Posted by: angiefm | July 10, 2009


I started reading Created for Work by Bob Schultz recently, because I was concerned that Timothy, even at his tender age of 6, was very averse to work.  Not just hard work but just about any work!  🙂  If I wanted him to run down to accompany Alethea on an errand (she is ever-helpful), he will groan and or outright refuse.  School work is another constant battle.  He takes ages to take out his work and still longer to complete it and spaces out a lot in between.

But guess what!?  The book has been so good for ME!  😀  And I have been reading random passages and chapters to TC also and we’ve had a good time discussing issues.

The other day I read a chapter titled “Maintenance” and it really hit home.  The point was basically this … it is easy to build, acquire, buy, plant, promise … but it is difficult to MAINTAIN.  So what are we to do?  Well, this paragraph in particular summarised it well:

“Limit your possessions to what you can keep in a reasonable condition.  Plan time to enjoy and maintain what you have, before spending time and money to get more.”

Oh man.  Talk about a GUILT TRIP!  We love getting new stuff!

Books are a particular weakness.  I’m always buying new books for the children, but have not been diligent in getting the old ones off the shelves to read to or be read by the younger ones. 

Clothes are another.  I love buying the girls matching dresses and where possible getting Tim a shirt in a similar colour at the same time.  And yet we have LOADS of hand-me-downs from my niece and nephew which we have not been diligent about taking out at the right time.  Also Alethea’s old clothes should have been periodically taken out for Nathalie to wear.

Let me give you an idea of this clothes maintenance issue … My niece Athena’s (12) clothes are kept 4 years for Alethea (8).  My nephew Ethan’s (8) clothes are kept 3 years for Tim (6 but much smaller).  Alethea’s clothes are kept 5 years for Nathalie (4 but much smaller) and I was hoarding Tim and Nathalie’s clothes, waiting to see if baby #4 would be a boy or a girl. 

If my math is right, that’s 22 years’ worth of children’s clothes in one house, in addition to what they are currently wearing!  That’s 25 years’ worth!  *faint*

The SIZE of this problem?  4 large drawers, 3 Toyogo plastic boxes, 20 plastic bags, 3 shelves, 3 wardrobe drawers, 1/2 a hanging rod in the wardrobe.  The other problem is this … we are moving to a much smaller place next year and storage will be a HUGE issue.

So starting last weekend, I RUTHLESSLY went through the clothes, giving them away to friends, cousins, my maid and another maid my Mom knows who is a single mom of a 4 year old and the cleaning lady in my estate.  The ability to bless these people, and at the same time regain my sanity, was awesome!  I was so inspired I went on to clear out our shoe cabinets as well!

So now our principle is very simple – we only keep whatever our kids can either wear now or very soon.  And I have kept some of Alethea’s nicer dresses for Nathalie.  Everything else has been given away.  It is so liberating not to hoard!  Next step is to pare down their CURRENT wardrobe.  But that’s for another time.

And a big THANK YOU those who have helped me to clear out our overstocked books as well.  Our store area is almost totally cleared now!  Where we had 11 large cartons, we are now down to 2!  😀  The area is so empty now there’s an echo!  Ha ha ha.

And my lesson in maintenance is certainly one I have to keep maintaining!


  1. I can so relate! I have clothing stored for all my children (9 years and under). And to compound the problem – that’s spring, summer, fall, AND bulky winter clothing! My excuse is that I won’t have to buy more clothing “just in case” we have more children! (Which sometimes doesn’t work because they are born in a different season, or they don’t grow the same way their older sibling did)

    We’re in the midst of packing to move, God willing (to a bigger place), and I have been trying to pare down their clothing – throwing out those stained-beyond-belief clothing, giving some away, etc. But still, there’s quite a few tubs left.

    Your article will give me something to chew on.

  2. Hm, is it a thing with 6-going-on-7-year-old boys? Sounds very much like my eldest son! Perhaps I should check out this book as well…

  3. Ah!!! So that was why you were decluttering 🙂 Well, *I* am done with mine and my 5 bags of clothes are gone!!! 🙂 But books are hard to de-clutter though 😦

  4. I love the book created for work… My no. 2 is either close to tears while mopping the floor or pouting… sigh…

    And yes before my latest pregnancy, I threw out a whole lot of stuff… including baby toys at which my mum raised her eye brows… but I really felt so good after that. So light if you know what I mean…

  5. Something I can closely related – my eldest son’s(4.5yo) attitude to work i.e. keeping his toys, feeding himself, writing. His fingers will just turn into beansprouts so I am trying this 2 prongs strategies, more fingers exercise and re-align his attitude to work.

    oh about the stuff, you can ask me after having move 3 times within the last 1 year. Throw away so much stuff but still plenty in boxes. Now I try to remind myself – how many clothes can we wear at one time? how many shoes can we wear at one time? It helps to frame up your needs. And we have learned the hard way that storage is a cost/ liability.

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