Decluttering, disposability and appreciation - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 8 Old 11-14-2005, 02:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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A friend of mine who lives in Hungary recently wrote this description of her family's pre-Christmas tradition:

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Fall is a time for major cleanings in our house. I go room by room and do a very thorough job of cleaning: books come off the shelves, toys are sorted and cleaned, furniture is moved. My kids love these days as they always find something ’new’ (i.e. old things that have been forgotten about) to browse through and play with. This is the time when we review the kids’ old books and toys and decide what stays and what goes (usually to preschools or to poor children).

We also have a family tradition (passed down through at least three generations) according to which we clean and mend every toy and book that has been damaged. Usually that means fixing game boxes and finding missing parts of cars, puzzles, etc. In Hungary Santa ’comes’ on 6th December, when children put their cleaned and polished boots in the window and Santa puts some special Xmas sweets and smaller toys in them. So we try to be ready by that time so that Santa ’sees’ that we appreciate old things as well.
The first part is standard decluttering that we all try to do, but the second part was what really grabbed me. One of the things that bothers me about decluttering is that it affirms the idea of disposability... that anything we're tired of is useless and value-less and should just be gotten rid of. But the repairing-and-restoring thing is something that really appeals to me. It's about stewardship, about care and cherishing the value of something even when it's no longer novel or perhaps even particularly useful to you, even when it might have lost much of its superficial polish. I like the idea of having this as a pre-Christmas tradition, so that we're not just sweeping old toys and books aside to make room for the new, but we're demonstrating our appreciation of the old things, whether we're keeping them or giving them away.

Miranda

Mountain mama to three great kids and one great grown-up

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#2 of 8 Old 11-14-2005, 06:35 PM
 
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Thanks for sharing this! I think this is a great idea, for holidays or anytime we do a big declutter.
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#3 of 8 Old 11-16-2005, 03:05 AM
 
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Okay, I'm sure this is off topic, but my Hungarian family taught us that Baby Jesus visited on the evening of December 5th after we went to sleep. Our job was to take all of our shoes, clean & repair them and leave them outside our bedroom doors. Baby Jesus would inspect them and if they passed muster, they would be filled with Xmas goodies, perhaps toys, perhaps candy, perhaps clothing. I've never heard of having to clean & repair toys. Isn't that interesting...
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#4 of 8 Old 11-21-2005, 01:09 AM
 
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This story is really nice, it reminds me of a conversation I had with my 3 year old a few weeks ago. She was looking through a catalog we got in the mail and talking about the toys she and her sister wanted for Christmas. I asked, "but don't you have enough toys?" And she thought about it for a minute and said "maybe we can give some of my toys back to Santa so he can give them to other kids!" It got me to thinking that maybe I can do some toy decluttering and have her blessing to exchange things in hopes that Santa will bring a few new toys. I especially like the idea of making sure everything is fixed and in good repair before donating it, this is something I always did but never thought about consciously.
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#5 of 8 Old 11-24-2005, 09:30 PM
 
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I totally agree that idea of wholesale decluttering is linked to the culture of accumulating junk, junk, junk. If we (I) weren't bringing in so much, we wouldn't have to recylce or throw out constantly. I mean, it seems obvious, but yet I don't seem to catch on!
Actually, I am very frugal myself, but the kids get "small" presents from dh all the time (and sometimes me, too), and I am routinely dumping grocery-bags of toys in the garbage, in attempt to keep the clutter at bay. So Dumb!

I have fantasies of the kids having a few simple, traditional toys each, plus lots of books, and that's it. There was a flylady testimonial in which a woman got rid of all her sons toys except a few cars, crayons and something else. A bit extreme, but I like the idea!

Margit
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#6 of 8 Old 11-24-2005, 09:44 PM
 
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Isn't that wonderful? We are definitely a frugal family but I see way too many toys around our house. I do try to freecycle our excess good stuff.
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#7 of 8 Old 11-28-2005, 01:42 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldermamato5
Isn't that wonderful? We are definitely a frugal family but I see way too many toys around our house. I do try to freecycle our excess good stuff.
Right now, there is a pretty easy way to give extra stuff from around your house to MDC Mamas in Need (& their families) and it's the Holiday Helper thread on MDC. You can click on the blinky link in my sig to go and read all about it. THey are looking for Helper Moms and it's still not too late to sign up as a Needy Mom (the due date is around Dec 5th). There is even postage available to help people ship their gently used items to those in need.

What a great way to declutter and organize your home!
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#8 of 8 Old 12-01-2005, 12:35 AM
 
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[QUOTE=elsie]This story is really nice, it reminds me of a conversation I had with my 3 year old a few weeks ago. She was looking through a catalog we got in the mail and talking about the toys she and her sister wanted for Christmas. I asked, "but don't you have enough toys?" And she thought about it for a minute and said "maybe we can give some of my toys back to Santa so he can give them to other kids!"



Wow; what an awesome 3 yr old! I have -just- gotten my 7 yr to realize he has to part with some things eventually and others may appreciate the toys he has outgrown.
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