Friday, August 19, 2011

Less really is more



I have lived for years feeling like I have TOO MUCH STUFF.  I don't function well with a lot of stuff.  Obviously the boys just make huge messes with lots of stuff.  And it seems the more stuff I have, the less important "stuff" we do.   I become preoccupied with things like cleaning up.  Like just surviving.  Like coping.  Like organizing and reorganizing, and reorganizing.  :)  

I've had this continual thought, "what if I just get rid of everything except three things....leggos, cars, and blocks".  Of course, we would have the things like craft supplies and, well, certainly millions of books, but their play toys would be just the things they play with most often.  Then maybe I could breathe again.  Then maybe I could feel free and unreserved to live the things that are most important to me.  

Instead of managing stuff, I could pour into my husband and my children.  

Well, this was a start.  As you can see in the second photo there are still several things in the closet.  This closet contains all of our household toys (minus the junky-loud toys that are restricted to the basement as well as the small leggos that have a home also in the basement).  The boys don't have toys in their room.  Just books.  Lots of them.  And stuffed animals.  Speaking of which, always seem like such a waste of money and space and uncluttered environment, but yet, truly, my boys play with their collection of stuffed animals on a regular basis.  So alas, they stay.  But mostly in their room.

The closet contains mostly the following: puzzles (way way way too many, thanks to the thrift store), games (again, way too many...  I mean, really, was Abraham Lincoln or Booker T. Washington or Albert Einstein at a disadvantage because they lived without thousands of games, puzzles, and other educational paraphernalia that the School Box shouts at you that your children should have?), okay, I digressed...  it also contains various bins of things like lincoln logs, tinker toys, wooden marble maze, connecting straws, view finder, cars, etc.  

Truly most of what is in their was "educational".  But I'm beginning to question what is and isn't "educational".  

(Now in reality I"m not where I'm about to go.  I didn't get rid of everything.  I'm not a purist.  Just an idealist.  And I might, just might, move in the direction I'm about to muse about)

Could educational be making mud pies with nothing but mud, sticks and leaves?  Could it be making little houses out of sticks instead of manufactured blocks?  Could it be playing pretend with nothing but yourselves...   

Living out adventures in story books, running through the woods, collecting insects, examining the bark on trees, catching butterflies, laughing, loving, living, giving, serving...  alive and full.  

I need less.  We all need less.  Visions of little, less and light dance in my head.

It's a journey.  It's a start.  Here's what we did this week.

Home-made play-do has become a staple around my house.  So easy to make.  So fun for the boys.  So messy for mom. :)  

Took a morning walk and picked up a hitchhiker on the road.  

It's amazing how much fun a ten dollar slip and slide is for the boys!

Apparently my nursing pillows are "space ships".  Gotta love it!

Love, love.... pure love.

I've been letting them paint more lately.  It's amazing how quickly Benjamin, our two year old, paints and is done.  About 120 seconds.

I found these irresistible blocks at the thrift store.  Maybe I should just stop going.

Benjamin prefers beans and egg cartons to traditional toys.  Thatta boy.

I think I never shared what I did with all that stuff I cleared out from the playroom.  For now, my sweet husband, wanted me to put it in bins in the attic.  Just in case I miss it.  So far, I've not missed a thing.  I boxed up excess puzzles, games, educational building type toys, things that many would think are wonderful to have as a home school mom.  I just may add some more to those bins in the weeks to come.  

It's amazing how it feels we've gained time and relationship through the removal of the clutter.  

Yes, less is more.


Carol said...

I love it, Abby! I totally concur! Less is more; when we kids, we played outside (during the summer, weekends and breaks) ALL day long and came home for sustenance only! Tori is a reader; she loves it; she also loves her projects - sewing, artwork and designing! She's even pretty good at designing! I can't wait for your next posting!

praguegirl said...

This is so well written. And I agree whole heartedly. Clutter drives me insane, but your reasoning behind the clutter is so pure and true. Nolan has 4 baskets of toys that fit into the L-bench seating area Phil made. That is all the room he gets for toys. When the room runs out, we will begin donating to Goodwill.