too much kids' stuff {day 18 of 31}

The girls and I “cleaned” their rooms Saturday. Actually, we cleaned one and started the other and died before we were done.

Here’s the scoop with our daughters’ sleeping/playing arrangements. First of all, they’re 10 (almost 11), 9, and 5 (soon-to-be-6). They all sleep together in one room. I’m not sure on the square footage, but it’s big enough for bunkbeds, a twin bed (with a narrow walking path btw them), a dresser, and not a whole lot else. On most nights, one bed is empty, because two of the three are sleeping in the same bed.

The other room (the “office”) has three desks and all their earthly belongings and is smaller than the sleeping room.

There was a short period of time where Livi (10) had her own room. And then Ava (9) took a turn. But they always end up back together. I’ll admit, I love it, but we’ll see how long it lasts. Cambodia will be good for them. Lots and lots of people share a bed “comfortably” there.

The plan is that they will sleep/read in the bedroom and do/store everything else in the office. But the bedroom had gotten overrun by stuffed animals, trash, blankets, and bits and pieces of this and that. So we cleared everything out. Piled blankets and animals on the beds. Sent the smallest children under the beds to retrieve things. Decided they could each keep 5(ish) animals in bed + one basket in the closet (for all three of them). All the rest of the stuffed animals got banished to the basement.

Hopefully, out of sight will mean out of mind, and we’ll be one step closer to downsizing the stuffed animal collection.

Vacuumed, washed sheets, emptied trash, went on to the next room, ran out of steam.

Tonight we started packing shorts/capris for Cambodia since we don’t need them any longer here. We weeded out pairs that were too snug, too worn out, too short. They’re each taking 6-7 pairs (we’ll be able to do laundry).

It definitely, absolutely helps the girls purge when they know that we have a greater purpose in life than accumulating stuff. They’re so stinking excited about Cambodia that they’d give up just about anything to get there. And I know that once they see with their own eyes the joy that kids have over there without having much at all to their names, it will impact them even more.

They are GIDDY about gathering supplies/toys for the kiddos (we scored some cool stuff at the thrift store today) and packing them all up in suitcases. (If you live close to me and have a suitcase we can borrow, that would be stellar).

And I realize you might be tempted to think my kids are some amazing breed of wonder children, but um, you would be so dead wrong. We’re trying though. To focus on the eternal, not the temporal. To care about what Jesus cares about and not what he doesn’t. And we screw up (which is nuts-too-often), we get up, dust it off, repent and move on.

We’ve been trying really hard to:

1.) Not bring any junk into the house.

2.) Find stuff used rather than buying it new.

3.) Share with sisters rather than each one having her own everything.

4.) Analyze “stage of life” pretty frequently. (Have we outgrown this?)

5.) Focus more on giving/being/doing than having/acquiring/getting.

Do you have any practical tips for controlling your kiddos’ clutter?

5 thoughts on “too much kids' stuff {day 18 of 31}

  1. Elisabeth

    Marla- you may borrow as many suitcases as you need, and I will even bring them to you! Let me know what you need, or you can come up and see the sizes and take what you want. I probably have 3 good-sized ones, and a couple of little ones. As far as too-many toys, we have hand-me-downs times 4! It’s hard to deny buying the younger ones new toys as presents, but we already have so many ! So we just keep on purging…

  2. Sharon W

    I love that your girls are all in the same room and share beds even when they don’t have to!

    I only have one toddler. From the start, we decided we weren’t going to buy loads of toys/clothes etc. And yet, somehow (through gifts and hand me downs, I suppose) she has wayyy too many toys and clothes!

    I guess it doesn’t help that I give her all kinds of empty containers (which she loves) as toys because that just adds to the mess! But, I do enjoy seeing her creativity in how she uses them.

    I have read several places to put away some toys and then rotate them so that there are less toys out all at once and your child doesn’t get tired of the ones she has. We are doing this, but still, oh, too many toys! There are toys in just about every room of our house. I just put Simplicity Parenting on hold at the library. Can’t wait to dive in!

  3. Jeanine

    So thankful for your inspiration and authenticity! I just started reading the book, Simplicity Parenting, which I think you recommended. It has really helped me to get into my daughter’s room and do some real purging, as the author, Kim John Payne, makes such a good case for simplifying to have calmer, happier, and more secure kids. I would love to hear your thoughts on this book sometime.

  4. Fiona

    We have a similarly crowded girls’ room, but only two girls, and instead of an office for them, their craft and writing stuff is in our dining area. Constant mess and too much stuff in both areas. We are actually building an extension, which is basically a bedroom for each of them and a little bathroom. Building is about to start and in my mind this is the perfect time to purge and start clear and spacious in their new rooms. Alas, they think the opposite! So on the weekend I had to resort to money, $1.00 for every grocery bagful thrown out from the dining area got them moving! But oh so much more to do and they are such hoarders! Great that Cambodia is such a motivator for your girls. I guess I need to share my vision of uncluttered space a bit more with my girls, maybe I need to find some photos on the Internet for inspiration they can relate to!

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