The Toys That Bind

All mortals tend to turn into the thing they are pretending to be.

– CS Lewis

I tweeted last night that I threw down four boxes for us to fill with either give-away items or garage-sale paraphernalia and that things were ‘about to get real.’ The effect of such an action was fairly inconsequential since Jen was humming Amos Lee songs and dusting off cake pans we used at our wedding while absolutely ignoring my every word, but hey I threw down those boxes with some passion!

We aren’t what people would call pack-rats, nobody from TLC is banging down our door to tape an episode of “Hoarders”, and even if we were there’s only so much you can fit into 600 square feet (I feel like us saying “our apt. is 600 sq. ft.” is the Geico caveman commercial of this blog, cute the first time it ran, agonizing every time since…I digress…and I’ll try to stop mentioning how big our apt. is). Also, we committed to not buying any new clothes for a year which I think is an easy enough vow to keep for two people who already have more than enough clothing. And I would say we’ve gotten rid of more than we’ve acquired since knotting the knot in early June.

We still struggle though.

“An iPad would be functional, wouldn’t it?”
“I think I want a new bicycle to ride around Dallas in!”
“There’s this great tennis racket I need to get!”
“We need some fun luggage, don’t we? You know, just in case!”
“I’m buying a $6,000 letter press, I don’t care what you say!”

OK, I made the last one up, but I’m sure we’ve had a conversation about the first four. I know we have.

On our Colorado trip I did some pretty intense reading on minimalism. Minimalism includes topics like “how to only own 100 items” and “how to fit your entire life into one backpack”, crazy stuff like that. Anyway, I’ve fallen for it like my wife fell for nunnery (or is it nun-hood?) and I’ve been trying to give away everything we own since we got back to Dallas. Thankfully Jen is rational (relative to me) and we still have items to sit/sleep on and food to eat, but I’m serious, things are getting REAL around here!

I’ll go more in depth on Thursday (we’re about to start long-post Thursdays…just warning the ADHD of you in advance) but for now the war is being waged. What do we really need? How do we control our stuff instead of the other way around? How do we not let the accumulation of household items get to the point that we need to buy more stuff just to store all the stuff we already own?

How can we not live this American dream we keep hearing about?

Answers coming Thursday. Or just more questions. I’m not sure yet.

P.S. – Note to self: stop quoting self in blog posts…

Photo Attribution

Published by


I'm an aspiring freelance writer and blogger (which doesn't make a ton of sense when you think about it). I started a blog called Our Marriage Project and one about OSU called Pistols Firing. I love both of them, and I love my wife. And I love Kevin Durant, Explosions in the Sky, Tim Riggins, Blue Moon ale, Twitter, and the state of Georgia.

15 thoughts on “The Toys That Bind”

  1. Going on a mission trip to the DR cured me of materialsim, big time. We are so blessed and they have so little. But yet they have everything that matters, which is hope in Jesus. I want that. And as our lives are filled with "stuff" there is less room for Him. Cleaning closets and corners hurts, but it's worth it. We ALL need to downsize if you ask me.

  2. i desperately want to get rid of all the junk we own. because we own too much. we have a 1700 sq. ft. house, and it's full. it was full the day we moved from our 800 sq. ft. apartment into the house. i am not sure how we managed that exactly, but we did.

    and while i have not made an official pledge to not buy any new clothes for a year, i think that's probably the best idea for me. i already fill up the walk-in closet. my poor husband is banished to the closet in one of our spare bedrooms.

  3. What perfect timing this post is! We are moving from an 1150 sq ft house to a 2 bedroom apt/4 rooms total, well, 5 if you count the bathroom. And while we are getting rid of stiff, we are also acquiring needed things. Like a much needed futon from Janelle (above who is also gettig rid of stuff!) since we are giving our queen size bed away. Yet, I had to laugh at myself yesterday when I couldn’t seem to part with a kitchen item that I saved when we went thru my grandmother’s things in 1987 that I have never used! It’s the sentimental things we’ve collected over nearly 28 years of marriage that are hard(er) to throw away, but I am intrigued by this 100 thing minimalist idea. Maybe just maybe it will have an effect on my purging/packing this week.

    1. It's funny because it's easy to write about and in theory it's awesome, and then when you're staring at [1987 grandmotherly item] it suddenly doesn't seem like a good idea anymore….hang in there. And make sure you and Janelle aren't just swapping stuff! πŸ™‚

      Thanks for sharing.

  4. In terms of the American dream and what the gospel calls us to, take a look at David Platt's Radical. Its a solid book that will put the American Dream in perspective.

  5. My husband and I lived in a 325 sq ft apartment right after we got married. The rent was exceptionally cheap, it was in a lovely three floor apartment building in a great neighbourhood. I think home wise, it was the happiest place we ever lived. Let me tell you – when you have an argument in the middle of winter in Ontario (Canada) in a place that small, you get over it fast and let it go. There is literally no space to be mad in πŸ˜‰

    Small spaces can make for great relationships. We live in a large house now, but both of us think very fondly on our years in that small one room apartment. Enjoy your 600 sq ft while you have it. One day you'll move on to bigger and better things so remember to hold on to the intimacy this small space has given you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *