We live in a three bedroom house and have two kids. We have our bedroom and Charis has her own room, but up until now, Cai has been kind of a nomad without a place of his own because Joy and I have been using the third bedroom for Joy’s sewing and crafts and my desk, books, and other stuff. But Cai is coming up on two years old in a few months and eventually he will need a room of his own, so we decided to go ahead and make that happen now. It’s kind of been looming over our heads since Cai was born since we knew it was coming eventually, and I think it will be good when it’s finished, but the process of getting there has been a bit of a challenge.
We could just get a bigger house, but God provided this house for us, and we don’t feel like he’s telling us to move, so we’re operating on faith in that and attempting to be content in the place we are, even if it means some challenging changes for us. Staying in this house allows us to continue to give away money each month as we do now to various ministries and causes that are important to us, and though we could afford to get a bigger house, it would certainly change our financial situation and it would mean we’d have less money to give away. So we’re staying put and letting God teach us and stretch us through the experience.
The changes that challenge me the most are letting go of various things that just won’t work when we give up the craft room / office. As part of this process of condensing down to stay where we are, I’ve become acutely aware of how much “stuff” I have that I don’t really need. I feel like this is an opportunity for me to learn to let go and live more simply. As many of you may know, I’m a big collector of things that I am interested in, and one of the collections that I have is a fairly substantial pile of DVDs. But now I’m selling off most of my DVDs to save space and to get a little extra money to put towards the furniture we need for Joy’s craft storage and for Cai’s room. I’m still keeping some of the classic films that are out of print and unavailable through Netflix, and I’m keeping the Pixar and Jane Austen films that I love, but most of the rest are on the way out.
For many years now I’ve used a home theater projector in the family room so we could watch movies on a really big screen. But I sold that on eBay and we switched to a much smaller flat panel tv on the wall. It doesn’t provide the same big screen experience for watching movies, of course, but it’s still very nice. I guess I’m learning to be content without having to have the “biggest” or the “best”.
I’m also getting rid of my desktop computer. For quite a few years now, I’ve had a desktop computer that I kept up to date so that it was always pretty darn fast compared to current technology. But with a very fast computer comes a large case and lots of loud fans to keep things cool. Since I have a laptop, the only thing I really need in a desktop is a bunch of hard drive space for pictures, video, and other media. So I’m selling the fast desktop and getting a small media center case with average components and a good bit of hard drive space. I plan to stick it on the stereo rack in the family (it should run very quietly since it’s not made up of bleeding edge components, so it shouldn’t a big distraction in there) without a monitor, keyboard, or mouse, and I’ll just RDP into it when I need to work with various media files. I’m also going to lose my desk, and I won’t have a replacement for it in our new arrangement, but I can’t really do anything about that.
As pitiful as it may sound, I’m finding it a little hard to let go of my “stuff”, but I’m also finding a strange freedom in letting go. There is something kind of (not quite sure what the right word is) “unencumbered” about having less stuff around. It’s less stuff to worry about maintaining and storing. Getting rid of most of my DVDs makes it much easier to keep from buying more because there’s not a big collection that I want to add to. Switching to a much more average computer makes it easier to just leave it as it is instead of wanting to keep it up to date with the latest stuff. So now I’m renting DVDs from Netflix, buying books on my Kindle instead of on paper, and in general there is a lot less of the “stuff” that I own around me.
As we continue the process of clearing the way for Cai to have his own room, I’m sure that I still have quite a bit to learn, and hopefully I will continue to pay attention to the lessons in all of this. And when all of this is done, I hope we will end up with two parents who are a little wiser about “stuff” (and less attached to it) and two children excited to have their own individual spaces in our home.