From time to time I mention a decluttering project. I say I want to get rid of a large percentage of what we own. I say visual clutter makes me anxious and stressed.
But there are a few things I have a hard time giving away.
1.| Things that were painfully expensive for us to buy and required sacrifice.
2.| Things that have deep sentimental value.
3.| Things that recall a sweet era of our life as a family.
I’m pushing myself to let go of homeschooling tools and children’s books. This is hard because these things fit in all three of the categories above. But I have boxes of books and cabinets full of supplies and tools (have I mentioned my love for math manipulatives?); I need to let most of it go.
Yesterday I dropped off a bag of homeschooling items to a young family, and before I was even home, the children were playing with them. The mom sent me this picture the next day.
Homeschooling represents a big part of my life as a mother. Until we adopted, we exclusively homeschooled. It became apparent that it wasn’t the best educational method for our new children and we took our first steps into school.
I’ll be honest, I grieved. Homeschooling was a key part of our family culture and it deeply pained me to let it go.
Since then we’ve done homeschool, private school, charter school, and public school; usually a combination. Currently, my youngest five all attend public school.
What about my grandchildren? This question trips me up.
First of all, I don’t have any yet. Secondly, if my grandchildren need something I’ve given away, I can probably buy a replacement.
Which takes me back to what I wrote above, “…before I was even home, the children were playing with them.”
I can save things for the future, or children can enjoy them today. I choose smiles over boxes in my garage.
Saving things without a solid plan for when they’ll be used is rooted in fear – fear that there won’t be enough, fear I’ll never have this item again, fear that God won’t provide.
As I write, I see how ridiculous this is. Do I really need to worry about whether God will provide American Girl books for my granddaughters to enjoy when those granddaughters don’t exist yet?
I’ve been checking in with my adult kids as I declutter. For instance, I asked my older girls if they were okay with me giving away their collection of American Girl books. One of them said, “Be free. Let them go.” Another said, “I might like a couple of special ones.”
We settled on saving the dolls and letting go of all books except a few special ones. Perhaps I should let go of the dolls, but they fit in one box and maybe I’ll have granddaughters who think it’s really special to play with them at my house. I may revisit that, but for now, I’m content with the decision.
Tell me, what do you have stored in boxes that a child could enjoy today? Can you choose smiles over boxes?