Today, the new book Clutterfree with Kids launches. I’ve been reading the Becoming Minimalist blog for a while now and find it refreshing. It’s not a “throw everything away and only have one chair” type approach to minimizing but a rational one.
This new book looks into how we can have kids and their toys and still be clutter free. It is a great read and, honestly, a good introduction into the ideas and concepts of learning to live with less.
Living with less doesn’t mean you pretend you don’t have the resources you have. It doesn’t mean you deprive yourself of rewards.
It just means you choose what you want to accumulate and what you don’t want to accumulate. And you’ll probably find, when you sit down to make the choice, that you’d rather accumulate more minutes in the day, memories, and opportunities to give.
My thoughts on the book.
1. Stuff and security.
The book quotes a study done by a Yale professor and shares this conclusion I thought was interesting in light of parenting. “The researchers point out that those who do not feel internally secure in their personal relationships will often put a higher value on physical possessions.”
Now I’m not saying everyone who has lots of stuff is insecure, but I think this is a true statement. When we don’t feel secure in ourselves and when our children don’t, they tend to gravitate to and stick with objects that bring them security for whatever reason.
If we didn’t pay much attention to kids, of course they’d want more toys! In a non-confrontational but reflection inspiring way, this book invites you to question why you might be so against minimizing clutter.
2. You already minimize, it just might not be stuff.
Becker points out that, whether you think about it or not, you are already minimising. You are either minimizing free time and energy or you are minimising your stuff. Not in those exact words, he says that we can’t have both and we can’t have it all. Stuff takes time to buy, clean, organise, and tidy.
Having less stuff means more free time to put towards things that truly matter. While having a clean and hygienic house is important, it is not more important than time spent building relationships. And, if you have less stuff, you can do both quite easily.
3. The results may surprise you.
Becker shares results from a German study showing that children with less toys actually learn to use their imagination more and develop longer attention spans. Sure, if you take away many toys then boredom may set in during the initial stages, but soon your children will begin to use their environment to play.
The book says they learn to take better care of things and even their interpersonal relationship skills will improve. Becker even says that siblings will actually fight less when there are less toys because they learn to collaborate and work together with what they have. If you don’t believe him (and I definitely do) try it for a while.
Put bags of toys in the garage or somewhere out of reach, you don’t have to commit to giving them away yet, and give it a few weeks.
4. Decluttering will help the journey out of survival mode.
Part of the stress factor for many mothers is that there’s so much to do around the house in addition to watching the kids. All day long. Lots of dishes, lots of messes, lots of laundry, etc.
His suggestions of minimising, having one of things, and getting rid of excess actually means that many of those tasks are cut significantly. Less clothes means less laundry. Less toys means less mess and quicker clean-ups.
I can attest to this. I can do an evening sweep of the entire house and have everything put back in its place in minutes. If you are feeling overwhelmed with so many home burdens then this may be a good place to start.
I highly recommend this book (it’s on sale for $2.99 this week), particularly if the idea of minimizing and decluttering is just coming on your radar. Tried and true minimalists will still find inspiration, but the newcomer to this idea and concept will be inundated with encouraging and purposeful ideas to help make your home a stress free place to be.
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