Death and Stuff

wp-1484013370116.pngI was recently perusing Facebook and found an amazing post that The Minimalists had put on their feed.  It was a link to a post by Robert Wringham about death acceptance and your stuff, full article here.

This fantastic article was about what happens to your stuff after you die and what you can do about it before death.  It was very enlightening to think about the tone and attitude towards death written.  We all know that everyone dies eventually, though they would be kind of cool, vampires don’t really exist, and you can’t bring anything with you to whatever place you may end up.

So, what happens to your stuff when you die?  Well, its an easy answer, someone else has to deal with it.  Over the last year we have been dealing with that sort of problem.  My father in law pasted away three years ago and now it is time for my mother in law to move to a smaller, more manageable house.

Currently she is in a home that was perfect for raising the family, but now that everyone is out of the house, it is too much for one person to maintain.  So there was a contract on the house and in one crazy weekend and a team of helpers we packed up a ton of the household items into boxes.  People took items that were not being used, multiple trips were taken to donation shops, and a dumpster down the street mysteriously became filled.

Despite all of the help there was one collection that had not been dealt with, the Star Wars collection.

Don’t get me wrong, I am a huge Star Wars nerd and have read so many of the books in the collect of my own accord, this turned out to be a very daunting task.  My father in law collected books and other miscellaneous memorabilia.  Now a normal person might decide that after they fill a shelves with books to either cut back on buying or purge some of them, well, not my father in law.  He decided instead to build bookcases to house all of the books.  When one got full he built another one.  Eventually, the collection went from one fairly nice sized bedroom into two other bedrooms.  The real kicker was when we were cleaning out the basement and discovered more boxes of books that didn’t make it to the shelves.

We knew that in order to get rid of the collection we needed to have an inventory list of everything.  This task has been an ongoing process for about a year.  When you have over ninety copy boxes full of books, CDs, games, comics and more to go through  it makes to really reconsider your own possessions.

The gist of it all is this, when we die these things that we are collecting here on Earth become a burden to our loved ones.  The burden is not only physical, but mental as well.  After moving the books from my in laws’s house to mine and back and dealing with the weight of seeing it everyday, it make me even more determined not to leave my children with a lot of STUFF, but rather with the fond memories of experiences that we had together.

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Swimming Through the Sea of Toys

Do you have children at home with toys everywhere?  With the prevalence of child-centered marketing, there is a plethora of toys and products out there in stores everywhere.  Just as adults are attracted to new products, our children are following in our footsteps.  The consumerist need to collect and have the latest and greatest toys and products add to the growing sea of stuff in our homes.  Despite giving into our children’s desires, it seems that they are bored more than ever.

What if we did something different?  What would happen if you decreased the amount of toys in your home by half?  What if you got rid of the toys all together?  Some parents have started to experiment with taking the toys away and have found that their children have become more creative and engaged in play than before.

Do you think this would have the same effect in your home?

Bubble from Target

Talking to your children is one of the most natural things to do.  However, you never really examine the way that you talk to them and what you are saying until someone else points in out.

Yesterday I was out shopping at Target, just a normal morning errand run with my two young ones and a woman stopped me.  She said “excuse me, but I just have to say I love they way that you are talking to your kids.”  At first I was quite taken aback , but then I realized it was quite a complement.  

What she meant was that it was nice to hear someone speaking to their kids with adult language and not baby talk.  The mom went on to explain that her daughter was in the hospital and all of the nurses and doctors were “baby talking” to her.  This was frustrating her daughter and causing more stress than the situation required.

I spent the rest of the day contemplating the depth of communicating with children.  It was nice to have someone else notice the decision that my husband and I made and how it has also worked for other people.

How do you communicate with your children and others?  Would an outside perspective help you evaluate your methods?

What to think of today?

So I’m sure just about everyone has a to-do list on their minds from the moment they get up in the morning, I know I do.  Often I make a little scribble on a piece of paper and I’m ready to go.  

What if I used a more organized system? How would having my thoughts in one place help the productivity of my day? 

Assessing Stuff after the Holidays

wp-1483989638536.pngThe holidays are a time for joy and happiness and in some families, lots of STUFF.  If this sounds like your family, then you will know what I am talking about.  Families get together to exchange presents under the tree, the lights of the Hanukkah menorah, or many other traditions.wp-1483999594170.png

But, what if things were different?  What if there were no physical presents wrapped up in sparkly paper and a bow?  How would the holidays feel, empty?  Maybe, but maybe there is another way to show good tidings and cheer instead of the latest gadget, toy, fragrance, clothes or accessory.

What if we shared experiences?  How would that make you feel, could you create long lasting memories instead of enjoying the instant gratification of the new item?

As you look around all of your new gift and try to figure out how they are going to play apart of this next year, think about how you might celebrate the holidays this coming year.  Will they be different?

Creating a Brain Dump to Plan for the Year

brain2As we ring in the new year one of the things that I am thinking about is how I am going to organize the mental clutter that is taking up space in my head.  This year I have decided to use a planner.

Since school I never really used a planner, only little bits of paper that would

inkwellpressplanner

be scattered around the house, the car, and any bag I carried.  Unfortunately this was an ineffective was to keep track of the important dates, lists and thoughts that I needed to get out.

The specific planner I am using is an Inkwell Press classic planner that has a vertical orientation.  I decided to use this planner after spending time of Pinterest and other sites researching the best planners.  I was looking for an all inclusive planner that had year, month, and weekly sections to organize my life.

I have to say I am a sucker for pretty things and decorating.  So when I was comparing planners I found the the Inkwell Press planner had the flexibility and the attractiveness that I desired.

This planner is meant to help me remove the thoughts, appointments, and to do lists floating around in my head in a neat, attractive, customizable, and organized way.

What ways are you planning on organizing your life this year?