Have you ever walked, or waded, through your kids’ rooms in a effort to get accross the room with a basket of laundry, and feel like you just waded through the Nile, or climbed Mt. Everest? How about when your baby “graduates” to his next clothes size and you end up with two garbage bags filled with 0-3 month clothes, half of which he wore only once, or not at all? Do you ever wonder, do we really need all this stuff?
You may have thought that you were alone in thinking that babies don’t really need a wipes warmer, toddlers don’t need a toddler bed, kids don’t need a different pair of shoes for every outfit, and teenagers don’t need the latest and greatest in cell phone technology. Good news. You’re not alone. Many parents are trying to get back to basics and save money by not buying so much stuff.
This article at the morning call questions the common misconception that you need everything out there for your new baby by listing the five things, besides clothes, diapers, and wipes, that you need for a baby. You may find the very idea crazy, but when you think about it, it’s really true. Babies will survive without all the fancy gear. They have for centuries, milleniums. They can now.
I especially appreciated the comment on the article by Mark who says, “This is a fine post, and I tend to agree with the basic premise — i.e. “Do we really NEED all this crap?” — but honestly, why limit it to baby gear? Mightn’t *every* aspect of our lives, not just child-rearing, improve if we applied this “less is more” philosophy?”
Mark hit the nail right on the head. Think about what you’ve got in your house right now. Think about the kids’ rooms. Are there toys they don’t play with? Books that are torn beyond repair, that you just keep putting back on the shelf (don’t feel bad. everybody does it), clothes that are too small, too short, or that they just don’t like? When they have so much stuff, it’s hard for them to really enjoy it. A few special toys, enough clothes to last a week, some favorite classic children’s books, and they will really learn to appreciate what they have, and be more able to take care of it since it’s less likely to be lost in the explosion of toys and accessories that dominate the bedrooms of many children.
Now don’t forget to think about your own stuff. It’s a lot easier to toss someone else’s stuff in the donations pile than to let go of some of your own possessions sometimes. But if you really want to teach your children to enjoy life instead of stuff, you’ll have to set the example first. There is a lot of wisdom in the old saying, “Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without”. Our ancestors cooked on woodburning stoves. We can probably manage with that old dishwasher a few more years until we can really afford a new one.
With technology and innovations in every aspect of our lives, it’s hard to remember that most of what’s out there isn’t stuff that we really need. And if our kids don’t have a lot of stuff that they don’t really need, or even especially want once it’s out of the box, there will be a lot less fighting with them to clean, a lot less climbing over stacks and stacks of laundry, and a lot more energy for spending time together as a family.
If you want more information about simplifying your life, check out this great website called zenhabits.net. There are lots of great ideas for living more simply.