What Will You Leave Behind?

I had a conversation with my mom recently {and we have a lot of these conversations} about all the stuff we accumulate.  I grew up in a home where we were blessed but we did not throw a lot of money around.  Due to life and job situations, as I got older we actually started having less money.  Going into adulthood I learned to appreciate a good deal, how to be frugal, and to not have big fancy things. 

My mom and I discussed that when one passes away, the children are usually left with a lot of junk.  In particular we were talking about all the shoe boxes of old photos my mom had that she was saving for us kids to have to look back on.  Though this seems like the nostalgic thing to do, realistically I will probably want a handful of those pictures {not all of them} and my brother probably will continue on in life without any of them.  Now I am all about the memories and photos but as I continue to accumulate more and more every year, I am starting to question all the hoarding we are doing...for memory's sake...or for my unborn children's sake that they might like it or need it one day.  

Last year I did some serious damage to my craft room and got rid of a ton of stuff.  Today it is still a mess.  I have a whole bookcase full of scrapbooks I made from sixth grade up until the year before I got married.  And in case you wanted to do the math, I got married at 25. 

I have had the burden on my heart for awhile now that sometimes all my stuff keeps me from living my life.  And when I am overwhelmed by all the stuff in my house, I leave the house only to buy more.  I read a recent post about being a compulsive thrifter that really hit home with me.  All this time I have been thinking I am saving myself money when really I am just slowly giving it away penny by penny for things I use for a season only to sell it in next summer's yard sale. 

My focus is changing.  I am looking at things differently.  I am working on my craft room again.  Why have stuff when you don't even have the room to use it?  I have started taking photos {only the really good memory filled ones} out of my old scrapbooks to make one large digital scrapbook...a life book before marriage.  It is a lot of work but I think my children will thank me one day that they have one book to look through instead of 20.  I am going through my home over and over again.  I am trying to make things more timeless and simple.  I am trying to make it accommodate the life we live and not just pretty stuff. 

How do you handle all the "stuff"?


  1. good post!
    You know lately this has hit me too.
    We know we are moving, and moving far away. Not sure where yet, but we have felt the Lord say we are. So we are slowly getting rid of things. And I must say it feels good. I'm far less likely lately to buy the awesome lamp or art on clearance at Target b/c of this. And it feels good!
    :)I hope you are doing fabulous my friend!


  2. I'm all about decluttering and only keeping things that are meaningful. as much as we move we need to keep it simple :)

  3. Great thoughts!! While my husband and I would probably call ourselves minimalist, I still struggled with hoarding things that have sentimental value. I've kept things such as pictures, toys, etc.

    When I was little, my Grandparents gave me an American girl doll for Christmas and I absolutely adored it. But obviously, by the time I got older, she was lovingly put away into a box. I always assumed that I would give her to my daughter one day, but the older we get, the more my husband and I realize that we probably won't have kids, and if we do, it will be another 10 years or so.

    About 4 years ago, when my little sister was only 5, I decided to give the doll to her for Christmas. It is so silly, but it was one of the hardest things I've ever done. I worried that she wouldn't take care of the doll and dresses like I had, and all kinds of other crazy things. But finally I was like, she would enjoy this doll so much right now, why am I saving it for something that may never happen?

    I will always love and keep momentos from life, but I've found that it is better to live in the here and now.

  4. I have been decluttering for the past year, especially last year when my family had a huge garage sale. I know I need the basics of furniture and clothing but I've reealized that less definitely is more. I have the philosophy now that if I had to move to Alaska tomorrow, would I want to take it with me? It eliminates ALOT and I've been buying a ton less and making due with what I have. Good luck with your craft room and decluttering. :)

  5. Great post! I find it helpful to put limits on things.

    My mom taught me this when I was growing up. We each had a "special box" that we could use to store our treasures; drawings, rocks, cards, letters.. When it was full, it had to be sorted through and we had to prioritize what was most important to us.

    I have carried this idea over into other areas. I have a basket for mail and papers and when it is full, I have to recycle and file them away. The trick is not allowing yourself to put papers anywhere else. They all have to be put in the box.

    I put magazines in my piano bench and when it's full I have to purge.

    I have a couple shelves in a closet for 'decorative' items I am not currently using(Art, candles, trays, etc..). When it is full I need to go through it and get rid of some items.

    I also try to use the one in, one out rule. If I buy something new I need to get rid of one similar item.

  6. This is such a great post! Thanks :)

  7. This is very true...but I have to say my Parents had one Album for each of us (we are 6 children) and I love going thru them.
    I did scrapbooks before and even though I love it I just don't have the time for it. The big Kid has 2 from when he was born up to his High School Graduation. The little one I am making one for his first 2 yrs. After that I am doing Family albums with all of us. I gave 50% of my crafts to Aiden's former Daycare, when I'm done with the rest it will be donated too.

    Moving from a 4bdr house to a 2 bdr apartment teaches you we really don't need that much.

  8. When I was a kid, we were poor. I mean, really, really, live in one room, no Christmas on many occasions, get boxes of government food poor. My mom was also not the best at choosing partners so she had a lot of bad relationships. On more than one occasion we came home to an apartment that was either completely trashed (like the sofa slashed, fish tank shattered, everything you could break, rip, or destroy broken, ripped, and destroyed) or even worse, just GONE. Clothes, furniture, everything, GONE. We literally would have just the clothes on our backs.

    Therefore, I don't have any hand me downs from previous generations. There simply aren't any. No photos, no jewelry, no furniture. Nothing. We didn't have nice things, because everything had to be disposable. I mean, you never knew when you'd have to pack up in the middle of the night to sneak away from an abusive husband. It makes me sad that I don't have any of these things. I'm jealous of my husband when his dad sends him something that he found from when he was a kid, that he not only had someone who put that sort of thought into him maybe wanting that stuff in the future, but that his childhood was stable enough for it to have survived.

    So yeah, I have stuff. I fill my home with pretty things to make up for the bare single room apartments that I shared with three or four other people. I collect things from the past that make me smile to make up for the heirlooms I will never get from a grandmother. I scrapbook and take photos so that my children will have some idea of what I was like before they were around. I have a room full of art supplies because I can, and because I love to make things.

    I know that kinda makes me sound like a hoarder, but I assure you, I do a good job of keeping things from getting too cluttered and purging on a regular basis. So what if I buy something to only use for a season? If it makes me happy for that season, it's money well spent before it can go on to bless another person. :)

  9. we should just split the photos up. between you and i we can probably get them scanned and uploaded somewhere pretty quick


  10. Of all the things to get rid of the scrapbooks would NOT be the thing to toss. What seems stupid now will seem really exciting a few years later. If my mom had scrapbooks from when she was a kid I'd be in HEAVEN. Pictures are really a legacy we leave long after we are gone. I look at pictures of my great grandma and think of all the things she must have saw and wish I had stories to go with them.

  11. An amazing post! I have been transistioning over the past month realizing that STUFF is not providing me with enjoyment, but only stifling my space, time, and mind! As I slowly free myself of stuff, I have to wonder why I allowed it to overtake me in the first place. What a "freeing" experience.

    I have read so many blogs lately that reflect the slow revolution to minimalism. I am happily aboard this train!

    Thank you, Ashley, for such a revolutionizing post. Please visit me, too, at my blog. I have also posted a piece about my jouney to freedom ~ unloading the stuff!

    You still remain my favorite blogger. I can always relate to you and your thoughts.

    Have a beautifully blessed day!


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