31 Days: Value

*Five Minute Friday is an initiative set up by Lisa-Jo Baker over at Surprised by Motherhood. It has now been taken over by Kate over at Heading Home. The basic premise is to take the word Kate gives and write, non-stop for 5 minutes. Then you stop and post. Read more about it here. This October, I am taking part in a series based on this called “31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes”, in which we commit to writing from the prompt as usual, but everyday rather than just on a Friday. Read more here.



What is it you hold dear? What is it that is of value to you?

When you think of something in your house that is valuable, do you think of something that cost a lot of money, or that holds a lot of memories? Do you not think of things at all, but perhaps of people or memories within that house?

Moving house is a great time to purge your possessions and get rid of the load of extra “stuff” that we all have but somehow struggle to let go of. Having less to pack and move and unpack is a true joy. We started out quite well with this in our recent move, but lately I’ve been amazed looking around by how we have still somehow managed to fill a 3-bedroom house despite having moved from a small 2-bedroom flat and having got rid of much…

It’s true that we don’t have much in the way of storage here, so what we have is essentially what is out. But still, it is amazing the amount of things that we excuse away as being stuff that cannot be thrown out because of (a), (b) or (c).

But the truth is, we probably could get rid of a lot of it.

One of the most difficult areas for this is children’s toys. Parents – do you find this, too? Am I alone or do we all find our houses overrun with books, noisy toys, cuddly toys, bath toys, heirlooms?

Ironically, one of the things I value greatly is not overloading my daughter with ‘things’, both to teach her the value of living simply, and to help her to be a more focused, creative person. I notice it as soon as we remove a substantial amount of toys from her eyeline – immediately she is more focused, plays more happily, and is more imaginative and creative in her play.

31 Days - ValueBut how do you decide what to get rid of? What is of most value? So much is what has been given to you by loving, generous, well-meaning people. There are things that have been passed down to you that were favourite toys of your own as a child. Where do you start?

As we have been discussing this recently, my husband and I have decided that we value our intentions for our daughter more than the stuff we have. And while many of the toys have similar value (we have generally purged what does not), we have settled instead on ‘rotating’ toys. We give her one basket of toys and a handful of books that she can play with to her heart’s content, and then when we feel it is time to change, we bring in some ‘new’ (or rather old) toys that have been long forgotten and so are once more exciting.

And what always impresses me is how much more she values them then, too! It turns out children really are happy with less, no matter what the world tells us…

What about you – do you find it difficult to purge your children’s toys? Do you have a ‘rotation’ system in place? Do you find that your children do better with less?


31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes


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