Less Really is More. Really.

As I’ve written about many times before, my little family and I strive to live a pretty simple life.  Our home is a two-bedroom apartment in the middle of downtown Chicago, so space demands that we don’t go overboard with stuff.  And, because our budget is rather rigid, reality dictates that we can’t afford to go overboard with stuff.  I love keeping things simple, though, so I find great joy in the challenges and rewards that come along with an existence that doesn’t put a premium on stuff.

Like most little boys, my Mack loves trains.  Last fall, on the days when Evie was in school, Mack and I spent hours on the floor playing together with his train set.  Consisting of just a few wooden tracks, a few train cars and a couple accessories, it is simple and humble.  He was so joyful and happy when we played trains, so for Christmas we decided that Santa would splurge on a proper train table with lots of tracks and trains and enough accessories to keep a nearly 2 year old entertained for days.

Well, that’s what we thought…

Turns out, our precious boy actually prefers the smaller set!  Because he’s still a little guy, the big train set is a bit overwhelming for him.  Plus, it is so defined in its design and purpose that I think it actually inhibits his creativity.  He can easily handle the pieces to the smaller set, setting it up however and wherever he likes.  He sometimes uses the train table to stage the little set, but very rarely does the big set come out of its storage drawer.  And, when I do take the time to set up the big set he just demolishes it in a few minutes anyway!

I think as a culture we feel the need to overindulge kids.  I don’t want to deprive my children of anything, but I also don’t think giving them more more MORE is the right path.  We are so preoccupied with making memories for them that we don’t give them the opportunity to make memories for themselves.  I’ve heard every mother jokingly lament that her child prefers the box a gift came in to the actual gift itself.  I think there is great wisdom in that observation – kids don’t need a ton of stuff to keep their minds occupied and energized.  Sometimes the simplest things in life provide the most enjoyment – for young and old alike!

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Written by Maureen

More posts by: Maureen

7 Comments for this entry

  1. This is EXACTLY my take too Maureen. We chose a small house, we choose to live simply & debt free and that in itself keeps us from accumulating. What a precious story (and pictures!!!) thank you for sharing a moving picture of truth. YEAH!!!!

  2. Erica says:

    So true. My son is still pretty young yet (14 months), but when he has all of his toys out he seems to get a little overwhelmed and not really interested in any of them. When there’s almost no toys out he has to work harder to entertain himself and it’s pretty hilarious the things he can figure out to do.

  3. Mandie says:

    It is so true! For Christmas this year Santa gave my daughter MY bitty baby (it wasn’t even called that then because it was the very start of American Girl) and she loved it. She thinks it’s the best thing ever and we spent a total of $10 for Christmas (stocking stuffers are perishable or practical like toothbrushes). For her birthday next week I said that she would love organization shelving from Ikea, that way she can put things away all by herself.

  4. Paige says:

    True! For us the biggest issue of stuff accumulation is birthdays and gifts from grandparents an such. It’s so sweet for people to give gifts but the reality is they often just junk up the house. I think I’m going to be asking people to forget about bringing gifts to birthday parties and instead partner with a charity that provides birthday stuff to those less fortunate. I would so much rather Kinsey’s friend’s bring a box of cake mix and frosting to give to those less fortunate. It will keep our house decluttered and give Kinsey something to think about.

  5. Meghan says:

    I’m a huge proponent of giving experience gifts. A pass to a play place – like bubbles academy or little beans cafe. No junk and a fun experience for parent and child.

  6. I knew I liked you! While I live in WI now, I am originally from Chicago. Cheers to Chi Town! Just found out you’re there now. So fun!

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