Purging-- Possessions

Part of our family's motto is "valuing simplicity and togetherness". I am not a stuff person, so when I married David I was shocked when it came to the amount of stuff he had. [Aside: Growing up we purged our rooms yearly discarding anything we weren't using or had a ready need for.] It's taken six years, but David and I are finally able to clearly (most of the time) communicate about how to handle our mutual possessions. Then we had Tabitha...

I'm just going to say it-- It's hard to live simply with kids! Everywhere you turn someone is telling you or enticing you that in order for your child to be "well-rounded" "normal" "at age level" they will need a plethora of STUFF. We were very meticulous about the types of baby items we purchased or requested and did our best to pick things that would grow with her. I would say that we did fairly well our first time around.

Now we are entering the toddler stage and the toy temptation is growing. Except not for Tabitha. She is content with paper towel tubes, magnets, discarded envelopes from the mail, and her birthday cards (yes, she is still "reading" them). As our daughter is teaching us, simplicity can lead to contentment.

To put our family motto into practice within our home, I have been taking approximately 15 minutes a day to purge. I make three piles: Give Away, Throw Out, Keep. I only tackle small areas like a desk or a closet that I know I can complete in 15 minutes. This keeps me focused, and doesn't allow me to second guess my gut reaction. Many organizing guru's will tell you to save your "give aways" for a yard sale. Personally, I don't have enough gumption to arrange a yard sale and with the amount of stuff that monthly gets put into our Give Away box, I'd be able to open a shop! So, I instead call The Purple Heart to come by my house and pick up the bags. For tax purposes I keep a running list of what I've given away, but thanks to their handy service, I never have to haul stuff further than my curb. So far, I've de-cluttered and purged the living room, Tabitha's room, and parts of the master bedroom and kitchen.

Why go to all the bother? For me it's simple, I feel better, think clearer, and have more time the less stuff is in my home. With fewer things, I have less to pick-up, less to maintain, and less to clean. This means that in a morning, I can clean my entire home, and have a guilt free afternoon lavishing attention on my daughter. It means that the money I would have spent on purchasing batteries for toys can be set aside to go on a fun family outing. It means the energy I didn't exert on  dusting 1000 nick-knacks can be used to make a meal for a family in need.

Purging doesn't just involve objects. Tomorrow I'll share how we've purged and set boundaries for our schedule and calendar.

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