) of asking for experiences! I so will start to do this!!!