December 11, 2019
So I got rid of about 90% of my kid’s toys today. Yep, that’s right. I threw out my kid’s toys I know I know… all that money, but to be honest it was more of a stress to constantly clean up all the mess than the money was worth. I have purged countless times over the years. We have moved 8 times in 6 years and with each move came a massive purge… only to have it build up again in some way or another.
I have begun to learn to shift my mindset not just towards “minimalism” but to the idea of living “Capsule” style in every facet of our lives. Assessing everything in my life and how the weight of all my stuff impacts my day today. I have long been a fan of the capsule wardrobe and have implemented it in my life over the past few years. However, I have let other areas of our lives gradually creep back to the overfilled, overstuffed lifestyle of the modern American culture and you know what? I’ve had enough.
The weight of “stuff” in my life is so much more than the physical things. It is how it clouds my mind and my to-do list. The more I have, the more I have to care for and pay to upkeep. That’s why I threw out my kids toys.
My kids hardly play with the 10% of the toys they own. Because they can’t even wrap their heads around all that they have. And the one time I let them get into the Amazon prime empty boxes… they played for hours. I am constantly in a battle of wanting to get rid of everything, and then wanting to buy them new things. It has been a very up and downtime for me over the past few years – struggling with mom guilt over not buying them things, either from myself or from other people – but to be honest, I am sick of caring!
I want my kids to get outside and play with sticks and rocks and their imagination! Even though I know my son would love and play with hot wheels for hours, its almost like I need to break this addiction cycle of always wanting more. He is always thinking about the next or newest car he can get and I have played right into that with him. It is an easy bribe or the easy way out to get some brownie points with my kids or a few moments of peace while they play with new toys. Throwing out my kid’s toys will help them learn how to grow their imaginations.
Yet that is not the life I want to live and not the attitude I want to cultivate in either my children or in myself. These young years are flying fast and I want to cultivate a healthy heart and attitude in my children while I still can. So throwing out my kid’s toys made sense.
I think a huge part of the cycle that often traps me is that I get rid of things only to slowly replace them with different or “better” things. SO after I throw out my kid’s toys they seem to build back up. The true freedom of the capsule lifestyle comes from embracing the idea of “de-owning” aka I don’t need to own everything that I will ever need. Borrowing or renting things that we don’t use every day is a great way to begin. For example, going to a wedding?
Rent or borrow a dress instead of buying new. Need a ladder every once and a while, make friends with a neighbor who has one and offer to lend something that you have that they might not. Which also leads into the lost art of community / neighborly living. I know I am so guilty of this. I am much too busy to strike up a conversation with my neighbor when I see them outside, but is that really the kind of life I want? My whole point here is that don’t just purge things only to let them again pile into your life. Trust me it is so easy to do. I have done it multiple times over only to end up right where I started.
Something we have been doing recently with the kids is allowing friends to borrow toys and borrowing toys in return. It is a fun way for the kids to get to play with something new, to learn to share and let go of control, and to begin curbing the need to always be the owner of more and more new toys.
I think it is also so hard around holidays and birthdays because it can be difficult to communicate this idea to those in your family who mean well and just want to give a gift, yet it ends up adding to the pile or feeding the cycle of purge and restock. I have found it helpful in these seasons to communicate that I’d really love for them to give the kids the gift of an experience instead, aka tickets to the zoo, a membership to the local science museum, an outing with that person to go see a movie or do something special. Those memories and the love that is shared end up lasting much longer than a Hotwheels track anyway.
This whole journey towards capsule/ intentional living is a constant work in progress, and I don’t know if I’ll ever actually “get there”, but a work in progress is still progress. My imperfect steps forward are still moving forward, and like I always say, it’s All or Something, not All or Nothing.
Want some Capsule inspired here gift ideas?