I hate the culture of “stuff = happiness” that we are immersed in. I hate that no matter how many times I ask for a break from it, the people in our lives insist on piling my kids up with dollar store crap and disney princess crap and garage sale crap and garbage bags of unwanted handmedowns and whatever other kind of crap they can get their hands on.
My kids play with this stuff for 5 minutes, and then I spend the next 5 months picking up off of the floor where it is discarded every day like so much trash. Or is gets shoved under the couch and no one misses it. Or it breaks the day after it was received because it was so shoddily made.
In anticipation of Christmas, I cleaned house. I mean, I really cleaned house. Even though we had a garage sale this summer and even though we have taken at least two van-loads of stuff to the thrift store, I still managed to clear out 5 garbage bags full of toys, games, and stuffed animals from the girls’ rooms and the toy shelf. It took me one hour to collect that much junk from our house.
It was partly out of spite, I admit. I am so tired of being the only person who picks up the toys and makes sure the game pieces are put back with the right game and the books are placed neatly on shelves. But mostly out of frustration at the lack of space in our house with the amount of stuff that we currently have and then thinking about the stuff that would be making its way into our home once we attended the many family holiday parties.
Thing is: the kids didn’t care. They don’t want to have so much stuff to play with and take care of and clean up every day. It’s as overwhelming for them as it is for me. Eleanor actually thanked me for decluttering her room. So, instead of feeling like the meanest mom in the world, I asked myself:
What would Laura Ingalls Wilder do?
It’s so hard to imagine a childhood with just one book. One precious, well-loved doll for Christmas. But didn’t she have an amazing childhood? Would she have written an entire series of books about it otherwise?
Out with the crap, I say. We don’t need it. We don’t want it. We don’t like it. None of us do.