Saturday, March 7, 2015

Less Really is More

I don't know if it's the nesting that's kicked in full force, my hormones, an epiphany, or all of the above but I have been trying to make a positive shift in our life as far as keeping things "simple." 

It all started over our Chinese New Year holiday. I began the task of taking all of the tags off Rosalie's clothes to wash them and went through Sawyer's old baby things. Suddenly, it all just seemed so overwhelming. I went to look for something and it was hidden in piles of other boxes full of stuff that I kept or saved for some reason or another. 

I'd like to think of myself somewhere in the middle to low end on a spectrum of being considered a "hoarder." I usually don't get too attached to stuff. Sometimes it's necessary to stockpile particular items living abroad because if we run out of something like deodorant, we can't just run to Target and pick up a new one (they don't sell it here). My family always gave me a hard time when I was younger, because I was known to throw things out in order to clean the house (whoops). 

When we moved to China, we came with only four suitcases. After living here for four years, I always thought, "We really don't have much stuff." But, it's amazing how quickly "stuff" accumulates and begins to take over your life. So over the holiday, I decided to declutter and purge anything that I didn't love. I read a quote somewhere, "Would you pay to replace it if it was lost in a fire?" This was my mantra. I was ruthless. I really started to think about:  What is the purpose of this? Why do I have things that just sit on a shelf? Am I keeping this because I got as a gift and feel guilty? I downsized my closet to about 1/4 of what it was. I worked the entire break, non-stop. It wasn't about getting rid of stuff for the sake of getting rid of stuff. I really felt like it was about keeping and treasuring the things we do love.

After the break, I felt so much...lighter, relaxed, and free. As a family, we are trying to keep things simple. Here are a few examples of how we're trying to embrace a more simplistic approach to our life:

  • Not overcommitting to things (learning to say no more without feeling guilty)
  • More quality family time
  • Let Sawyer explore and discover the world on his own (without us there to entertain him or show him how to do something the "right" way)
  • Letting Sawyer be bored (without 3894384 toys to "distract" him so he can learn to be creative and a problem solver with the things he does have)
  • Slow down, be more present, and live in the moment 
  • Doing more of what we love (for me that's reading, decorating, planning, baking, spending time with my family and close friends, going on walks)
  • Being very mindful of what we do purchase and put into our home (i.e. not buying something just because it's on sale)
  • Paring down on beauty products and using as many natural products as possible
Below are quotes and books that have really inspired me incase you're interested :) 

"Minimalist Parenting is not an exercise in deprivation. You can still enjoy shopping, decorating, and aesthetics. The trick is to focus on the worth. If you use it or you love it, it's worth making space for it in your life."
-Minimalist Parenting 

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