We spent the summer at the beaches with our three kids, in an unfurnished apartment with 2 bedrooms and roughly about half the living space as our home. We brought our beds, one couch, 2 chairs, clothes, one large box of toys for the 8 month-old. Our older kids each brought a small suitcase and a backpack for books and stationery. My husband and I each brought one bag of clothes as well. Out kitchen was minimal for 4 and a baby. No glasses, just water bottles and some plastic cups. One large pot, one small pot, one strainer, a pizza pan, a baking pan, dinnerware for four. We borrowed a dining table and 4 chairs, some cutlery and plastic plates. We were on minimal operations.
And you know what?
We were just fine.
Our lifestyle changed.
The kids and I walked to the neighborhood grocery store almost everyday, we brought home fresh bread almost everyday. We borrowed many books from the local library every 3 days. There was no tv so the only electronic entertainment was 12 minute episodes of Octanauts once in a while. Some of our kitchen cupboards were empty! We walked to the beach almost everyday. We walked to the park, restaurants, menchies, local music festivals.
We have returned home to notice all the "extra stuff" in it..
We purge and donate every 3 months or so, but this summer's experience really accentuated our collection we accrued over the 10+ years of marriage and 3 kids.
I am in the middle of the big "purge," and I notice as more toys and things are removed which haven't been played in a while, the key pieces we are keeping are played with and valued more.
I am in no way one of those moms who own only 2 pairs of jeans. I am still nursing and I know that my body will probably shift again so I am anticipating wardrobe changes in the next year. I know that families are always in flux, so I know I will be making purchases and donating again in the future. I do know, however, I will keep my purchases in check and not be so tempted with the 75% off signs as I make this largest purge this year. I hope to refrain from making bulk but "cheaper" purchases as the hidden cost of seeing towers of paper towels and toilet paper in my basement are too much for me.
My mantle looks so clean now - nothing except a picture of the kids and a wedding gift of a vase of glass roses. I can actually appreciate them now as they are not hidden behind plastic plants, candles and other dust-collecting knickknacks which I have forgotten about already.