Tuesday, September 30, 2014

the struggle: pack rat vs minimalist

I've always gone back and forth between "pack rat" and more "minimalist" tendencies. I'm not naturally super organized, so things get cluttered quickly, and I will finally reach a point of feeling too annoyed at the clutter so I'll get rid of a bunch of stuff, but then I always wonder if I will regret getting rid of things... those few times when something I got rid of months or years before suddenly seems useful again.

Welp, since venturing into homeschooling the pack rat side of me is coming out like never before. Suddenly I want to have ALL THE THINGS so that they're easily accessible for when my kids' interest might be primed for sparking. I want to line my walls with shelves, and fill them with books and games and puzzles and science kits and on and on and on.

At the same time, I also feel like having everything out, kind of masks all those cool things. Out of sight is out of mind, but hidden among the clutter also means that things may go overlooked. My approach to their toys in the past has been to keep fewer ones out and available, rotating toys out every so often. My reasons were that 1) I noticed that often when my kids only had a few toys out, they would get more deeply engaged in those toys, and seem more distracted if there were more things out and available, and 2) the very practical aspect that if fewer toys are out, clean-up is just simpler.

So I'm still going back and forth, trying to find that medium of having things available for catching an eye, while not making everything so busy that it drives me nuts or things get hidden in the abundance. I am also working on my "strewing" strategies, looking for how to clear places around the house so that when I leave something interesting out on purpose it has a better chance of catching an eye and getting noticed... This will likely all be a long-standing work in progress.

I want to make the world available to them, out of a genuine desire and interest in showing them all the incredible and fascinating and wonderful things in the world... and also realize that part of it is the fear that they will "miss out" on some potentially key interest if I don't happen to get the right thing to expose them to it. Which is both kinda valid but also silly, and I don't want fear to be a major motivator for how I do things.

I did have a great lightbulb moment the other day, thinking about Dinovember coming up soon... and I realized what an amazing opportunity it will be for strewing! Dinos playing Monopoly, or writing out a story, or reading a cool new book... so many possibilities. ; )

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