Simplifying Part 1

I have slowly, very slowly, been learning a lesson on simplifying life.  Living in a tiny 2 bedroom mobile home with 2 bathrooms and a kitchen, living room, and dining room that are essentially one large-ish room, I have been learning that you can shove stuff under beds and in closets, cupboards, and even in the oven, but it still doesn’t solve the problem of having too much stuff.  Stuff oozes out of the corners when no one is watching, and sometimes it feels like someone added miracle grow to it.  The visual is horrifying, and if you can picture it, then you understand how I feel.

I read this blog post today, and it has inspired me.  Ultimately, I would say that TJed (A Thomas Jefferson Education) is an old fashioned education.  And ultimately, I want our whole life style to revolve around that.  I want to live in the world, but not be distracted by it.  We don’t have tv, we don’t play video games, and we don’t listen to much music other than hymns and classical music.  Anything else just drives away the Spirit.

Likewise, I feel like most of the technologies and the inundation of stuff and needing things and gadgets pushes away the Spirit, and with it the natural opportunities to learn.  I’m not saying that things are bad, and I’m not saying that everyone should get rid of their stuff.  Living in such a small house has taught me that too much stuff can distract from better things.  I want my kids to be able to entertain themselves and play with things that really help them think… other than entertaining worldly and  un-meaningful play like Barbies.  Not that Barbies are bad, but they lead to a more worldly and materialistic mentality.

On a good day.

On a good day.

Trying to homeschool with stuff leaking out of the corners, is like trying to herd cats.  It just doesn’t work.  It feels like we have to clean up before we can even “do school.”  We have lived here for 1 1/2 years, and I have slowly boxed up 1/2 of our books, gotten rid of 1/2 of our clothes, and now, I’m about to get rid of 1/2 (if not more) of the toys.  Where did I get this muy fabulouso idea you might ask?  I read the before mentioned blog post about a mother who became fed up with how her children just felt like the needed more stuff.  They acted entitled to it.  They would ask for it everywhere they went, and instead of enjoying their family time, they just kept talking about that one thing that they wanted.  So, she went in with a large bag and started to pick up all of the toys to take them away and teach a lesson of gratitude to her young daughters.  Read the post —> here; I found it refreshing and inspiring.

This blogger mentioned that she noticed a real change in her children about 4 weeks later.  The girls learned how to have fun with only a few toys, or nothing at all.  They went on a vacation and her girls didn’t ask for one thing.  They enjoyed the moments, spent time learning new things, reading, and exploring things that they would not have if they were overwhelmed and over stimulated with too many toys.

I don’t plan on getting rid of everything.  But I do plan on controlling the use of the toys.  I’m tired of them playing with something for a few hours, or half the day, and when I tell them to pick the toys up, they claim that their game is on pause with the intent to “play later.”  Well, never usually doesn’t come, and in this case never never comes.  And quite frankly, I’m tired of tripping over toys.  I know Hoss dislikes walking into the house to find toys everywhere.  I cringe when I see that he has to scoot toys out of the way or step over them as he enters the front door.  A man or woman deserves to just walk into their house without obstacles!

While my children do not have an over-abundance of toys, they do have too many for how large our house is.  We rent a storage unit to store all of the other stuff that we can’t fit into our house, so I plan on taking the toys there to let the kids have some detox time without the toys.  Where will it go from there?  I’m not sure yet.  We’ll see what toys they actually ask for later.  I have a feeling that many of them will be forgotten.



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