Friday, November 23, 2012

Simplifying Life: A Quick Decision

This will be the shortest "possessions" post yet. Today is Thanksgiving, and in keeping with the whole gratefulness theme, I want to make sure and spend just about every ounce of my time and energy on what's most important today. . .my family.

I've done a little thinking today about our possessions. We have too many options. I am hit bluntly with this truth every time I put dinner in front of my kids and they look at me with a scrunched up nose and whine, "We don't waaaaaant this! Can I have something else?"  Because they have always had options. If they don't feel like spaghetti, mom can make grilled cheese or eggs and toast. I can get upset at their sense of entitlement, but I'm just as guilty of it myself. My husband will ask me what I want for take-out and name off at least three fast food/restaurants and I will scrunch up my nose at all of them. With food so easily available and aplenty, we abuse our options by taking them for granted. Now I know I've got off on a food tangent, and that isn't necessarily "possessions", but bare with me. We do it with our stuff too. We walk in and out of closets morning after morning frowning and fretting about having nothing to wear. In all reality, the contents of our closets could probably clothe a small village in Nicaragua. Most families there only have enough clothing to wear while they wash the one other dirty pair. They know the value of their stuff and they don't take it for granted. How can you when it's literally all you have?

The same goes for toys. My boys have UNGODLY amounts of options when it comes to things to play with and yet they drive me crazy every time we stop by Wal-Mart and they see something else that they "just gotta have!". It's pathetic. We are working through this perspective and I feel some days we are making huge strides with them in the "being thankful for what we have means not asking for more" talks, but we still have constant relapses. They are learning, as am I with my stuff (books, DVDs, jewelry, shoes, etc) that enough is enough.

So I've made a quick decision today and it's not that huge, but it may make a huge impact. I'm downsizing our wardrobes. I'm not just giving away things that no longer fit or we don't like as much anymore. No, I'm going through our closets and narrowing our options down. I'm getting rid of all clothing except what would last us about one month. At first, that seems like we would still have a lot of clothes. You're right. But at the moment, I'm staring at my son's clothes and realizing that I could easily clothe every child a the city rescue mission and then some with just what is piled on his floor. There is no need to have that many shirts, that many pairs of pants. Why does any five-year-old boy need 9 pairs of shoes?! Really?   So there it is. . .choosing 30 outfits for each child for each season and we're donating the rest. I'll be doing this in my closet too. That is my mission this week. Heaven help me.

I also thought I'd mention, as well as "options", we in America take for granted all of life's conveniences. We take for granted that just last week, I was able to fly from Oklahoma City to Managua, Nicaragua in a matter of 5 hours. That's AMAZING and something to thank God for. A hundred years ago, it took 30 YEARS to get from one side of the country to another! (Okay, maybe that's an embellishment, but only a slight one!) We constantly gripe about how quickly things load on our iphones, how long it takes for McDonald's to give us our food in the drive-thru, and how long we have to wait at stoplights. We're getting ridiculous, people! Everything is AMAZING, and nobody is happy! Truly! Louis C.K. covered this topic in his recent interview on Conan O'Brien. Check it out here! I promise, you will be nodding your head in agreement the ENTIRE TIME!
You're welcome, friends. :)

8 comments:

  1. My husband has quite a bit of clothing being a military person (his all the time uniform, dress uniform, work out uniform, then his civilian clothes...) but the rest of us in the house only have enough clothes to last anywhere from 5-7 days. I like to keep things at a week to ten days, but we just haven't been able to afford that lately. (The past year was a rough one.) The three oldest kids have two pairs of shoes- one pair that are tennis shoes for every day, and then a pair of snow boots which have only recently become necessary with our move to Idaho. Hickory has an extra pair of every day shoes because he's the fourth boy and has acquired all the hand me downs from his big brothers. Nicola doesn't wear shoes because a 2 month old baby just doesn't really *need* shoes at all. We are on a constant battle against "stuff" in our house.
    A piece of insight that I'll pass along is that the fewer toys my kids have, the BETTER the play and the MORE those toys get used. Whenever they start to amass too much stuff, inevitably everything gets pulled out, makes a HUGE mess, and then I hear "I don't have anything to play with! I'm bored!" They just become overwhelmed by the options. At least that's the way things have always gone down in our house.

    http://thisfamilysojourns.blogspot.com

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    1. Maybe I should scale down even more, Dot. Not sure. We have been blessed beyond measure with friends with hand-me-downs, as well as parents who love to buy clothes as much as toys. In fact, as I pack up all of these excess clothes, if YOU would like some of them (as some of your boys are a tad younger than mine), I would LOVE to send you a box. Email me your new address and I'll get a box in the mail to you!! yourbelle2@hotmail.com

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  2. I wish you well on that. That 30 years was before they switched from square to round wheels.

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    1. Ha! good one Mark. Was that when the world was still square too? :)

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  3. Mark, thanks for bringing me to this site! Michelle, way to go! While I'm currently too materialistic to downsize that drastically, you have planted a seed that I'm sure it will grow into my own version of this simplicity. Thank you for that!

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    1. Thanks for commenting Christi! Glad you stopped by! I think in many ways, we can all benefit from "decluttering our lives" in more ways than one. It means something different to so many people. I also think it's good to value the things that we DO have and to be grateful! You're welcome! I appreciate your thoughts!

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  4. Mark brought me to this site, too! Thank you for this post. I am right there with ya. When I have a week's worth of laundry in baskets and all of our closets and drawers are still stuffed, it's time to purge. I would totally be a minimalist if I could slide it by my husband (who loves stuff).

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