In last week’s blog post, I shared that in the process of minimalizing, I realized that there was a heart issue attached to our accumulation of stuff. I saw three specific areas that I had to deal with in order to build a content spirit in my kiddos and myself. To do this, we grabbed garbage bags and dove in.
How to Minimalize
Using the KonMari method as our guide, we each chose a category to begin. For example, Sweet Pea gathered all of her dolls and doll supplies. Bubs gathered all of the Nerf guns and bullets strung throughout the house. From there we decided which items to keep, throw away, or give away.
I had the children touch each item and tell me if they wanted to keep it. Some of the items were easy and they knew immediately what they wanted to do. Other items were harder to determine the outcome.
With each item we discussed the reason why the child wanted to keep it.
1. Sparks Joy
According to the KonMari method, you keep things that spark joy. For us, these are sentimental items or toys that they enjoy playing with.
2. Useful Items
These are the items that we keep because they are useful. A problem develops when you keep way more than can ever be used. This is where the “organize by category, not by room” comes into play. By collecting all of the items in the same category, we were able to decide a logical amount of the item to keep.
For example, it is good to keep some mailing envelopes. But once I gathered all of my collection, I realized that there is no need to keep 40 10″ x 12″ manila envelopes. Another example is disposable containers. I keep a box of plastic containers so I have a selection for giving food to neighbors or families in our church. Once the box is full, no more are kept. Even though collected for the right reason, too many become a burden and space consumer.
And because one of my children finds everything useful, I asked him to give me specific ways that he would use the item before it was kept.
3. Blessing Others
When the child was unsure about an item, we discussed if it could be used to bless others. Could giving the item away bring someone joy? This was especially helpful with toys. Sometimes the child had a specific person in mind. Sometimes we placed it in the donate pile for a child we didn’t know.
4. Desiring To Keep Everything
Lately this verse has been coming to mind.
…From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked. Luke 12:48
I discovered that this verse fits into minimalizing. I know which child can handle more and which child can not be responsible with a lot of things. It is too much for him to manage. He gets overwhelmed with stuff and his lack of maturity and organizational skills make it impossible for him to organize it.
For example, I gave Little Man a small wooden box to keep his personal items in. Because he wanted to keep everything yet was unable to manage his things, I told him he could keep whatever fit in the box. Everything else would be given away. This has made it easier for him to clean up.
5. Ultimate Question
While we looked for joy in what we kept, the ultimate question was, “Does this item help me bring glory to God?”
Sweet Pea is sometimes tempted to hid things instead of put them away correctly. While cleaning out her bedroom, I discussed with her how we need to get rid of the temptation to be lazy. One way to do this is minimalize her bedroom so she doesn’t have to manage as much stuff. She gets overwhelmed and tired managing everything.
What Minimalization Has Given Me
Simplicity is a wonderful thing. We have gained so much…
We aren’t being ruled by our stuff.
Instead of having to constantly pick up an abundance of stuff, we have time to do what is more important.
Our joy is increased because our home and the items in it are not burdens.
How about you? Are you ready to gain freedom, time, and joy?
Don’t wait. I’d love to hear about your journey!
Character training teaches children the “why’s” instead of “because I said so” thus allowing the child to transfer learning from one situation to another. Contentment is just one of the character traits that we desire our children to have. But there are others.
Available to order on the ABCJLM website for only $5 as a digital download, the 10-page Character Training printable combines 20 character traits, definitions, opposite meanings, and Bible verses on posters and individual cards. Use with the 4 Year Curriculum, in Teachable Moments, or in character training with children ages 3 to pre-teen. Church and preschool Licenses also available for printables.
Allie Elliott says
Your posts on minimalization are extremely helpful! We are currently in the process of minimizing our “stuff”…we are in the process of renovating much of our home, so it’s the perfect time to go through the material things we don’t need or want & get rid of them. I have a hard time getting rid of things…but I’m going to keep the strategies you mentioned in the forefront of my mind as we move forward!! Thank you!
Yeah! So glad that it was helpful. Be sure to share what you learn along the way too.
I couldn’t agree more with the benefits of minimizing! We started minimizing about a year ago and it has changed our lives in many ways. I read Marie Kondo’s book and found it to be really helpful for me being terrible at organizing and figuring out how to tackle things of that magnitude. I think the verse in Luke 12:48 rings true. And gave me more motivation to go through the kid’s stuff again. When it comes to the kids I’ve found that learning how to part with things takes time. We have probably gone through their stuff 4 times since we begun. At first they didn’t part with much and would keep things that sat at the bottom of the toy bin for months or always lost under the couch for no really good reason. I didn’t prod beyond identifying that it was unused then going with their choice. But as we have tackled the mess each time I have been surprised at the choices they have made to part with stuff as it becomes more and more. This last time my boys, age 6, were eager, understood that it was easier to clean up when they didn’t have so much, with my help were sorting and making keep or get rid of it choices on their own and AND got rid of about 90% of what they really don’t use or even look at. My 3 yo has a ways to go but is learning. But I am so thankful they are able to learn at this age how to part with stuff they should and learn how to take care of it. I’ve also found it to be easier for me too!
I am happy to hear that it has gotten easier for your kiddos! Thanks for sharing!