Category: Musings

Children’s Age Gaps: How to get them to play together… Nicely?

When we got rid of all our Duplo sets arguments between two siblings stopped. But they soon commence again when it comes to having the few toys we had left; the arguments that began to break out again were mainly about sharing and what belongs to who.

There is a small 3 and a half age gap between the two so the youngest who is 2, doesn’t really understand yet whereas the older one is very aware just stubborn!

Our solution was to buy dressing up outfits; one each – so they could play together, exactly the same.  This way, the eldest uses her imagination and the youngest, who doesn’t have clue what’s going on really, follows the eldest around; feeling like she’s involved in the game.

The Problem with Minimalist Thinking

There are and aren’t problems with the way Minimalists think…

First, a Minimalist will think “Do I really need this item?” – which isn’t the problem.

However, when donating their own items – out of good will – because they don’t need or want it anymore – they are actually passing their crap, whether or not it’s in good or non-working condition on to another person.

“One man’s trash is another man’s treasure”

…Really? When you could be fuelling someone’s hoarding obsession…? Especially if it doesn’t work and you lie to have the item taken by someone who generally needed the item. Yes, this really happens apparently!

Or the fact that the Minimalist is passing on their crap to someone else to make themselves feel better – “Be grateful someone is taking the item out of your hands” was the general response I received when I blogged about Greedy People on free stuff websites.

Now, I could understand if these items were not working or damaged etc – yes I would be grateful I didn’t have to take it to the dump – but they weren’t, they were well looked after items and the intention of good will was being exploited and abused.

As Minimalists of all stages – whether you are a hardcore extremist or doing it for the trend, you should be spreading the word about Minimalism and not just pawning your crap off to others to make yourself feel better, be more concerned about others to make the world a better place – if you do not to do this, no one will.



Secondly, a Minimalist thinks “I wouldn’t accept an item into my house if I hadn’t seen a picture first, why would I travel all that way to pick up an item I’ve not seen?”

A question to think about as a Minimalist who is buying or accepting free items from others; “Do I really need this item?”

Although these Minimalists have a point about the travelling to pick up a free item that they’ve not seen the item in a photograph; it costs petrol or transport money, fair enough… But you are mostly being materialistic and concerned with aesthetics, if the item works, who cares what it looks like as long as it does it’s purpose and you actually need the item!

However, despite there yes, being shady people who want you to pick up their damaged and non-working crap so they don’t have to deal with disposing that – you have to trust that there are good people out there who are willing to help those who are in need.


Thirdly, “Just because they’re poor doesn’t mean they have to accept anything without seeing a pic first”

Again, if you’re a Minimalist – why are you buying or accepting free items from others; Do you really need those items?

However, I’m on the fence with this one because I do agree with what you are trying to say, but then again… “Beggars, can’t be choosers” – If they really needed this item they would accept it (or decline as no one is forcing them to take the items) and make do – or is that only a British thing and/or developing country thing?

Usually you are grateful for anything you receive for free, but we as a society seem to have forgotten that.


And last but not least… “Maybe these people are Minimalists too and want to know if the item(s) fit into their homes and lives” …Er, I very, very much doubt that if they’re asking for every single item you have!

Or “Don’t be so petty, maybe they needed the money”, maybe they did, maybe they didn’t however here in the UK we have plenty of charities and organisations to help people, however, most do not want to be helped because it means them having to get up off their backsides and do things for themselves.


How we got into Minimalism is simple

When I first met the “other half”, I was a few months away from moving in with a new flat mate.  This was our first move together, although she didn’t move in at that time.

She helped me get rid of books, CDs, DVDs, games at first. We did several purges over the next 12 months and sold them online; we probably made £100 in total from books alone. I still buy the odd one or two books for flights, they’re currently under the bed collecting dust.

Next we did several “purges” of clothing to charity, which I just seem to accumulate every shop to a supermarket. The other half has done really well, she had a lot of clothes and a lot of bags and a lot of boxes.

I do still own a few CDs and games, but not DVDs. Everything is digital now which is a light load off having “stuff”. We use BBC iPlayer, ITV player, Channel 4OD, Netflix, Amazon Prime and Now TV for TV shows, documentaries and movies. The kids enjoy it too. For music we use Spotify or YouTube for the kids. For books, we use iBooks on the iPad or iPhone and also Audio Books.

We are a long way from “Extreme Minimalism” and I don’t think that’s our goal, we just want to be able to live without spending most of our spare time cleaning and tidying.

My journey to minimalism so far

My journey to minimalism so far…

Six months ago I bought 20 – yes 20 – plastic storage drawers to sort out our lives, we had all had 4 each, but we’ve reduced that down to 2 each (except for me who has upgraded to a 11 drawer plastic storage unit and I have 3 out of 4 under bed plastic roller boxes!).

The idea was to reduce what we own by only allowing what could fit into the drawers. It has worked although we still own a lot of stuff.

The other 16 were for the kitchen equipment and food (3), towels (1), bathroom toiletries and medication (1), equipment for snow/winter and swimming (1), bedding (1), craft equipment because of 3D printing (2) & laser cutting equipment (1), postage & packaging equipment (1) and the children’s crafts (5). Originally the girls had two 4 plastic storage draws each to fill their toys with.

We used these drawers to move house, it was so much easier then lugging random small plastic boxes around and making a dozen trips to the van and back. R only uses one 4 drawer unit for her clothes, where as the girls have two each which stack on each other but she does use a lot of them to house the craft equipment she and the girls use and stock the craft equipment she sells.

I have upgraded the kitchen equipment into a 6 plastic drawer storage unit which also stores food as well (where as before it took up three 4 plastic storage draws) – and the toiletries, medication, towels, swimming equipment, snow/winter equipment and bedding into a 10 plastic draw unit.

I’ve taken down 7 out of 14 shelves so far – still a way to go!
I’ve donated 14 car journeys worth of stuff; clothing, toys, baby equipment; a complete dolls house, a wooden kitchen with food, £150’s worth of Brio train tracks and lots of craft items.

I’ve donated two single beds, one double bed with a mattress, a hoover, a baby changing table, a electric baby swing, a pram, a highchair, a trike, a corner sofa, a table top fridge, an IKEA desk. Lots of bric-a-brac.
I’ve donated cardboard boxes, wrapping paper, bubble wrap etc and also countless plastic boxes.


One of the burdens of having “too much stuff” is finding a place to store it, I used to buy so many cheap, weak plastic boxes – all shapes and sizes – just to store all these things and made it difficult to find anything because it’ll all be dumped into a box and forgotten about.

Then 6 months ago, I got these plastic storage draws and decided that we could only keep what fitted in them. I thought I was being organised but I was actually starting my journey on to minimalism without realising it.

Before this I only ever had a “clear out” every so often. After buying these draws, did I really “purge” 90% of forgotten, useless stuff that wasn’t used to charity. I honestly thought people would think I was a bit weird for wanting to live this way, until I came across the documentary on minimalism.

I gave away 99% of the old plastic boxes we had, but kept 3 strong boxes though as they’ve been trusty for almost 10 years now.

So finally today, I went into the shop where I bought the plastic storage drawers; I was looking at plastic boxes to store Christmas, Easter and Halloween decorations – and was looking at the sizes and thinking well these two are perfect … then upon looking at the price I thought “Hang on, I have these sizes at home” and I remembered that I didn’t need to buy these…

I just need to remove the crap from the two boxes I have at home instead 😂 (which was my plan I just never have time to do them at the moment!)