The ease of living with less

We started with The Kid because it was easier.

His toys are all in his bedroom except for his LEGOs, which are in “the LEGO Room”—a space in the living room specifically for LEGO.

He was having trouble keeping his toys put away. LEGO were mostly in the LEGO Room but not entirely, and rarely either a total mess or all put away.

I suggested—and he agreed—that together, we would go through all of the toys in his room and pack up a bunch in a box. Not getting rid of the box, but paring down to fewer things so that they all fit easily on his shelves.

Some of the things moved on. Some got packed into the box. Each was his decision.

It’s easier to put everything away when everything has a place. And when the place is more specific than “on a shelf where there’s room.”

The box is on the top shelf in his closet. Everything else is much easier for him to manage now.

And then, the LEGO Room.

He has so many LEGOs. Many of them were already in boxes. He has a 5-cubby IKEA cabinet on its side where he keeps things he’s built. He has a train table with a LEGO top to play on, but in real life, it’s where he keeps things he’s built. The drawer under was full of loose pieces. (They used to be sorted in drawers, but he hated sorting to put away, so we did away with that and now they’re all together.)

All of the loose pieces got boxed. He went through the things he’s built (most of them just creative builds, not from kits) and decided which he was ready to take apart.* I disassembled them and put the pieces in two small boxes. Those are now the pieces he has available to play with.

He’s perfectly happy with that.

Of course, The Climbing Daddy and I have the same problem. We just have more stuff to go through.

We rearranged our bedroom and in the process, cleaned out clothes. Could we have done more? Yes. But two trash bags full of clothes and shoes was a good start. We went from 14 drawers down to 8. Got rid of a dresser.

We rearranged the office and are in the midst of purging as things are getting put away again. (I have the hardest time purging from the office. I admit that some things end up going to work and getting stored there … but rarely do I bring them back home…)

We had a dumpster in the driveway for a couple of days (roof replacement) and took advantage. Big junk in the yard and garage is gone.

As clutter gets cleaned out, it inspires more cleaning out. The tidier the house is, the better it feels.

With less stuff, there’s less clutter. There’s less to clean. There’s less to put away. There’s less to step on. There’s less to argue about. There are fewer organizing things to buy. It’s just … simpler.

(The act of going from more to less is anything but simple. Brains are funny.)

I am a reforming pack rat. I used to keep everything. My space was not often tidy, but I knew where everything was.

I still have too much, but it’s much better than it used to be and continues to get better. I feel better mentally and emotionally with less clutter and with things organized.

I would have told you before that cluttered space was how I thrived. Hard telling if I’ve changed or if I was simply wrong, but I definitely feel better in more minimalist space. Not totally empty, blank space, but definitely with less.

Rarely do I look for something that I don’t have any more. Occasionally, I’ll look and then think, “Oh, that must not have made the last cut.” And on we go. I don’t think I’ve re-bought anything that I used to own and purged, though maybe there were one or two things that I don’t recall.

One or two out of thousands. It’s worth it.


*Sometimes, we can just take a picture of a build to be able to “save” it, and then it’s OK to take apart. Works for purging other things, too. For kids and grownups alike.

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