My one-year-old son’s favorite toys, in order of preference, are a plastic food storage container, a water pitcher, a colander, and a set of standard wooden blocks. He has toys that light up, toys that play music, and toys generous people spent hundreds of dollars buying — and he wants nothing to do with any toy that prescribes how he should play with it. In fact, the toys my son doesn’t play with take up a large amount of space in our home and he would rather have that room to run in circles.
After dozens of hours of carting it around with him everywhere he went, my son recently had to say farewell to his favorite paper towel tube/megaphone/telescope/conductor’s wand/magic wand/arm extender/silly hat/mustache. He learned a valuable lesson that paper towel tubes and toilets don’t mix, and, subsequently, I learned that Babies ‘R’ Us sells toilet seat locks.
Watching my son creatively play with the everyday items in our house is a terrific reminder that you don’t need a lot of things to have fun or to have a good quality of life. People create fun, stuff doesn’t.
One of the reasons people hold onto things they don’t need or use is because they believe in the possibilities of objects or the image the items portray.
“If I own skis, I’m a skier.” (Even if you haven’t been skiing in a decade.)
“If I have fancy books on my bookshelf, I’m a person who reads fancy books.” (Even if you’ve never read the title.)
Pause for a moment, close your eyes, and remember the last time you laughed until your stomach ached. What about the time before that? And the time before that? Were you laughing because objects in your life caused you to have a good time, or were you laughing with a friend or family member?
As you’re going through the uncluttering process, focus on the remarkable life you desire and get rid of the things that get in the way or detract from what is really important to you. Remember that there was a time — for all of us — when an afternoon spent with a paper towel tube was an adventure with a dragon, a prince, and a fairy godmother.