Living with Less

Making a commitment to live with less is one of my core motherhood values. All it means to me is simply: choosing people and memories over stuff.

I don’t think anyone really intentionally chooses stuff over people, but slowly over time, stuff just happens. The “stuff” means anything you need, you want or was given to you. Before you know it, you have a house full of stuff. And every time the kids play, the stuff takes over. If this sounds familiar, I’ve been there.

We had a stuff problem somewhere around two kids. Then with the third, I never had two free hands to get rid of stuff. Eventually when the fourth came, I read Marie Kondo’s Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up and I’m embarrassed to say, I cried.

I resonated with how it would feel to have a few things and take really good care of them instead of drowning in stuff or feeling like one play session turned my living room into a game of Jumanji.

For the most part, a whole house overhaul isn’t going to fly during the holiday season. We are all just going a day at a time, managing our busy lives. But, if you take just 30 minutes a day to declutter these two categories, I think you’ll really love going into the holidays with less.

Two categories to reduce in late November:

1. Toys.

It’s almost time for many new toys. Grab a trash bag and fill it with broken pieces or any toys with no value. (Why do kids keep everything….??) Many consignment stores take used toys and will pay you cash on the spot. Clear some space for new toys by decluttering.

2. Food

My pantry gets out of control fast, especially with holiday baking or recipes out of the norm. Anything you won’t use again, anything stale, expired or just no longer appetizing should be thrown out. I’ve been known to rearrange and make sure I’m using every square inch, clearing space for hosting big holiday gatherings.

As you go throughout the holidays, you’re going to feel the pull to say yes to everything, to be more and do more. But, this isn’t the time for any of that. This is a time for people and memories over stuff. Less judging, less striving, less doing.

Living with less isn’t a black and white thing. But for me, I’ve always found such comfort in giving myself permission to do only what works for us and nothing else.

If living with less means clearing out an overstuffed closet, then we do that. If it means, saying no to holiday party invites so we can have a restful evening at home, we do that. If it means, ordering a pre-made holiday meal so that there’s less stress, we could do that. If it means using paper plates and using less dishes, then that works too.

Living with less is perhaps the simple permission to create your own definition of thriving and let go of any other standard, to live your values, and to love your family well.

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