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Camping Lesson How Much Stuff Do I Really Need To Survive My husband and I went camping this weekend for the first time in years…well to be totally honest we cheated a little, even though we were in the campground at Fundy Park we stayed in one of the parks permanent tents called an Otentik. It was a good compromise as we do not own a trailer and my body said no to sleeping on the ground in a tent lol. The Otentik was like a little cabin in the woods.

It was exciting to get back to the wilderness and enjoy a few days in the woods hiking and sitting around the campfire. During the weekend I had a big aha moment as I was doing the dishes from our breakfast. I realized how little we really need to be happy and enjoy life. EVERYTHING I needed to cook with, eat off of, drink from and clean with fit in one box. Yes, one box! I have a huge kitchen at home, with LOTS of stuff in it, but when push comes to shove I only really need ONE box of stuff to survive and be happy with. It was a clarity moment about how much stuff we surround ourselves with that we don’t actually need, and that the maintenance of that much stuff takes up valuable time to keep it clean, valuable space to house it and valuable brain power to think about it. Less stuff = more time for peace and fun!

camping boxWhen I was camping it was so easy to decide what pot to use as I only had two – one big and one little. It was easy to clean up after too, as we only had a few dishes that took us less than 10 minutes to clean – without a dishwasher too! It was great, and left a lot of time to relax by the fire, hike on the trails and visit with other campers.

So my challenge to you this week is to think about what you REALLY need to survive. Could reducing the amount of stuff surrounding you clear the way for you to have more time and space to enjoy your life? Does all that stuff you have actually make your life simpler or does it make it more complicated, cluttered and overwhelming?

Think about it! And if you are ready to tackle the excess and reduce what you own, come join my Facebook group where I share inspiration, motivation and information on living a clutter free life. There is a video in the group about my lesson learned on this trip, check it out:

www.ClutterSupportGroup.com

Come connect with us today!

Kim

inside otentikme and the otentik

Toy Room OrganizingKids toys can sometimes take over a space and you can feel that you live in a toy store after a hurricane goes through it. The important thing to remember when deciding on storage solutions for kids’ toys is that it has to be easy for the kids to put their things away. As a former preschool teacher I can tell you that having a dedicated spot for everything and making it easy for the kids to know where that spot is can reduce frustration, time and tears.

Cubbies and containers work well as long as they are well labelled and the containers are large enough to ‘throw’ things into. If the kids have to put all their stuff away in a secret order, like putting a puzzle together in order to get the lid to fit, they are doomed to fail. Look at any reputable daycare center and they are an Organizers DREAM- EVERYTHING has a place of its own and EVERYTHING is labelled, even the scissors have a special stand to go in. there is a reason for this, kids want and need easy to follow directions, they are empowered when they can do things on their own and by creating a space that makes this easy for them you give them power and self confidence. Much better than the constant nagging and occasional loud voices saying ‘this place is a pigsty, clean up your toys’

rubbermaid with toys storedI am partial to large Rubbermaid containers with the raise lids, they allow the kids to throw their stuff in and the lid will still go on, they also stack nicely. I had several of these containers when the kids were young, for Barbie stuff, for dress up clothes, for blocks, for Hot wheels, for…well you get my drift. I encouraged my kids to only have one of these out at a time. If they were playing Barbies then the Barbie one is out. If they went on to another activity they were expected to clean up the Barbies, cleaning takes about 2 minutes as all they had to do it put it all in one big container, they did have a few smaller containers to hold the tiny little items like Barbie shoes and accessories but those never actually worked as it was too complicated to maintain.

playroom organizationSmall cubbies work great as well as long as they are labelled or at least the containers on the cubbies are labelled. We had one that houses all my budding artists creative ‘stuff’. There are lots of different types of cubbies, ours is a metal mesh one that can be reconfigured as our needs change. We got that one at Costco. IKEA has some great ones as well and one of the best kept secrets to buying great kids toy storage solutions is any School Supply stores like Scholars Choice, they have fantastic stuff, as that is their business.

Remember to not be too hard on yourself or your kids, mess happens when they play and we should all embrace the mess DURING play time. By empowering them to be actively involved in the clean up phase you can make it fun and easy so it becomes a natural part of play. Go visit a daycare center and when it is time to clean up you will hear laughter, singing and cooperation. The kids love it almost as much as the playing itself.


Will there be family disharmony after you are gone 1

Okay nobody likes talking about the end. But the reality is we are all human, we are all born and we all die. There is an end to your time here on earth in the body you currently have, in the life you are living, surrounded by the stuff you use. We don’t know when that end will come, it can be sooner than we expected or we can live a long time. But at this point we will not live forever.

Anyone that knows me knows, I am not afraid to talk about the hard stuff. I have seen too many families ignore the hard conversations while someone is alive, then they have to deal with making decisions after a loved one is gone while emotions are running high. I have seen families fight, split apart and hold grudges for YEARS all over ‘things’. It makes me sad. I want to shout IT IS JUST STUFF! But to them the stuff represents so much more.

I understand that the things represent more than the material matter they are made of. They represent the loss of a loved one, they represent control of a situation, they represent holding on, they represent feeling respected, they represent being connected and they represent thousands of other feelings and emotions too.

I implore you today, to think about who will be left after you are gone, what will be left after you are gone and how you can reduce family disharmony over your stuff before it happens.

Here are a few tips to get you started:

#1 TALK TO THEM – I know this sounds simple but it amazes me how many people cannot have this conversation. I know it can be hard, but if you have an open and honest conversation about what they may want, what you want them to have, who gets what…it can save a lot of heartache later.

#2 WRITE IT DOWN – Write letters to those that will be left behind, let them know in writing what your wishes are and lovingly ask them to respect and love each other through the hard times. Written words can be powerful!

#3 LABEL THINGS - Have labels on bigger things, so when your ‘stuff’ is being cleared out, they will know who gets what according to your wishes. Just don’t make them take stuff they do not want…make it their choice please, ask before you label!

#4 MAKE THEM PLAY – if siblings or other family members cannot come to an agreement over who gets what, leave them instructions that they must play a game to see who gets it. Rock, paper, scissors works well and can break the tension.

#5 DON’T HAVE A LOT OF STUFF – You know I had to add this one in, right? Living simplistically and reducing what you have now will make it so much easier for family to settle after. Less stuff, means less stuff to fight about.

The loss of a loved one is always an emotional time, it brings out the best and worst in us. Family disharmony is commom, too common for my liking. Setting the stage and opening communication early in life makes dealing with a sad loss so much easier. Encouraging our loved ones to support and work with each other during that sad time, instead of against each other, leaves a legacy of love and understanding that far outreaches the ‘STUFF’ left behind.

You are NOT your stuff…ensure today that your family know that!

Xox Kim