Less…is it really More?

I’ve been thinking a lot about stuff lately.

I was challenged to collect 465 items over 30 days to donate to MCC’s Thrift Shops so that they can further their development work in Ontario and over seas.  I got to the 465 items, but it wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be and here’s why:

  1. I’m pretty sure I’m cheap. On a good day I would call myself thrifty…but cheap more or less describes me. I hate buying things. I hate shopping. I really hate spending money (which is why my wallet has maybe a twonie and a loonie in it). I don’t have a lot of impulse buy stuff to regret and donate.
  2. I love to purge – I get rid of stuff all the time, donate, sell, give.
  3. The What-if factor – “What If I need that sometime?” “What if Hannah has a school project and can use a plastic dinosaur in her diorama?” This factor is SO annoying and really hard to break.

At the heart of donating, and purging I think I am really trying to push against North American consumption or the idea that stuff brings happiness, which we ALL know is SO NOT true.

I’ve been reading a lot of articles about how much stuff kids have, especially how many toys they have and yet they are always bored.

Over the weekend my Dad named off his 3 toys from childhood.  My Mom remembers her one doll.  ONE and THREE. Not the mzj-zillion my kids have (despite my best efforts).

And guess what, my kids are often looking for entertainment – they are ‘bored’.

I tried a funny experiment last week. Each girl had received a Duplo-lego set from Oma and Opa/Easter Bunny. I hid the rest of our Duplo (a ginormous box) in the basement and watched as they played together with their 27 pieces of Duplo for over 30 minutes in complete joy. Hannah asked if we could bring up the big box, so I thought…’sure why not keep the party going’ and you know what happened when the 100+ pieces came up. They looked at it, dumped it out and stopped playing with all of it.

Maybe they were bored with Duplo already by that point, but I think it’s truly that less is more! When they had less to play with, they played with it more.

I’m also a very strong believer that there are enough toys and kids clothes already in this world.

If we all pass them around when our kids are done with them, we can keep all children entertained and clothed forever. So I Bunz trade them, I sell them, I buy used, I pick up off the curb, I leave on the curb.

When I do buy new, I try to buy quality.

That means not Dollar Store or Walmart cheapo stuff. Not because I don’t love a deal – I am cheap. Rather I don’t want to buy items that will soon break and need to be thrown away soon after purchase.  It’s only $1, but think of the environmental impact – not only making the plastic thing (I’m not even getting into fair wages and child labour here), the packaging, then literally putting it into a ship that is spewing whatever toxic sludge into the ocean, truck/train or air transporting it to the store, where it gets sold, breaks within a week and is tossed into the landfill to never decompose.

It’s heartbreaking really.

We only have one earth and we are polluting it and filling it with garbage. Instead of buying $5 worth of cheap items that will end up in the landfill. I really try to think about if the toy is something we need and am willing to pay a good price for. If yes, then I buy the better item, something that was built to last and that hopefully can be enjoyed by other kids after mine are done with it.

And then I try to use the one in; one out rule. If a new toy comes into the house, then something has to make it’s way back out of the house. Same with clothes.

I would love to hear from anyone who is rocking a MORE LIFE because you’re choosing to live with less and tricks you have –

On the journey,





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