HOW TO: Cut Back on Accumulating ‘Stuff’ With Your Family

by , 04/11/10

getting rid of stuff, getting rid of clutter, green kids, eco kids, excess living, green kids toys, green living, green parenting, hoarding, new parenting how-to, parenting, shopping with kids, how to stop accumulating stuff, stop purchasing

Whiny, Spoiled Kids May Become Whiny, Spoiled Adults

Imagine what your child will be like as an adult. Imagine if you allowed your child to think that the best way to get what they want is to either buy it or have someone buy it for them. What if they believe that yelling or whining is the best way to get people to do as they are told? Imagine if we never taught our children how to share or give to others.  We set them up to have fewer positive relationships down the road. We set them up to be that impossible person in the office everyone finds highly annoying. And that, of course, is not our goal. So we do have to step back and think about all the stuff accumulating in our lives and whether it represents the values we are trying to teach.

getting rid of stuff, getting rid of clutter, green kids, eco kids, excess living, green kids toys, green living, green parenting, hoarding, new parenting how-to, parenting, shopping with kids, how to stop accumulating stuff, stop purchasing

Going Green Does Not Have to Equal Giving Away Your Green

One of the biggest messages in the conservation and eco-friendly communities is about teaching others to go green. Many think that going green means forking over scarce finances for a cause unrelated to our everyday survival. We have to change that mentality by showing our neighbors  and friends our green lifestyle isn’t an expensive feat. When we see the latest greatest gadget, widget, whatnot and thingamajig destined to make our life easier and our families happier, think about it before buying it. One tip for those who just love shopping, virtual shopping is a great way to get the buzz. I boast sometimes 50 items saved for later in my Amazon.com shopping cart. Some things sit there for months, a few years, because deep down, I don’t really need it or want it that badly. And when it just sits there, the need for the item slowly dissipates. And eventually, most of the items saved for later are deleted and forgotten.

getting rid of stuff, getting rid of clutter, green kids, eco kids, excess living, green kids toys, green living, green parenting, hoarding, new parenting how-to, parenting, shopping with kids, how to stop accumulating stuff, stop purchasing

How Many Homes Does Ms. Niecy Have to Visit Before We Get the Message?

We can see from the reality shows that we are a culture growing a clutter problem. We see it, we want it and we inevitably buy it. We no longer remember that we already have one just like it or that it is going to  mess with the budget if it is purchased. And the message of conservation and restraint get lost in the pile of receipts. We all have lessons to learn in the financial crisis hitting our nation in these times of recession, foreclosures and unemployment. And we all can teach our children how we cope under such stress. Get creative. We find new ways of entertaining ourselves. We give those dog-eared books another read. Make shopping outings special and unique, not an every weekend extravaganza of new stuff. In the process of removing the excess stuff cluttering our lives, our minds and our relationships with our families will improve as well. And from us, our children will be learning the lessons we want them to take into adulthood. We don’t need a ton of stuff to be happy. We just need a healthy, life-sustaining planet and each other.

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4 Responses to “HOW TO: Cut Back on Accumulating ‘Stuff’ With Your Family”

  1. anne-marie says:

    such a great article! We have three wee darlings, and these two rules preserve our sanity: the kids must donate a toy to charity to receive another, and they must contribute their allowance to any new toys they “really want”. They think twice about new toys, and any allowance they don’t spend we match and put in their bank accounts – so they learn to save as well.

  2. Francia McCormack says:

    I love that idea!

  3. sushanta says:

    What a great read!
    I am sharing this article on our Empowering World Change (an environmental awareness program) Facebook page. (http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=88208220879&ref=ts)
    I have a 9 year old and I am proud to say that he does not have a clutter of toys. Lego has been ruling favorite since he was 1 year old! We follow the same rules as Anne-Marie + additional chores to get anything. I am personally against clutter myself.
    Thanks for this article.

  4. kaisukas says:

    Anne-Marie: That’s a great idea. Friends of mine, who have already teens, used to match any allowance that the kids had saved since the last allowance day. I will surely be using the same principle once my sons are old enough to get allowance.

    We are against paying kids for doing the chores.

    As for the clutter. I do have some good rules set down, that actually work. My older son goes through all the toys that he no longer wants or plays with, before every Easter, Christmas, and Birthday. He also has set amount of bins labeled and that can only hold so many toys. My youngest is 16 months and really hasn’t received any new toys. I saw a nice set on sale at Target and I bought it for him either for Christmas or for his 2 year birthday in February but reading this article made me reconsider. Maybe I should just return it. I feel guilty not getting him anything, but I do understand that he is only 2 and won’t realize that or remember. I suppose, I’m more concerned of other parents looks on this.

    Any suggestions?

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