Too Much Stuff isn’t Good for Cubs

I’m still de-cluttering, my Gentle Reader. I wish I would have taken the time to weigh each bag of trash that I’ve tossed from our (groaning) house each day, the direct result of my 20-minute Lenten De-cluttering Challenge. Also I wish I would have weighed each box of STUFF that I’ve packed up to take to the City Mission in Lincoln. I think by now that the number of pounds that I’ve bagged and boxed up and dragged and carried out of the house would probably be pretty impressive. In just 20 minutes a day, honest.

I’m not bragging. Wait. Yes, I am. Okay, anyway, just a little. Oh well.

I can tell you right now, that after just a week and a half of de-cluttering a mere 20 minutes a day: my heart feels lighter. I feel a little less stressed, a bit more relaxed in my home. Little peeks at the specific places that I’ve de-cluttered–the medicine cabinet, the junk drawer, little Mack’s room, my desk, and that dumping spot–make me smile. :) <–like this, ya’all

Smiling instead of groaning, or blushing with embarrassment, is good. It’s very good.

When our older kids were little, we read a lot of Berenstain Bears books. In fact, there are several 0f them that I can still quote, word for word. One that Bethie loved for me to read to her, over and over and over again, was “Too Much Birthday.”

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In the story, Papa and Mama bear throw a very elaborate birthday party for Sister, who gets overwhelmed by all the commotion and the guests and the gifts and the activities, and she loses it. Mama concludes (one thing that I never appreciated about those books was that Mama always “got it,” and Papa always was portrayed as a bit of a doofus: it was Papa, for example, who ordered the ponies, and that is probably why Bethie liked this books so much: the ponies) that “too much excitement isn’t good for cubs.”

I will go on record right here with this sage observation: Mama Bear was right. Too much excitement isn’t good for cubs, and too much stuff isn’t good for cubs, either.

I ran across this really wonderful blog post about how entitled many children, who live with parents who provide their every wish, tend to be, and how it makes them into unappreciative, spoiled brats. The author, Kristen, who writes the excellent parenting blog “We are THAT family . . . you know the ones” lists 9 things that parents should get rid of to help their kids. Click here if you’d like to read the post. I recommend it, especially if you find yourself occasionally wondering who your kids are, and why sometimes they seem overly demanding and unappreciative, and more importantly, what you can do about it.

We live in an affluent age, many of us, anyway, in our part of the world. We all have expensive electronics gadgets that a generation ago didn’t even exist. No matter how much income your family might pull in, we all have a T.V. and a car and running water and more STUFF than we can take care of. We have access to enough cheap food to make many of us fat. We are “the wealthy.”

Even a generation ago, things were different for parents and for kids. I would imagine that it wasn’t easy for my parents to not overindulge us kids, because my Dad owned a drug store and all my friends just assumed that I could waltz in there and get everything–cherry phosphates, candy, fireworks, toys, books, magazines–just by asking. But no. If there was something we wanted, Dad would give us after school jobs and we’d earn the money to earn it. We grew up with the knowledge that if you wanted something in life, you really were going to have to earn it. You were going to have to work for it, because even if your dad was perceived as the rich businessman in town, he wasn’t going to just hand over everything you wanted.

Even if it meant that our parents might have seemed mean and selfish, it really just meant that they cared for our long-term character and development. I do get this now, though probably I didn’t when I was a kid. Mom and Dad had the end result in mind: they didn’t want us to grow up to be selfish, unappreciative, spoiled brats. They wanted us to know the meaning, and the satisfaction, of work.

I earned my first record player by working at the drug store to pay for it. Also, my first 10-speed bike, and my first (and only!) sewing machine. I still have these things, well, not the bike–it was stolen, alas.

But today is a different day. Now back to the de-cluttering. I have this feeling that the more stuff that we get rid of, the more careful little Mack and Amalia will be with their things. And maybe they’ll appreciate what they have a bit more. We all just have too much right now. It’s tough to keep all that stuff picked up and put away. But as we weed out what we don’t really need or use any longer, it makes it easier to take care of the things that we do really use and need.

As I keep to the de-cluttering, and as I limit the time that I allow myself to pore over boxes and drawers and rooms full of clutter, I become less attached to the STUFF and it’s easier and easier to just toss stuff I don’t need into the donation box and the trash can. The key, for me, if just not to think too hard about it. And to keep in mind what I’d rather be doing, which is–of course–planting tomato seeds. :)

There are just too many things. Life is too short!

So: here are the two challenges for the next couple of days:

Challenge #1: Clean out a tricky closet.

Do you have a tricky closet? Do you have a closet that just doesn’t quite cut it? Perhaps it’s located in a silly spot for a closet, or maybe it’s just way too small for what you’re trying to do with it. I have a tricky closet, in the kitchen. It’s narrow, and very deep. It was built under our attic stairs. It would easily house a few cleaning supplies: the broom, a mop, maybe a few egg cartons. But instead, we’ve got it stuffed full: Wal-Mart bags. Cases of pop. Bags of egg cartons. Paper grocery bags. And whatnot. Lots and lots of whatnot. Wanna see it?

Though it maketh me blush, yea verily, I’ll show it to you:

Before:

Yikes! Even Ollie is a bit disturbed by this mess.

Yikes! Even Ollie is a bit disturbed by this mess.

Challenge #2: The Game Cabinet.

Oh, geez. This is a tough one. The games. We’ve been parents, you know, for a lotta years. We’ve been playing games, and collecting games, ever since Matthew was a little squirt. Many of these games just pull at my heartstrings, because I have memories of playing them with my kids. But there are too many. And it is a MESS. This “before” picture doesn’t even really do it justice, and there’s a lower cabinet that I didn’t take a picture of (cough) and we’re going to tackle it, too.

de-cluttering challenge

I’m going to grab Amalia and little Mack and I’ll set the timer (although I know that that poses quite a risk) and we’ll pull everything out, toss what we’ll never ever play with again, and just keep the good stuff.

Ready? Here we go . . .

I’m linking up with the linky-link Barn Hop over at The Prairie Homestead. Wanna tag along?

 

 

But what we have is an entire generation of young adults who got everything they ever wanted with little or no work; we have a cultural norm and it’s a problem.

Because reality is, life doesn’t give us everything we want. We don’t always get the best jobs or a job at all. We don’t always have someone rescue us when we have a bad day or replace our boss just because we don’t like them. We can’t always have what we want when we want it. We aren’t always rewarded in life.

 

- See more at: http://wearethatfamily.com/2014/03/9-things-we-should-get-rid-of-to-help-our-kids/comment-page-1/#comment-1141578

But what we have is an entire generation of young adults who got everything they ever wanted with little or no work; we have a cultural norm and it’s a problem.

Because reality is, life doesn’t give us everything we want. We don’t always get the best jobs or a job at all. We don’t always have someone rescue us when we have a bad day or replace our boss just because we don’t like them. We can’t always have what we want when we want it. We aren’t always rewarded in life.

 

- See more at: http://wearethatfamily.com/2014/03/9-things-we-should-get-rid-of-to-help-our-kids/comment-page-1/#comment-1141578

12 thoughts on “Too Much Stuff isn’t Good for Cubs

  1. Caroline

    De-cluttering is a beautiful thing and something I do all the time. The older I get the less attached I become to stuff and the more I get rid of. I think the lessons you are teaching your kids are great and priceless. Keep up the great work and thanks for sharing!

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Caroline, I’ve discovered that the more I TOSS, the less I feel attached to stuff. And I start to wonder why I hung on to so much for so long. :(

  2. Alana(@RamblinGarden)

    Everyone this morning was talking about a fire in a neighboring village to us – a house fire that started in the basement but quickly spread. The house ended up a probable total loss because the occupants were hoarders – the rooms were literally filled from floor to ceiling with stuff, and the firemen couldn’t maneuver properly. Thankfully, the middle aged couple who lived in the house got out. Now, you are not a hoarder and I am not, either – but this is the end result, to the extreme, of the harm “too much stuff” can cause. Scary. I am visiting my mother in law tomorrow, so won’t be joining your challenge – but I’m thinking! I’m thinking!
    Alana(@RamblinGarden) recently posted…Winter Wonders – Winter’s Broken HeartMy Profile

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Yikes! I’ve heard of these cases before, Alana, and I’m not THAT bad, but still bad enough. Blessings on your trip to visit your mother-in-law.

  3. Susan

    As a work from home mom, I agree that clutter can be a number one enemy. Setting up a specific time to declutter sounds like a winner. I also agree with your comments about the entitled generation. We do our children no favor by giving them everything.

    My parents owned a cafe so I understand what you mean about your friends expecting special treats and thinking you had it made. I saw it as my parents always having to work and having very little family time.

    I think decluttering and living a simple life is a wonderful lifestyle. It helps you put things in perspective and I look forward to decluttering too.
    Susan recently posted…Why We Need To Make Eye Contact With OthersMy Profile

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      THank you, Susan. I find that it’s much easier to do just a bit every day, rather than try to do the whole house in one frantic marathon of de-cluttering!

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