Friday, May 24, 2013


Just one of the many loads we have donated.
I have learned a valuable lesson this week as I have had to inventory every single item in our apartment to prepare for it to be shipped back to the US. I dreaded this, even more so than doing it for our home just two short years ago. I procrastinated it as much as I could. 

Nope, the lesson was not about procrastination. . . still waiting to learn that one. The lesson was on simplifying. I really thought we had simplified when we scaled back from our 3,400 sq ft home to our tiny city apartment. But when I went through each room with each kid I could visibly see the load lifting from their shoulders as we added to the donation pile. It was mostly clothes and, yes, there were some sentimental goodbyes (especially for me realizing my kids are not little anymore, what else is new?).

It kind of reminds me of when we only eat what is in the front of our pantry and then realize there is good stuff toward the back. Both of my kids were only wearing the same shirts and shorts because it was the first items they could see when faced with the decision of what to wear. When we inventoried we also had to sort between "shipment" and "suitcase". The suitcase items were all things we needed in our last three weeks here in Beijing and at least eight weeks before our shipment arrives on the other end. 

The bottom line. . . the less clothes they have to choose from the more energized and diverse they have felt about their decisions, it seems strange.  It made me think that when we offer our children the world does it complicate and overwhelm things? Think of our children's toy rooms that are full of entertainment yet they only go back to the same few things. 

Does all of our "stuff" add stress to our lives instead of relief? After living for almost two years with only the things we use on a daily basis, I know the answer is YES. 

But. . . I think it is our human nature to gather and collect. I admit I cannot wait for the treasure trove awaiting me when our giant storage unit is delivered to wherever we will end up. I'd like to fight the feeling as much as I can.
What do you think? 
Collect or Simplify?


Jen said...

Simplify, simplify, simplify! I am a military spouse, about to move (again). I always know when it's time to clean out my kids' toys when they can't figure out what to play or how to put things away. It's amazing how much more creative they are when things are streamlined!

Liz R. said...

i think it is in our mormon-preper nature to collect things for the what-if. ;)