When my mom was here helping out after the birth of our new baby, she made a passing recommendation. We are the fortunate recipients of hand-me-downs from generous neighbors and mailed trinkets from far-off family; thus bags and boxes of new items arrive in our home fairly regularly. Add to this the normal stuff – mail, preschool fliers, kids’ artwork from church… Piles. “If I were you, I’d try to be ruthless about sorting through the stuff and making immediate decisions about what to do with items as soon as they arrive.”
Great advice. Laying something aside to sort through later was not working for me. So, as part of my effort to be diligent in my homemaking, I have adopted my mom’s mantra… and not just with hand-me-downs and mail, but everywhere. A couple of the big ones I’d come across time and again recently:
–Kids’ clothes. I so appreciate the clothes we’ve been given, new and used, and typically hang on to as much as I think we may use in the name of good stewardship… But only ever use 2/3 or less. The same ‘don’t love it but will keep it’ items I never put on my first daughter when she was a baby, I’m now not putting on my second daughter. Why keep and store and move around clothes I don’t need? Anything I don’t need and only sorta like, I’m putting it in the Good Will pile right when you’re sorting.
–Photos. Digital cameras are a blessing and a curse. The blessing is – I take 5 shots to get the 1 good shot you’re aiming for. The curse is, I keep 4 of out the 5 because 3 of the 5 are OK. Who needs it? Why do I want to sort through loads of average photos looking for the one great one I liked best to begin with? And waste storage space on my computer? How many photos of my kids do I really need?
–Toys. More on this in a later post… but I’m realizing how difficult it really is to live out the ‘simple life’ that we say we want for our family. Even though we don’t buy (much) stuff for our children, we have a lot of stuff through gifts and pass-alongs. Considerably more than is needed or played with or, arguably, is in our kids’ best interest.
One of our jobs as moms is ordering our homes to make things flow as smoothly and seamlessly as possible; this blesses our kids, husbands, and ourselves. Less is more! As the Shakers sang in the now famous song, “Tis a gift to be simple, tis a gift to be free.” Amen. So my new mantra throughout the house whenever I’m dealing with stuff: be ruthless!