So last summer I read this book. The title looked as if it were written to me ( I mean who doesn’t want less clutter, kids or no kids!), and I am not usually a self help book type gal, but I really couldn’t pass it up. I had recently started following some slow living and minimalist writers, and was fascinated by there ideas and lives.
I have always been a super picky person, trying to minimize what comes into my home, especially since having children. There really is no better place to notice how much stuff you have then children. It accumulates very quickly. (because holy shit, the amount of toys and clothes, and bouncy balls!) But in all seriousness, it was a major stress in my life. The endless piles of papers and books and toys. It was really overwhelming. So I started living more ecologically and environmentally friendly. Started preaching quality over quantity, and experiences over things. Life started to get a little easier, but I was still feeling overwhelmed. I had a particularly hard year after that, giving birth to a child with a congenital heart defect and the aftermath of that on my mental health made the need for control and order in my house hold much more important. Not to mention that it made my priorities seem skewed, material things were not something I was particularly attached to regardless, but they seemed of even less importance. I wanted to spend less time organizing crap we didn’t need or use, and spend more time with my kids.
Then I found this book. Clutter free with Kids- By Joshua Becker, and I found a name for the lifestyle I was attracted to, and what my aim had been. To own less stuff, schedule less, minimize the things that were not priority in my life. It was the first time I had read a book like this and just nodded the whole way through.
If this is a lifestyle you like the sounds of, I highly recommend this book, kids or not! It really helped me shape my goals, and deal with parts of my over cluttered mind and home.
I started a purging process that continues to this day, moving on from items that I knew someone else could use, getting rid of trash and broken things that I really had no intention of ever repairing, minimizing our possessions. It was honestly a very eye opening experience for me, and amazingly, the farther I got into it, the more I wanted to simplify. This effect bled into every aspect of my life, realizing I could simplify my schedule, my routines, my foods! This all being said, I would say I am maybe half way to where I would like to be, but I like to keep the process slow and simple, so the new habits emerge and stick.
Learning to slow down, prioritize, and minimize my life has been a curve for me. The farther away I get from consumer driven culture, the happier I am. The happier my children are. I really hold out hope that they will live by my example, buy what we need, what brings us joy, and spend the rest of our time and resources inward. Work on our important relationships, spend time on becoming people who we want to be. Invest in ourselves instead of trying to find that temporary high in something we bought, just to wake up the next morning and do it all over. Same highs, same lows.
I’m most definitely not here to sell anyone on any sort of lifestyle, if what you are doing is working for you, and it doesn’t hurt anyone, I say keep on keeping on! The important part of this for me has been recognizing that what I was doing wasn’t working for us and who we want to be. Changing our perspective and living more practically has been such a good experience so far. I just had to share it.
Written by Candace Hoskin