My daughter’s room

Now I would count the items in this room but it’d take me forever.  She isn’t buying into the less is more mindset but as you look through the pictures please remember she had LOTS more.  I don’t necessarily think we spoil her by buying lots of stuff for her though we do frequently buy her stuff.  She is our only child.  For several years she was the only grandchild on my side and the only great-grandchild.  For even longer she was the only grandchild on my husband’s side.  My husband’s mom is a bargain hunting, yard sale junkie.  If there were trophies to be won for purchasing “bargains” she’d have them all.  What I’ve learned is that it’s not really a bargain if you don’t really need it.  I’ve also learned that you can’t base needs off of what a young child says they need.

My daughter absolutely LOVES all of her stuff.  Everything is her favorite and she remembers everything.  The squeaky turtle bought for her when she was two?  she remembers – where she got it and who got it for her.

She got bit by the clutter bug hard.  Gotta love my daughter – but she doesn’t fall far from the tree.

I always dread seeing certain family because I know we are going to be bringing home new “treasures”.  porcelain dolls, dollar tree finds, funky clothes, books, coloring books, their junk mail.  Yes my daughter falls in love with junk mail, catelogs, coupons and scraps of paper.  She collects rocks, coupons, stuffed dogs, squinkys, mighty beans, littlest pet shop animals, polly pockets, my little ponys, zhu zhu pets, leaves, books, candy wrappers (not laziness but because she likes them), pieces of yarn, paper, acorns, pine cones, winter gloves and Christmas socks.

I’ve asked my mom to do a lending library for books and toys so that I can bring them back to her for the other grandkids to enjoy.  She graciously accepted and understands how overwhelmed I get so she has cut back dramatically on gifts for my daughter to bring home.  – small measured doses.  His mom would flood us with yard sale treasures every Saturday.  Toys and items constantly flowing in for my daughter.  People give her stuff – every Polly Pocket item ever made? Check we got it for free.  More My Little Ponies than what 10 girls could play with?  check.  again for free.  Dora kitchen set, baby doll strollers, carseats, giant snowmen, check, check and check.

When we did that yard sale for a friend she told my daughter she could have whatever she wanted.  I cringed inside.

I’m complaining – they all mean well.  We’ve gotten so many things for free from who care.  I get flustered and overwhelmed but some of the things we really needed and couldn’t afford.  My daughter’s bed and sheets were all free.  We couldn’t have afforded such a nice mattress set for her and sheets are expensive.  Our couch and recliner, though not my style were free, given to us by his parents.  Our couch in our family room that I love also free courtesy of my mom, who gave it to my brother, who gave it to my sister, who gave it to us.  Many of my daughter’s beautiful clothes including her favorite pair of Uggs and some high end clothes given to us for free from my boss.   Winter coats to keep her warm.  It has really helped us stretch our money.  I typically only have to buy her 2-4 outfits when she outgrows her clothes because my boss’s friend’s daughter must go through growth spurts at the same time so when my daughter outgrows hers we always seem to get a new bag.

Our microwave? a wedding gift, our dressers? a yard sale find.  My daughter’s dresser? free from my brother.  I need to be a better guardian but I also can succeed by not letting the unwanted items linger in my home.  I’ve sold alot of stuff which often feels selfish as I should be blessing others but I sell the items super cheap.  I also donate quite a bit too.  My massive amount of clutter came in super helpful when my town flooded.  They needed clothes – I had a 100 white t-shirts from when I owned a tshirt press.  All the beautiful clothes?  there was a desperate need for clothes my daughter’s size.  Underwear – the extra packs I bought and were given to us put to good use.  All those unused coloring books went to children who had lost everything along with boxes of school supplies, art supplies and hygiene items I had unfortuneatly stock piled.  Bags of towels and sheets were donated – given to us by friends and family put to good use by people devastated by the flood.

That flood helped us.  It brought our community closer and brought my family closer.  My husband, daughter and I felt so fortunate that we didn’t lose our home and stuff.  We felt sorrow and grief for those who lost.  Countless pictures of lost and devistation called us to action to part freely with items that were just taking up space in our home.

Most people don’t know how much we had.  I was so ashamed by the sheer amount that I couldn’t have people in.  My storage unit was bursting and I made regular trips there to add more.  I couldn’t stop accumulating whether it was free, given to me or purchased.  I needed stuff.  People weren’t invited in when it was at it’s worst.  Pictures weren’t taken inside the house because I was ashamed.  ASHAMED!   I would love to have more before pictures but they simply don’t exist because I would never have taken them.  I have various pictures from the last two years but that’s after I found Fly Lady and then Miss Minimalist.

Here we go!

Embarassment awaits – I found some before pictures of my daughter’s room just now.  These are not before before but beginning of summer before.

This is what you saw when you were near her doorway.

This is what happened every time she played.

This was the top of her dresser.  There were too many clothes than what the dresser could handle.  Please note this room also used to have a student desk in here and a night stand (the one that is now in my room).

After!

This didn’t happen over night but rather over the course of 6 months.

Still cluttered but a lot less stuff.  The before picture was after downsizing.  This one is much better.  I’ll share what she chose to keep on her dresser – Goldie and Goldie’s tank and food.  A jar/ vase with a few rocks and shells from her collection.  the plants vs. zombies house, the signed bowling pin and birthday hat from her 6th birthday, a timer, a toilet paper owl she made at school, a rather large pack of C Batteries (bought with yard sale money) and a jewelry box that she rarely if ever uses.

Her purse hanges on the door, nothing behind or under.  Her two monster high wigs hanging on the door.  I HATE the stickers all over but you really have to pick your battles.

That massive white tower used to be full of Polly Pocket with an additional tote for Polly Pockets.  Now?  just the three bottom drawers, this also now houses her littlest pet shops, her squinkies, her jewelry and assorted small toys.  The black set of drawers?  her dress up clothes and dress up clothes for her babies and toys.

Not too bad – much less than what used to be here.  a box of for paper collection, and her musical instruments.  a shoe box hanging out next to the tv stand.

Her toy net and shelf.

her toys whittled down enormously

more floor space

her bed.  The two giant snowmen are not regular guests.  she typically has a small stuffed dog and small elephant, her dog happy napper and her dog pillow pet, two pillows and tons of blankets.

so definately not a minimalist room or even a Lagom room but no longer the room of a hoarder.  it’s a work in progress.

 

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Minimalism, Lagom and Hoarding

I know you are probably wondering what minimalism, lagom and hoarding have in common – most would say that minimalism and hoarding are the complete opposites but I believe they have a lot in common.  Does stuff or the lack of stuff make people happy?  I imagine many would say yes.  I believe that with either it’s always about one more thing.  One more thing to acquire or one more thing to purge.  it never seems to be enough.  walking through the stores thinking will this item make me happy?  walking through the house thinking will this item need to leave my house?  Either way it’s about that strong urge to focus on stuff (or the lack thereof).

Lagom however is this wonderful Swedish word that roughly translates to just the right amount.  Hoarding can be too much stuff.  Minimalism can be too little stuff but Lagom is just the right amount.  If 100 items is just the right amount for you to where you don’t feel deprived and you don’t feel overwhelmed then that’s your number or those are your things that you need.  If 5,000 items is just right for you to fit your needs (a crafter maybe? with a large family) then that’s your number.  However it’s not about the number at all it’s more about having what you need no more no less.  For each person this is different.

So with Lagom it is okay to buy new things, it’s okay to own things and it’s okay to be at peace with things as long as it’s the right things for you.  Be happy with embracing enough, embracing equality and sharing of resources by donating items that no longer fit you and your lifestyle, resist the call for too much or too little.

I’ve decided that instead of trying to reach for this unattainable goal of living a minimalist life with my unwilling husband and daughter that I should strive for a Lagom life and be confident that if we keep what we love, enjoy and use that our home will be comfortable and happy.

My home update

I will admit that as I’ve been purging and decluttering that I am happier but is it about giving up the stuff or is it a combination of everything I’ve been going through.  I still think too much about stuff and I’m not okay with that.  I still feel the strong urge to acquire and have actually bought more since starting on this process.  I still feel the strong urge to declutter and get rid of stuff.  Now don’t get me wrong, the number of my items in my home have been steadily decreasing but some of the quality has been increasing.  quality involves more money put into the item.  We got rid of hundreds of items with our last yard sale.  so we rushed off to the store and bought a keurig.  we love it and my husband uses it daily.  so definitely a good purchase.  the kcups are expensive and although we have a reusable filter my husband prefers the cups.  reoccurring “luxury” costs.  still takes up less room than all the other stuff.  this awesome coffee machine creates the urges to buy MORE!  Now that we have this lovely machine sitting on our counter I want to buy a lovely display rack to store the cute little cups in.  We haven’t bought it but I want it.  Hate the wanting.  I want to not want.

The kitchen has less stuff in it but it still gets messy so fast.  I buy food that we don’t really need because I have a food obsession and often feel deprived based on the trauma of my past.  We have less dishes but still hate to wash the ones we have.  We have less bakeware – this one is hard for me as I want to buy more.  We don’t need more than 1 cookie sheet or 1 cupcake pan or more cookware than we have but I WANT it.  I am really trying to justify buying a few loaf pans but I don’t really need them.  When I was at my mom’s house I baked three delicious little loaves of bread so now I want them to bake bread at home but in reality I always have frozen bread dough but rarely do I ever make loaves of bread with it.  I use it to make rolls, or pizza, or pull apart bread or any number of things but very rarely would I make loaves of bread.

One recent purchase that I absolutely love is my rice cooker/ food steamer.  I use it frequently, it’s super easy to use and to clean and it makes more than just rice.  I made quinoa today and it turned out perfectly.

My daughter’s room

We got rid of lots in my daughter’s room but spent money upgrading her things.  We got rid of her rather large toy box and replaced it with this rather cute set of drawers which holds considerably less toys.  She is amazed at how much more room she has to play in her room.  She is spending more time playing now that she has less stuff!  The toy box she purged was one of those long outdoors storage benches made out of plastic – they hold a lot of stuff.  She is ready to get rid of it completely but I’m not.  We put it outside next to the shed and I put her roller skates, moon shoes and the fishing poles and tackle box in here.  Better than them being all scattered about.

She wasn’t ready to part with most of her toys though so I bought a large tote to store these toys in the shed until she is ready to part with them.  She was able to choose what toys went into the bins for her room and what toys went into storage.

One thing she purged from her living room was her bed frame.  strange – and sometimes i worry what people would think of my daughter’s mattresses being on the floor but she is happy with it and it makes her room look bigger.  I like it because nothing disappears under her bed anymore.  I also like it because we are not banging into the metal frame anymore.  (the polly pocket toys all fit in a bin so when her room is picked up the only toys you see are the three babies on top and the stuffed animals in her net.)  so her room bit by bit is getting to where it needs to be.

 

 

Yard Sale is 11 days away!

Man, time is ticking away fast.  Only 11 more days before this yard sale.  Feels like not enough time before this “magical” day where my wallet will be fatter and my house lighter.

My daughter and I went through her toy box, stuffed animal net and dress up clothes today.  She was able to fill a small tote with items for the sale.  I think she is finally starting to see that when there is less STUFF there is more opportunities for play.  It’s also easier to pick up and put away.  It becomes easier and easier.

Here are the items that we’ve pulled aside for the yard sale since May.  (all the yard sale stuff collection before April 30 is out in the shed already).

A small glimpse into the nightmare known as my family room.  The books and games on the shelves are not for sale but everything else pictured is going out on June 2.  I’m so excited.  Race car tracks, her dress up trunk, the kitchen set, and quite a bit more.  I purchased two under the bed totes for my daughter that will create limits – one tote for her dress up items and one tote for doll clothes.  She likes the totes and likes how easy it is for her to get to them.  She also agreed to the set limits (once the tote is full something has to go before new can come in).

I used to be so opposed to anything being under the beds.  You might not have been able to walk through the room but by golly the space under the bed would be free.  We have two totes under our bed – one for our linen and one for our daughter’s linen.  I was so opposed to this but it really helps.  If the sheets don’t fit in the totes then we have too much.  The totes also keep the linen clean and dust free until we need to change the sheets (our house gets dusty really fast).  I wish that the blankets would fit in them but it’s not quite big enough so a small laundry basket is in our closet with our extra blankets.

I’m tired of telling her no.  It’s been so difficult though because she had (has) so much stuff that she struggled with putting it away so the mess would be in every room and it would be so overwhelming.  It’s gotten so much easier as we’ve been decluttering.  I also have her help set up where the items go so she remembers.