Simplify the “stuff”


We are 10 days into the new year. Those days have consisted of baby snuggles, toddler kisses, and LOTS of cleaning. At this point, my house looks like a Tornado hit it, but I’m not done yet. I have been going through every room, every corner, every shelf and decluttering. I am organizing the chaos, purging the clutter, and simplifying life.
I decided that 2015 would be a year to be more present. I want to fully live and not take for granted something that is not gifted to everyone- this moment. When my husband passed I felt the full impact of the quote “You can’t take anything with you.” Life isn’t about the stuff you buy or the status you create. It is about the memories you make and how well you loved. I would be lying to say some “things” don’t mean a lot to me. They hold memories and stories of a life lived. Other “things” are useful in my day to day life. There are a couple items gifted or old that are beautiful and just bring joy to my heart. But some, more than I like to admit, sit on the shelf and collect dust. Maybe because I believe I might need it some day, or maybe because I’m terrible about throwing things away.
“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” -William Morris
It takes a lot of effort to take care of stuff. They ask for yearly or quarterly organizing sessions. There is the monthly or weekly dusting and cleaning. Lastly, there is the daily minutes drained thinking about our stuff. The less stuff we have, the more time we have. Having a newborn, and a toddler- I am realizing just how precious each of those minutes are. I don’t want to miss a laugh or a snuggle. I don’t want to be to busy to enjoy or slow down, all because of “stuff”.
Last year I sat in the living room staring at my toddler playing with a box. He was surrounded by 100’s of toys, 100’s more elsewhere in the house. All he wanted was the box. I started to notice how he would float from toy to toy with little to no attention span or excitement. That was when I decided the new year would be one of simplicity. There are real downfalls of too much “stuff.” I have started sorting his toys into categories, placing them nicely in tubs, and tucking them away in a closet out of sight. We pull a tub of animals or cars out as he gets bored. His attention span changed almost immediately and he is appreciating what is there. The more things we have, the less we can enjoy each one. I read recently a solution to the “toy” dilemma- Buy children activity or experience gifts. Gifts that create memories with the ones they love. As we grow, we remember more of the people, and less of the tv shows and toys.
There is another “thing” that takes way to much of my time. This dreaded thing called a smart phone. It can become consuming. If we are honest, we all have probably felt a little guilt for the time we give it. I think it can be great for taking pictures in the moment, and sharing those memories with friends and family. I think it makes many tasks much more convenient and less time consuming. But, I also think we can get sucked into its trap. Answering it at every ding, scrolling the news feed aimlessly for hours, searching for “pins” to do with our kids- while our kids are right there. I’ve decided to consciously tell myself “more present, less digital.” To keep my phone down until the babies are sleeping, or otherwise occupied. We can get so consumed by the digital world that we forget to embrace the world right in front of us.
How sweet does it sound to only have the things we love in our home? How sweet does it sound to be present exactly where we are? How sweet does it sound to simplify happiness? Oh how I want that! This year I want to watch sunsets. I want to eat brunch slowly (or at least embrace my children doing that). I want to sit in the living room and focus solely on them. I want to worry more about the ones I love and less about the “stuff.” I want every single friend or family member to know how important they are, not just by the gifts I give but the memories we make. I want to get rid of the “stuff.”
At the end of my race, I don’t want my story to be defined by “things”. I hope those things have collected dust while I was out living. I want to be able to reflect on days FULL of memories and love. Full of people who can tell the tales of my wrinkles and photos.
At the end of the day I don’t cherish the things Fareed bought, as much as I cherish the memories. I cherish even more the things he made with his own hands out of love. That is what I want life to be full of. I will embrace the day, realizing he can’t.