The feedback about the Year of Simplicity is an inspiring one. It turns out that there are a lot of other crazy ass mommies and daddies besides myself and Erik ready for the simple life too. For those apprehensive about making the leap, just remember that this isn’t about deprivation it’s about all the excess that comes after our needs are met. It’s not about leaving ourselves yearning it’s about becoming more fulfilled through our relationships with others and our inner selves. Stuff is just stuff.
I figured dividing our action plan into a number of different posts would be best for me and for readers. After the final post of the action plan I’ll share some pictures to document the simple household that we are now striving for.
On today’s list: Purchases, Stuff and Toys.
Purchases: If we have all this crap how do we stop acquiring more of it? Simple … stop buying it. All the stuff we have is in great shape, there’s nothing we are in need of. We have clothes on our backs, a roof over our heads, food in our bellies and a loving household. There’s been so many times and things that while out and about we have mindlessly bought. A sale here, a deal here, a coupon redeemed or an opportunity to stockpile, it all adds up. Erik and I are guilty of just buying because of the money we believe we are saving. We are also guilty of purchasing toys and more stuff for our kids randomly and aimlessly. Eventually all this stuff becomes forgotten. Rather what isn’t forgotten are the experiences and bonding our family comes to encounter through interacting with one another and not through the stuff we acquire. Moving forward we are looking at each purchase in regards to how it will benefit our family or individually and not on how much money we’ll save by the deal we think we are getting.
Stuff: So much stuff.
I’ve made my way through every closet and room.
The laundry room is now a laundry room holding only cleaning products.
Counters have been wiped clean and decorative pieces minimized. Kitchen cabinets and drawers have been purged of any items that are no use to our family and donated to Goodwill. We were this couple that constantly bought all these gadgets to cook with. After taking a cooking class this summer we found the only items we really need are a pair of tongs, a peeler, a sharp knife and a good spatula. Goodbye to garlic smashers, veggie dicers and meat slicers. The insane amount of Tupperware, pots and pans we own is just that, insane. Also purged and donated. How many coffee mugs does a household need where only one of the five humans living within drinks coffee? According to our count, over 20. Needless to say some of these mugs will be finding a new home.
Linen closets full of sheets, towels and blankets. I figure we have three beds so we need one pair of sheets on each bed and one for changing purposes. Right now the twins are in cribs, I’m not sure what bed size they will have in the future, but more than likely it will be full size so I’ve kept the full sets and donated the rest. We have about two thousand bath towels and wash cloths, these too were purged and donated, I mean does one family really need 17 baby wash cloths??? I think not.
I took a look around the house, I mean I really TOOK IN the view. I took in every knickknack, picture frame, decoration and child craft made and decided what needed to go and what made sense to stay. What needed to go went and what made sense to stay was cleaned and placed in a thoughtful spot.
I’m not sure if I thought at some point I was going to be opening my own drugstore/beauty counter out of my home but the amount of makeup and beauty products I found stashed away in my bathroom was revolting. It was purged and thrown out. What was old, a bad color or poor quality was pitched. What was new and higher quality was kept and organized into drawers and containers. In the year 2015 I refuse to buy any product that I can just derive from coconut oil. If any of you need some tips on my favorite beauty go to here’s a link to an article that I had published on my beloved coconut oil. Medicines, vitamins and essential oils were also checked for dates and quality then purged and thrown out.
Toys: So far I’ve managed to sort through it ALL prior to Christmas donating a large amount to our church and boxing up the rest to be sold during the twins children consignment spring sale. I’ve also stored some away in order to change it up once in a while as the twins get older. I’ve organized it all into different sized containers and cubby holes.
We’ve also been working on the “put one toy away before dragging another out” with the kids to keep the chaos to a minimum. We have also decided to limit any toy purchases to holidays and birthdays to keep the number down and to make current and future toys “special.”
Many toys have also been replaced with a new focus on our craft cabinet filled with everything under the sun in order to execute an idea thought up by the small mind. The craft cabinet is made up of crayons, markers, paints, stickers, glue, glitter, play-doh, cookie cutters, paper, old cereal boxes and paper towel rolls, felt, scissors, coloring books, chalk, puffy paint, noodles, food coloring, pom poms, old fabric/shirts and pipe cleaner. Another toy replacement is the library corner where there are books of our own stored and where the kids keep the books they pick out on our weekly library trips. I still read books I can hold in my hands and I believe my kids should too. There’s nothing like having a little one sit in your lap as you read them a story and they turn the pages with their little fingers. It creates a bond and fattens the imagination.
After learning our lesson of 4 years of birthday parties we have come to the conclusion that birthday parties past the age of one can be budget and energy depleting. The sheer cost of finding a venue to facilitate the celebration and hold a number of little energy bursting bodies is a small fortune. Then there is all the toys and stuff your kids receive through the kind act of gift giving. We’ve decided that birthdays will be better spent experiencing things, like a day trip to the city with special visits to museums, favorite restaurants or exciting attractions. I’ve read over and over that from the time we are young we remember and benefit the most from the interactions and relationships we experience with others and not the toys that we receive. The money saved??? Throw it into a college fund, your little ones will be more grateful for that than the latest Paw Patrol toy.
That’s today’s simple learning lesson. Hopefully it sparked a fire under your ass to get moving in the direction of simple.
Look for future “2015 Year of Simplicity” posts relaying more of our action plan. Subjects will include Time, Technology, Clothes, Spending, Food and Self.