Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The thing about stuff

So Nana and Papa sent another box for the kids yesterday.  As if they don't have enough going on- to take the time to do this for our kids every MONTH is seriously amazing.  They send all sorts of fun surprises that go along with the theme or holiday for that month.  And lots of treats. (Which is part of the reason I'm struggling to get the rest of this baby weight off... not that I'm complaining. :))
One thing I really appreciate-- aside from a couple special toys for the kids, they're really good about sending consumable gifts (candy, treats, bubbles, sidewalk chalk, coloring books more TREATS, etc).  Cause with 5 little ones- STUFF can pile up so quickly.  Over the years, I have become the opposite of a hoarder.  Jon is a bit of a pack-rat- so we have had a few "discussions" about this issue.  But I truly believe one of the keys to a happy family is a simple life. There's too much presure in our society to overschedule our families, spend too much time outside the home, and own too much stuff.

I have such strong feelings about this- our time as mothers with our children is so limited anyway- I don't want to waste the precious time I do have cleaning, organizing, maintaining, and being distracted by unnecessary STUFF!  I'm not going to allow anyTHING to rob us of that quality time.  Building relationships is much more fulfilling and purposeful than accumulating things anyway.  I am fiercely protective of my time with my family.  Probably even a little on the extreme side- but I've lived both ways- and I MUCH prefer a well-organized home.  But it takes serious work to make and keep it that way. 

These are a few family systems to keep the stuff from taking over our lives:

  • "one toy in- one toy out" rule.  Our kids aren't exactly a fan of this rule as you can imagine- but they'll thank me someday.  It gives them a chance to give something they value to other children who might need it more than they do.  
  • I once heard a simple rule when deciding to get rid of something.  If it doesn't beautify or hasn't been used for over a year... donate it.  And if you think you might need it, but aren't really sure- donate it!
  • There is a permanent donation bin in our entryway closet, where we see it every day.  This serves as a reminder to fill it regularly- at least once a month.
  • What about those special childhood items?  One idea is take a picture of it- and then... you guessed it... donate it!  A picture allows you to preserve the memory- without having to store, clean, and maintain it.
Now before it sounds like I've got this all down- admittedly, I have a serious weakness with my closet.  I can't seem to give away my "thin" clothes.  But I'm ok with that.  I refuse to give up the fight to get my old body back!  So my plan is to drop the rest of this weight- and then get rid of my "fat" clothes instead.  And never go back.  But these packages loaded with treats (like my fave- Cadbury Eggs) are making my plan unlikely!

But I digress.  So here are a few pics of the surprise package:

Ha- Celeste gets pretty animated about things!
"Anything in there for me, guys?"
He got lots of presents too, but he liked the box the most!

So the kids had a blast with their all new (mostly consumable) activites. 

But baby Jarom was happy consuming the box. :)


Jill said...

What a fun tradition of getting a box like that every month. You seriously are so blessed with your parents, Nicole. I don't know anyone else who does that. Wow. It's something for me to remember and do for MY grandchildren. :D

Julie Jardine said...

I want to be that kind of grandma. How fun! (And I hear ya on the "stuff" part of life. We should donate more too.) Your Awesome!

Kinsey Pistorius said...

seriously those bunny ears are adorable!!! love it! and I get such a rush by getting rid of stuff - it helps that we move every year because I don't want to keep stuff and move it across the country if we don't need it!

Adam and Christine Jardine said...

I'm so with you. I call myself a pack-rat-a-phobic. You know, a fear of too much stuff. Unfortunately, Adam and I still haven't mastered how to say, "no thanks, we don't need that" to the many, many, MANY, generous friends and neighbors who come over with an I-just-know-your-girls-will-love-this box. And they always do, but then we end up cleaning it out a few weeks later. Not complaining, we are grateful!


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