The Way of Simplicity

Ezra was in bed today while I went through the boys’ clothes closet.  (He was there while Kathiana and Zach were at the Children’s Museum because he was having an unusually tough time behaving like a human being.)

“Why are you doing this, again?” he asked.

“Because we have too many things.  And it’s hard to enjoy the things we love the most with all of this other stuff here.  Plus, there are lots of great things that we don’t use anymore that someone else could use.”

Both boys keep asking why I am packing up bag after bag of toys, books and, as of today, clothes.  I guess for all of us the urge to keep our stuff is strong.  We need frequent reminders of why it’s worth it.  Especially on day three of my project to clean up our house.  If you think it’s boring to read about it for three days, you should try doing it for three days.

Today, I pulled out several bags of clothes we could give away. Which is kind of remarkable, really.  I haven’t bought clothes for the boys in more than a year, and I just cleaned out their closet and dresser two months ago to get ready for summer.

After reading Simplicity Parenting, though, I may actually buy some fall clothes.  The author’s contention is that children benefit from having limited choices.  Found a pair of  jeans that fits? Buy three and be done with it.  He writes that parents care more about fashion and choice than pre-adolescent children do.  I know this is true in our family.  So when they outgrow the current lot, I may buy a few simple pieces and see how it goes.

But is shopping going in the wrong direction?  Doesn’t sound like the way of simplicity, does it?


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  • One of my favorite home-organization books is Apartment Therapy — it is very inspiring in the purging department, helping people to think about how to create beauty in small spaces (apartments). Our house isn't super-small, but it is a two-bedroom bungalow, and I've appreciated the tips on eliminating things from your life/house/closet/fridge that just aren't working for you, that cause guilt each time you look at them (pants that don't fit, etc). It is freeing to limit your options, but definitely against my nature.