Category Archives: Minimalism

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Sister Bedroom – 3 girls in a 10X10 room

As we talked about our new house, one definite was that it was time for the 3 girls to have their own room.

They share a 10X10 room which houses all their clothes, a reading spot, (usually) 3 girls sleeping (though the 22 month old is temporarily sleeping in the play room), and their toy baskets of favorite toys.

Colors:

I chose some consistent neutrals such as the white furniture (that I hope will stay constant despite their changing tastes.)

They chose their wall colors (though I admit – I got the lightest and most neutrally tinted colors I could convince them of). The psychological effects of colors is a super interesting study, and I wanted calming warm tints in with their color choices for the simple pragmatic reason that they’d be more cheerful!

They also have their fun bedding from grandma and picked their colors on their baskets.

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Organizing:

Their clothes all fit in the closet.photo 2

  • The dresser holds diaper supplies in the top drawer, socks and undergarments in the second drawer and PJs in the bottom drawer.
  • The baskets hold their play clothes and shoes
  • Their sweatshirts hang on hooks on the side of the dresser and side of the closet

Their favorite toys are in the baskets at the end of their beds and they have to keep their ‘favorite’ toys down in number to fit in the baskets. (Yes, I do have to confiscate the baskets some nights because as I tell them, they are ‘abusing the privilege of having their toys baskets in their beds …”)

Their Own Spaces:

The picture holders above their beds allow them a spot to . (Refer to article on how we made them and cost break-down HERE)photo 3

Each girl gets her own favorite toy basket and no one is allowed in anyone else’s bed without her that person’s permission. (Not that that always happens, but we are working on enforcing the right to personal property…)

The two older girls are religious about their favorite colors right now, and the baby pointed to the yellow paper when I gave her a choice of colors – so that’s how we got purple, pink, and yellow.

Themes:

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SISTERS became the main theme because they are all learning to be thankful for each other right now. (Yes. We totally did a ‘photo shoot’ for the pictures in their room. It was a perfect Friday afternoon when we were supposed to be doing other things)

Butterflies because I saw this super cute idea of paper butterflies flying around the room. (Isn’t it CUTE!!??)

And yes…I talked the girls into the themes. If they’d had free reign, they would have picked

‘princesses.’ I feel like one of the hardest things as a parent is to allow them to be themselves while directing them to be more. 

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They play princesses, make up stories about princesses, save up (usually) for princess dolls, and beg to watch princess movies.(And my kids watch a grand total of 1-2 movies a week so it’s not like they are getting a ton of influence.) I decided that a room that surrounds them with beauty – simply because it’s objectively beautiful and not necessarily magical or royal would be a good reminder that they don’t need to be princesses to be beautiful. I also wanted to play up the beauty of sisterhood, unity, and family love.

The room is usually light filled, and they do spend a lot of time in their. I hope they have a lot of great memories :-)

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- Verity

Minimize Maximize

Raising Lights: Minimizing the Wants to Maximize the Needs

Beyond salvation and a godly marriage, my children are the greatest gifts I have ever been given.

Sometimes it makes me totally speechless how amazing it is to be their mom. To watch them grow, discover, and become men and women of God.

It awes me beyond words that before the foundations of the earth, God had a plan for each of them – to play a part in His eternal story – and that through these little ones, He will raise up the next generation of Christ-fearing men and women.

They are the greatest thing I will leave behind. My heritage – to live on decades and even centuries after I am in Heaven.

As their mom, I want to open every door and opportunity possible. I want to give them every tool they could ever need.

However, (like most of us) I have a limited amount of energy and an even more limited budget.

Having limited resources is not a bad thing; It is an opportunity to choose best over secondary.

It’s a chance for us as parents to stand back and say ” I cannot give my children ‘everything,’ but I can give them what’s important – so what is important?”

And this opportunity – brought on by a tight budget and limited energy – creates the need for purposeful and thoughtful parenting.

I’ve needed to think A LOT about what my children’s most important needs are – and what the ‘needs’ are that I’ve simply perceived based on the loves I’ve adopted from society.

With everything, you need to minimize things – in order to maximize the pursuit of what you value.

No great thing is achieved without great sacrifice.

I want to make sure that the things I’m sacrificing are not the real needs but the extras that I’ve simply been perceiving as ‘needs.’

Example: Our family budget is such that I am able to stay at home and be with my children – at the cost of living in a small house, shopping at Goodwill and limiting trips to business and family.

This is hard for me sometimes as I feel like I would like to give my children ‘better.’

A society that measures ones’ worth by their designer clothes and house screams at me that my children should be wearing Tommy Hilfiger, each have their own room, and be enrolled in expensive dance lessons.

But then I re-evaluate.

I even go write lists about what my children ‘need’ so that I can read it and remember what I need to minimize and what I need to maximize.image

More then being known as kids who have nice clothes and cool rooms, I want my kids’ character to shine as lights.

  • I want my children to be thankful, be diligent, and be good at getting along with others.

A shared room makes them learn to share, clean up, and be patient with each other.

(My limited resources are not hindering my most important tool I want to give them (good character). Their less-than-perfect situation is HELPING with my biggest goal for them!!)

  • I want my children to learn to be good stewards.

Because of our low budget, they are already learning about buying things that are a good value and a good price.

  • I want my children to be content.image

There are physical things I’ve determined each of my children will always have no matter what.

(They each have their own toy basket for their special toys and a different basket for own clothes. They each have their own bed to go and read and be alone. They each have scheduled ‘dates’ with my husband and with me. Soon they will each have their own desk to get their homework done in a designated quiet room. They each cover the same school material every year from 2 years up and each have that daily alone time with me.)

But for all the society – ordained ‘needs,’  they have been learning to be content on far less then society’s representation of the ‘ideal,’ and that has actually helped with their character training not hindered it.

  • I want my children to work for what they want.

The life tools that will help them most to become successful adults come through struggle and hard work.

Fortitude, discipline, and courage can only come through stretching situations. I don’t need a ton of resources to teach them that.

 

My children will not be getting very high allowances in high school. But I do plan on helping them start their own little businesses on Etsy or trying lawn/cleaning/babysitting services to neighbors. They will learn about business planning, target audiences and marketing, and they will learn how to work with people and be worthy of their wages.

And yes, (addressing one of the biggest questions people ask parents with limited resources) we will not be able to pay for our children’s entire college education.

(At least I doubt we will.)

But I am a firm believer in students having to pay at least part of their own way.

While we do have plans in play to provide as much as half of their education costs, much of their education will be paid for by their own sweat.

Why is that a good thing? When they finish college, they will actually have  job experience on their resume and will appreciate the degree that they had to sacrifice for, work for, and fight for.

My parents could have afforded to pay for my entire education. I am glad they didn’t. They paid for half, and I paid for the rest – sometimes easing my financial burden by academic scholarships or less expensive correspondence classes. I had to sit out of college two semesters to work, worked every every summer and almost every semester and used my entire high school savings as well.

I learned to covet that degree and when I was in that classroom, I hung on every word the teachers taught. I had to work for the thing I wanted and never took it lightly.

And already I am already trying to teach my children that mindset. When they want a toy at Walmart, I give them jobs to earn it. Even at 3 and 4 they are learning to work for things and, in the safety of home, learning money sense.

  • MOST IMPORTANTLY, I want my children to define themselves and their worth by their identity in Christ.image

And that once again gets back to focus. If my focus is on Christ, then I can learn to look past our clothes and house and see that we are precious in His plan.

With one look at His awesome majesty, I can clear away the clutter of society’s perceptions of ‘needs’ – and recognize that we were bought for an unfathomable price.

When my focus is turned to my identity in Him, His light shines on those perceived needs and reveals them to be the shallow kitsch that they are.

Then I’m free to pursue the real needs – Him – and teaching my children about Him and the glorious identity they can find in Him.

They do not need a nice house or name brand clothes to help them succeed.

They need a mama who puts Christ first and, looking through His glory can minimize the distractions and maximize the pursuit of real needs – helping her children to know Christ and learning to pursue Him.

-Verity

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Decluttering the Kids’ Room for Christmas! :-)

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It is amazing the difference of focus!

EXAMPLE: I am not a huge fan of cleaning – but if I get a brand new scented candle and focus on  displaying it on a clean table in a clean house … Well, that changes everything!

I clean my house in record time and light that thing with pride. ;-)

Kids are the same way :-)

So, in the easiest indeaver yet, the kids helped me clear out the extras in their room to make room for Christmas presents. (BOY, were they excited to get rid of stuff!!)

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(I think this will be normal thing for us each year! What a great excuse to clear out.)

Here’s everything we cleared from their room. :-) (A lot of it was just out of place, but some will be donated.)

Focusing on the future is my approach to decluttering in general. (And a lot of areas in life).

We get rid of things to make room for the things we want in our lives (whether it’s goals, items, responsibilities, people).

The FOCUS should NEVER be on the clutter – that is the past – past, hopes, objects, and identities.

The focus needs to be on what we are walking toward. (The relationships that we want more time for, the career goals, the ministries, the hobbies…)

I also took the time to apply some of my favorite Julie Morgenstern organizing techniques!

She suggests evaluating a room – then determining what IS working and what is NOT working.

What WAS working:

1. 4 kids’ favorite toys and almost all their clothes in one closet using baskets and shelves.

Working great!!!! :-) Very little clutter there. Easy to maintain and keep up.

2. Top Two Drawers of the Diaper Changing Station – (almost) perfectly organized and contained. Rarely got out of hand- even on our craziest days.

What was NOT working:

I’d noticed that despite the small quarters, 90 % of clutter gathered in ONE spot – right in front of the bed. That told me that the problems were probably right there. Here were the problems.

1. Overstuffed PJ drawer

2. One broken stuffed animal that was spreading

imagestuffing everywhere (Duck tape should do it…right?)

3. And one organizing system that was not working.  (A box with a lid under the bed for my son’s toy swords. He was so responsible with his basket in the closet that we let him have a second toy box in the room. At first he did well putting his toys away, but when we added the lid,  it became too hard to pull the box all the way out and put toys away – [especially since clean-up happens with 4 littles and a mom in the SAME room] so the lid will need to be take off for a while. Then he can just toss his swords in without pulling the box out.)

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Here it is! Finished product!

Decluttered – Check!

Problem Solved – Check!

(And the kids don’t know it, but for Christmas, I’m going to add all the castle decorations I’ve been collecting for them. Tune in for that in a couple weeks! :-) )

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So all set for Christmas!

How is your pre-Christmas decluttering going? (If you don’t have much time, grab a box and spend ten minutes grabbing garbage and donations. It is SO MUCH more fun to declutter with Christmast just 2 days away!)

- Verity

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Thanksgiving Then and Now

1621  53 immigrants (called pilgrims) and 90 indians celebrated the first Thanksgiving.

Days of thanks, celebration, and prayer to God were a regular practice among the pilgrims, but this was the first official celebration on American soil.

And this spirit of gratitude is throughout our history.

1774- 1789  “National days of prayer, humiliation, and thanksgiving” were regularly instituted by the continental congress.

1861   Abraham Lincoln declared the holiday of Thankgiving proclaiming the need to remember “the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.”

Today: Stores this year are opening their major sales as early as 4:00 PM on Thankgiving Day. Shoppers will have to leave time with family, time to reflect, time to be THANKFUL to go after deals.

So Thanksgiving this year will have hoards of Americans racing after what they want rather than pausing in “prayer, humiliation, and thanksgiving”

I DON”T actually blame the businesses. As a small business owner, I know what it’s like to  come up with deals just to survive.

I blame US.

I blame we Americans who have changed from WORSHIPPERS to CONSUMERS.

From Thanks-givers to Stuff-getters.

When a store says they are opening on Thanksgiving day. WE, Americans should be outraged, but instead we move our dinner up – so we can race out the door to save $35 on a blue-ray player, $10 on an Elsa doll or $25 on a TV wall mount.

We willingly sacrifice the time we’ve set aside to THANK for WANT.

Ultimately, the success of the Thanksgiving sales show what we Americans serve.

We serve our true master – Stuff – and pledge our first fruits to get it.

This is what we’ve become.

How different the first immigrants were from us.

They sacrificed everything to be here – and willingly thanked God that he had provided the bare necessities – let alone deals on flat screen TVs and Barbie Dream houses.

A few days ago I caught a glimpse of what we must look like to a modern day immigrant.

I was talking to an immigrant friend from Germany.

Immigrating has never been easy, and today that hasn’t changed. She, her husband, and their children became citizens, have worked hard (At Walmart jobs), and are trying to put him through school for a brighter tomorrow.

And so here is her 7th Thanksgiving as an American. It is not a time of thankfulness and prayer. She and her husband will both be working through Thanksgiving, Black Friday and the whole weekend.

When she told me this,  I opened my mouth to say something about holiday shopping boosting the economy, but I stopped.

I looked at her tired face.

She had sacrificed everything to come to America because it boasted of freedom and prosperity – yet where would she be on Thanksgiving – the day we have set aside to celebrate the prosperity God has given us and THANK Him?

She would be watching us all grab for more.

For just a second this glimpse into a modern day immigrant gripped me.

For just a second the view of my own taken-for-granted life of privilege left me speechless.

“I’ll be praying for you.” I said weakly.

I will be praying for her, and I don’t plan to be part of the hoards shopping on Thanksgiving either.

I hope to spend my Thanksgiving doing what the first immigrants did – giving thanks.

-Verity

Our Minimalist Toddler Closet

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We are prime candidates for a minimalist toddler closet!

Soon we will have 4 children in a 10X10 room!

(I’m so excited, and so are they! They love the idea of the baby sleeping in their room with them!)

In preparation, I made some major changes into their closet.

Our old closet was really cute but impractical and definitely NOT a minimalist toddler closet.

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The new closet has 9 identical baskets.

- Each Child Has Their Own Toy Basket

- Each Child Has Their Own Clothes Basket

- A Joint Shoe Basket

(The 3 Drawer Dresser has a diaper/cream drawer, joint sock drawer, and joint pajama drawer. Sunday clothes are hung on the child-sized fuzzy hangers, each child has a hook on the left to hang 2 hoodies)

I’ve become very obsessed with hyacinth baskets. Their metal frames are durable, but the hyacinth weave is light-weight enough for the kids to lift easily. (Even though the five-year-old’s toy basket is kept above his head, he can lift it down multiple times a day.)

The kids helped put up the shelving, and they enjoyed filling up their new baskets.

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Each child has about 5 play outfits so there was plenty of space.

When we fold clothes I can bring them out to the living room where we are folding together, and the kids can help put their clothes into the baskets.

photo 5So that is our new system. It’s not really the classic system you see, but it is working perfectly for us, and I would say that it is minimalist! Toddler closets are a fun project too, and it was fun to have the kids help! :-)

-Verity

 

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Balanced Minimalism

For all of us minimalist enthusiasts who have pursued minimalism full force – and then found ourselves struck by reality, the popular blog “Art of Manliness” just wrote a balanced article on the subject.

http://www.artofmanliness.com/2014/07/31/the-problem-with-minimalism/

I think Brett and Kate McKay make some excellent points about what might make EXTREME minimalism unattainable for the normal person.

(I would REALLY suggest taking 7 minutes and reading their thoughts, but I’m going to super simplify what they say.)

They point out that the minimalist lifestyle is much more attainable if you have (1) money and (2) if you don’t have lifestyle responsibilities (ie: children). They then go on to conclude that a balanced person is someone who knows himself and keeps and uses what he needs.

The article addressed what many of us aspiring minimalists run into so I wrote down a few thoughts.

Minimalism is (by many definitions a reaction to consumerism and materialism.) 

But like any reaction it gets out of balance.

Minimalism is great for:

Letting go

Moving on

Learning who you are

Realizing what you want

Realizing what you don’t want

Knowing where you are going

But like anything created by us humans, we can get consumed with it and lose the bigger picture. (For me, as a Christian, the bigger picture is Christ)

When I’m decluttering, I need to be keeping Him as my focus. I get rid of extras so I can complete my calling He gives, have time to know Him and show His love to others.

Minimalism is a philosophy:

Like any philosophy we can read about it, learn from it, reject parts of it and become better more educated people from the knowledge of it.

For Christians, it can help us recognize idols in our lives (consumerism, pride of life, lust of the eyes).

Minimalism Costs AND Saves Money

The McKays have printed other great articles on the benefits of minimalism, so I’m not going to complain too much, but while the article points out that minimalism costs, it does not touch on that minimalism saves.

As a normal person, I agree, I have to keep things (that I’d rather not). Next baby that rolls around, I’ll need to pull out a tub of increasingly thread-bare slightly stained items, but admittedly, that is all my budget can afford right now.

However, through taking a more thoughtful approach to what i keep (brought somewhat by marturity and somewhat by what I’ve read on minimalism, I’ve learned that I can get rid of many pieces of clothing, spend $20 on 4 or 5 pieces to round out the wardrobe the next time, or weigh my costs (as covered in my article here.)

Minimalism is a Means

I loved their conclusion. Ultimately, when we get to know ourselves, our faith, and our goals, we know what stays and what goes. Whether we call it minimalism or maturity or balanced, we know what to do.

-Verity

PS: Be sure to come back tomorrow as Lyd has a really fascinating post she will be sharing on how their family of 5 has survived 7 months without steady income. Really great tips and approaches.

There is ALWAYS Enough Time

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I have 4 small children under the age of 5.

But there IS always enough time.

There IS the time necessary to train, love, protect my children and enough time to be a helpmeet to my husband.

I know there is because I know that God would not bless me with more then I can handle, and I know that He commands me to train my children and help my husband.

Therefore, there HAS to be enough time.

On a more experiential note, I’ve seen again and again that there is enough time to fulfill my responsibilities as a trainer, mother, protector, and teacher, and if I make it a priority, there is (usually) enough strength to not fall asleep while my poor husband is talking to me at the end of the day. (Pacing around while we talk or a 5:00 PM coffee may be necessary.)

What there is NOT always enough time for is checking Facebook 27 times to see if people have liked my clever status, following more then a couple worthwhile blogs, staying in touch with more then just a few friends, and keeping up on more then one hobby.

There is NOT even the time to do the outside ministries I’d LOVE to do because right now – I need to remember this is my ministry.

There is NOT enough time to feel sorry for myself because I want more contact with others or more thank yous for my constant efforts to keep the house semi-clean, the kids alive, and food made. (Actually more then wanting thank yous, I’d at least like less complaining…)

It just gets down to realizing what IS important – and what’s not. When I realize what IS important, I realize there IS enough time for it.

-Verity

Evaluating Minimalism when You Have Kids

photo 1People say that having kids breeds clutter.

People say kids make it difficult to embrace minimalism and simplicity.

I’ve also noticed that the majority of minimalists on the web are single – with no kids.

Why is that?

It is true that with kids comes stuff, but I think that there is also more opportunity to reevaluate values, and I believe that when you better know your values, you have more motivation for simplicity then you’d have without kids.

Is it HARDER to be a minimalist with kids? Yes! (What on earth is EASIER with kids?)

BUT it is also much more rewarding to be a minimalist with kids. You learn to cut away, cut away, cut away until you have only the valuable to pass on – only your faith, only your dreams and not all the excess that you wasted years pursuing.

And you hope they won’t lose the same time and energy on the trivial. You hope they will be happier, more content, more focused, and more mature as they learn what is necessary – and what is simply not.

This week I’ve been learning again what it is important – and what is not.

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3 years ago my son was given a set of 24 mega blocks, but with 3 kids sharing the set, the pieces were fought over so much that I was ready to toss the whole set!

But my mom came across a couple affordable matching sets at Goodwill, and I gratefully accepted them.

However, as I evaluated where on earth to stash the now overflowing tote of mega blocks in our 10X10 guest room/playroom, I wondered what I’d been thinking

After mentioning the dilemma to my husband, he asked why the answer to the kids’  fighting problem was to get more toys rather then deal with their bad attitudes.

And sure enough – after 20 minutes of elation they were fighting over the mega blocks again. (Both girls wanted all the pink, and the boy wanted to keep the little mega block man to himself – if you were wondering about the nitty gritty details.)

It caused me to step back and evaluate – again.

Did I want kids to build mega block towers or kids who were willing to share and wait their turn?

Did I want the convenience of 20 minutes to make supper in peace or kids who were content to make something out of our 24 former pieces?

I realized that too often my answer to character problems had been to purchase items to make the problem ‘go away’ rather then deal with the heart of the issue.

- A child who kept stealing her brother’s harmonica was ‘rewarded’ the following  holiday with a harmonica of her own because I was tired of having to punish her and deal with his frustration.

-A child who wouldn’t share the train set cars was ‘rewarded’ when I just picked up a couple more train set cars because I was tired of the shrieks and tears every time they played trains.

Like any parent, I love my kids, but it takes a tough love to stop what you’re doing, and help them to be content (37+ times a day).

For now, we’re keeping the big box in the play room, but I’m slowly learning my lesson. True love for my children does not come in the form of a new toy or set, and helping them enter life as content, joyful adults will be far better then me getting a little more done around the house during the few minutes I’ve bought for myself while they play with a new set or game.

-Verity

Kids’ Clothing Storage Part 1: Counting the Cost

Counting the Cost:

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Kids’ Clothing Storage SAVES money, but it also COSTS money.

Like anything else, you need to determine:

Savings vs Cost

I added up that each of my clothing totes saves me $100 of clothing that I would otherwise replace sale clothes or at Goodwill clothes.

Also, I have to store each of those clothing totes an average of 3 years. So on average each tote saves me $33 a year.

(Most people will have to store their clothes longer since most don’t have a new baby every 17 months.)

However, it also costs me storage space, sanity, and stress. 

I didn’t put a dollar figure on how much storage costsme, but I gave myself a maximum storage tote number to stay at.

Here’s how I decided HOW MUCH to Keep:

I decided that I only have a place for 26 plastic totes in my basement.

(Photos, Tableware/Kitchen, 4 Christmas, Linen Closet Overflow, 2 Books, Special Toys kids will grow into in next couple years, Craft/Sewing Box, 4 totes for my husband’s teaching business, Formalwear, Kids’ Shoes, Maternity clothes, 2 Nostalgia, and only SIX storage boxes for the kids’ clothing).

From looking at this list, I’m thinking I should pare down some more on the other stuff too…

Beyond that, I start running out of room in the basement.

That tells me that -

-I don’t have space for keeping much extra AT ALL

-I need to fit multiple sizes in one box

-Items that won’t be used for longer periods SAVE ME LESS (My son just outgrew 4t pants, but it will be 5 years before another boy [if I got pregnant now with a boy - something which my girl-friendly family genetics make less then likely] would wear them so it will only save me AT MOST $20 a year to save his 4t clothing. However, my daughter just outgrew her 3t clothing, and my next daughter will wear it next year. It will SAVE me $100 to store a box of those clothes.)

Cost of Kids' Clothing Storage Picture 1

 

I hate sorting and figuring out clothes, and my husband has repeatedly offered for me to just buy new for the kids each year, but from this chart, I can see that the saving a percentage is still worth it to me.

In the end, I came up with some methods that saved us the most with a lessoned burden of kids’  clothing storage. Check out my next post on the logistics of kids clothing storage.


-Verity

 

Power of the Catalogue

An older man once recounted the first time he’d seen a catalogue.

He was a child, and he and his brother spent hours pouring over the Sears Roebuck catalogue – realizing for the first time all the things they ‘needed.’’

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Sears was a forunner in the art of advertising. It came before Keynesian economics, before the average western child received piles of presents every Christmas, and before Americans become fat on clutter.

However, Sears pinpointed on a powerful advertising technique that has only been perfected through the years: the catalogue.

Today a toy catalogue came in the mail. My first response was to set it aside for the kids. This would be fun to look at after their naps I figured.

But then I flipped it open – hundreds of toys were beautifully arranged across the pages. Scene after scene of dolls, cars, toy buildings tantalized even me – as a parent to purchase these wonderful little imaginary worlds for my children to enjoy.

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It was an odd feeling – standing in the sleep silenced house and recognizing the pull of the book on myself (who I consider to be somewhat well-practiced in resisting consumerism.)

It helped me reflect on how catalogues, like all advertising, work to instill a need in us.

Catalogues portray the object in the best case scenario

Lights reflect off of jewelry, toys are arranged in life-like poses, and lets not even talk about the models.

Catalogues portray mass amounts as ‘normal’ and even necessary

A single platter in a set is pictured with all the pieces. A stylish shirt is shown with expensive new boots, leggings, and $200 worth of jewelry.

In any store, there is still a realization of the amount. In a catalogue, not so much.

In a store, I can hand an object to my child and say, “You can only play with one toy at a time. It’s not responsible to get so much stuff.”

But in a catalogue, it’s pictured as part of a whole. My kids would be thrilled to pieces to get a $10 family doll set, but in the catalogue, that is pictured with $75 doll house, the $15 neighbors, and the $25 minivan.

I still remember flipping through the American Girl catalogue as a child. I knew I’d never have all the furniture for my favorite doll, but I still longed for it and consequently looked for what deals my allowance could afford! (And judging from the HUNDREDS of 18 inch doll pieces of furniture on Craigslist – so did thousands of other little girls.)

Catalogues portray an image as the object itself.

For adults, we long to be as sexy, smart, and desireable as the models. For children, they want to be having as much fun as the pictured kids.

Unlike items in a store, catalogues can be kept near us – to tempt us again and again.

As soon as I can I toss catalogues in our house. I don’t think there really is such thing as window shopping – that’s just a name for pre-shopping. I’ve found that the longer a catalogue hangs around, the more likely we are to make a purchase.

I realized that 20 minutes of fun looking at the book with my toddler/ preschool – aged kids would pass, but the lingering discontent and lessons learned would not.

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So I threw away the catalogue and when the kids got up from their naps, I did not have a fun catalogue to occupy them. They had a snack, looked at their books on the couch and then went outside and played in the backyard for an hour and a half until baths and supper.

They had a great afternoon. They were content and not confronted with a whole bunch of unneeded things.

-Verity