Friday, September 19, 2014

Read a Book: Clutterfree With Kids by Joshua Becker {Book Review}

*This post contains affiliate links. I have not received compensation for this review nor was it requested of me to do so. All opinions are my own.*

I saw someone mention this book, but I cannot remember where. So I decided to pick up a digital copy for the Kindle app on my phone and see what it was about. I know that I could use some help cleaning up, organizing and de-cluttering my home.  Clutterfree with Kids: Change your thinking. Discover new habits. Free your home is about minimalism, not just de-cluttering but about living with less. This book is written by the man behind Becoming Minimalist and his other book Simplify (2.99 for the kindle version right now).   It's about living with simplicity and helping your kids to do so as well.

At first the beginning of the book (the first 1/3) focuses on the benefits of living with less. I know I have accumulated more stuff than necessary. The points that the author makes towards living with less make complete sense. That with less stuff, you spend less time organizing, cleaning, and maintaining said stuff and more time doing things you enjoy doing. I know I would love to spend less time organizing stuff and more time sewing, or playing with my kids!

The chapters are set up nicely with a story that pertains to the subject (toys, pictures, collections, etc) where a person makes a change to live with less. Brief, but gets the point across that there are different reasons for people to take a step towards minimalism. It helps to connect to the process of how to minimize the contents.

Then it gets into the nitty gritty of how to go through things as almost a step by step process. I say almost a step by step process because it is not quite a step by step process. It's more like a series of questions and guidelines to base your needs off of and make your own decisions on how to declutter and de-own. In the section about clothes it mentions project 333 where you limit yourself to 33 articles of clothing for 3 months (don't worry, there are exceptions).  Or the craft room and my fabric supply would be a beneficial place to go through (the opening story for collections is about a knitter and her yarn... close enough!). But, baby steps. I'd rather start with my clothes instead.

As I think about this book, and share my findings with friends, I can only think about the difficulty. Sure, I have started going through and purging damaged items in my sock drawer. I've removed clothing articles that no longer fit me (they are now sitting in a re-purpose pile in the craft room). But, I am horrible at comparison and fall prey to envy often. It's something I am working on.

I still need to get rid of stuff. Several months ago, prior to reading the book, my son and I had a game of tug-o-war about cleaning up toys. After an entire day of making requests, spending time in the corner and more requests, toys got 'taken away'. When this happens, they need to be earned back. Needless to say, most of the toys are not yet earned back. Seriously, that's a lot of toys! And it isn't even all of them!

The Berry Bunch: Read a Book: Clutterfree With Kids by Joshua Becker {Book Review}

You can imagine what his room looked like when we took all those toys down and put them in his room. Can we say overwhelmed child?

This took a while. We got a box for trash and a box for toys to get rid of and started going through them. There is probably a lot more toys we can get rid of that are too young for little man, but a baby wipes box full of broken toys and trash and a huge box that held his desk/easel full of baby toys is not too bad.

One of the biggest helps is having a place for toys. we are still working on a designated place for some toys, but now it is not as much of a fight to get him to clean his room. And, he is even earning a commission for it (that is based on another book to be reviewed later).... But seriously, so much better than when we started! Still have a ways to go but already we are feeling better. Even little man is proud of his hard work when he cleans his room.

I probably would have waited to start going through the toys until they were taking over our entire house. Just looking at this picture is giving me motivation to tackle baby girl's room!  We just have so much stuff. But, we are slowly working our way through it all.

With having developed a better way of budgeting, and us working on eliminating debt, I know that stuff is a bit of a road block for us. This book provides a nice stepping stone with questions to ask yourself as a you prepare to make a purchase, tips for controlling clutter like having designated spaces for stuff (I don't think an old fishtank stand counts as in the first picture of little man's toys), and advise for overcoming envy and comparison. It also gives some lee-way and understanding that one person's version of minimalism may not be exactly the same as another person's.

Check out his books Clutterfree with Kids: Change your thinking. Discover new habits. Free your home or his other book Simplify  and tell me what you think. Was it helpful for you?

Here is to working on living simply. Living within our means and working on having our children growing up with a sense of gratitude without a sense of entitlement.

Live Well,

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