The other day I was talking to a parent and she mentioned that in their household they try not to buy things for their child unless it is a special occasion. What a concept! Our move into The Ashland House is still several (?) months away and I am realizing that we have so many items we don’t need. Why do we have all this stuff?!
The timing of this conversation was no coincidence. There is a very popular organizational book out right now about getting rid of the things that don’t bring joy to your life.
Secretly, I have been resistant to reading this book because it seems trendy to me. Lots of people are talking about it. I don’t want to jump on the bandwagon. Or maybe my resistance is to mask the fact that I don’t want to tackle a major de-clutter? Or maybe I am over-thinking things? Oh please. Of course I am over-thinking things! Have you ever had a conversation with me? In fact, if I think about it, I am over thinking things right NOW.
This is the part where I rant about how we are brainwashed by marketers from the time we are babies in order to perpetuate our consumer society – all under the auspices of a “healthy” economy. At the expense of humanity and the environment, of course. No big deal. *sarcasm font on last sentence*
What it comes down to for me is this: How can I encourage people to raise their children joyfully if I am not doing the same things for my family?
Here are the steps I’m starting to take now:
- I’m beginning the process of downsizing. I am burdened with organizing and taking care of things that I don’t even use. If I don’t get rid of them I will have to pack them up, move them and then organize them in our new home. Ugh. No thanks.
- I am not buying anything new that we don’t need. Spending Freeze!
- No more gifts for me. Please. I don’t need anything. Really. If you want to do something nice for me you can write me a note from the heart. Or you can spend time with me (FYI: My love language is Quality Time). Unless I don’t like you. That was a joke. If you are reading this I like you. If you feel compelled to give something because you have been conditioned to purchase something then make a donation to a cause close to your heart and think of me when you do it.
Finally, our son is having his birthday celebration this weekend. We are organizing an Epic Nerf Gun Battle at a local park. I might live to regret it. Time will tell. We want to hang out with his friends and their parents. On the invite we put “No Gifts Please.”
This request is difficult because when I go to a “No Gifts” party I feel deeply compelled to bring a gift. I was raised that bringing a gift was the polite thing to do. What do I tell my kind-hearted and generous friends to do when they ask what our son would like for a gift? “If you feel compelled to bring something, please bring a non-perishable item for our local food bank.”
I didn’t consult The Kiddo before organizing the “No Gifts Please” portion of the party. Guess what? He’s cool with it. Even if he wasn’t I was prepared to deal with the fallout. It’s important to me that he values people and not things.
If you made it to the end of this post congratulations! Thank you ever so much for reading and have a Joyful Day!