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Simplifying with kids
4 years ago

I just read my 30 billionth article about couples who have simplified and have gotten down to a 400 square foot apartment, yada, yada. You know the story...very inspiring, and it has gotten me onto another round of de-cluttering. Thing is, the common thread in these stories is that these are all couples with no kids, or else the kids are off to college. What do you do when you have little kids? How does that adjust your needs for space, not to mention your patience with lots of stuff--mostly provided by well meaning gift-givers at birthdays, winter holidays, or just because? This is something I deal with daily, as the mother of a 4 year-old. We live in a tiny two story condo and generally do a good job of not accumulating too much. Our daughter is starting to develop a love of re-gifting some of her stuff that she's outgrown. Still, whenever I think of getting down REALLY TINY and moving to a little apartment in the city, I have to consider that this third little person needs space too...including room to move. Anyone else dealt with this? How?

Simplifying with kids
4 years ago

Eileen,

I appreciate your post. It is very difficult to scale back with children in process. We did this when our son was young. I lost a business (wish I could say it was because we had a conscience but at that point it was just dawning) and we were forced to go in to foreclosure. I had a terrible time at first and thrashed about trying to determine what stayed and what left and mostly, what Eric would need as a youngster. We moved from a Victorian money pit to a very small home. And we all recovered. It has made us much more conscious of what is brought in, what stays and what goes. And we managed to have those painful but important boundary setting conversations with family and friends regarding gift giving. I think you are doing a great job! First off, you are conscious and that's a big thing. You encourage your daughter to re-gift - that's fabulous - what a teacher she'll be for others. And you are spending time thinking about the space that your family really needs. Be gentle with yourself....you are working with some important dynamics as a parent of a young person. My son is now 32 and living in an efficiency apartment in a large metropolitan city by choice. He reminds me from time to time that he values the experience of watching his Dad and I make tough decisions and teach ourselves a simple life. We're in our 60s now and live in a very modest small apartment. We keep to a rule - for anything (aside from groceries & undies) that comes in, three things go out. It makes us more aware of decisions in the first place and accountable for stuff that could accumulate.

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