Have you ever checked out Joshua Becker of the blog Becoming Minimalist? I've been following his blog for quite awhile and have read his books, Simplify and Inside-Out Simplicity - excellent books I might add. Depending on where you are in your simplifying journey, one book may work for you more than the other. Personally, I preferred the Inside-Out Simplicity, for the depth in which it made me think about why I need and want change in my life. I even referred to Mr. Becker's blog in my very first post.
But today's topic is his newest book, Clutterfree with Kids: Change your thinking. Discover new habits. Free your home.
As you can probably tell from this blog, I'm already on may way with decluttering our house of what's not needed. But I constantly feel I need reminders of what this life should be about (and it's not STUFF). The book has three sections as the title states.
First, its all about 'change your thinking'. While this section may not have been completely targeted at me, since I already have immersed myself in Simplicity and Minimalism blogs, books, articles, etc. in the last few years, it still was targeted at me, the mostly stay-at-home mom of 3 kids - 7 years and under - who enjoys seeing my kids find joy in new toys and things.
Daily my kids remind me of what's really important in life - just spending time together, helping others, even working hard for a goal. But it's not fun when we can't do as much fun stuff because we have to spend so much time cleaning stuff up. This section really discusses how owning less can change your heart and reviews the multiple benefits of less. I really like the concept of 'The Simple Joy of One.' -(you'll have to read the book to find out more) and about simplicity teaching kids generosity. My daughter freely gives things to her friends that they might like - she has such a generous heart that I think has been born from asking her to go through her items to find things to give away that she no longer wants or needs since an early age.
The second section is more practical steps to simplifying. Each chapter is dedicated to an area that involves kids clutter and has a personal story of how freeing this area has affected someone's life in a positive way. It also poses questions at the end of each chapter to help you go through your stuff and think about what you need. This was probably not the intention of the book (but more along the lines of the intention of this blog), but the thing that has stuck with me most from this book is this tidbit:
"Limit your toys too. Kids will always learn more from example than words."
Really, isn't that the purpose of what I have been trying to do for this past year? I didn't really think about my stuff in that context before. But all the craft kits, yarn, beads, books, even my oboe from high school - aren't these all my toys? And if that's so - I may have more toys than all 3 kids combined. Those are the things I 'play with' to have fun. Really, what are the kids learning from me? I don't want to think that they need to have one type of every toy (like all my variety of craft kits). I don't want them to think that they need to be good at everything (like I think I should be good at all types of crafting - still having a hard time with the concept that I'm not going to be a good sewer.) I don't want them to think that because they enjoy doing something now, that they have to enjoy it for a lifetime (which explains me keeping my oboe that hasn't really been played for over 10 years, because I really just don't enjoy it as I once did).
It's a lot of food for thought - and I took some action (as you can see from the last post).
And the last section - 'Free Your Life' - which talks about where living clutterfree can lead if you can keep it up (and how to overcome some of those obstacles - teenagers, reluctant partners, consumeritstic culture, and comparing). It also has a section of becoming a one-income family - which is quite relevant to my family. I quit work after becoming pregnant with my 3rd. In some ways, we were always a one-income family - we went from me working full-time and my husband going to school full-time to him working full-time and me staying home with the kids, but I still find it hard that with a master's degree, my life is now judged on how well I keep the house clean. Joshua writes this:
"Find an outlet for service........ Just because you have decided to stay at home does not mean you resigned from using your gifts to change the world."How true! Something I'd like to work on more and will have more time to do once this place is clutterfree!
This book really is all around a great book for parents who want to live their lives differently and enjoy their time with their kids rather than be consumed from the everyday pressures of what this world wants to feed us that our lives should be about.
It especially hits the nail on the head coming out after the post-Christmas influx of toys and STUFF!
***I did receive a free copy of this book for review but receive no other compensation for the review. Hope you enjoy it as I have!