We Must Decrease Before We Increase

decrease_before_increaseLet’s face it. ‘Tis the season to increase. More toys. More books. More clothes. More of everything. Perhaps before we concern ourselves with increasing, it might be time to decrease.

During the month of December, most our families will receive a great many blessings, all of which need to find a place in our homes. Before we focus on this all-important task, now is the perfect time to see where we can afford to downsize. We’ll start the Christmas season with a cleaner home and make room for any goodies our family might receive.

Decreasing is always hard. What if we need that waffle iron at some point, even though we haven’t touched it in over two years? Reducing is a difficult task but oh so necessary. Here’s a few guidelines which have worked well for our family when trying to determine how we might minimize the amount of ‘stuff’:

  • We determine how often the item is used. Toys, clothes, and books which no longer fit our children’s needs, and have no lasting value, need to be removed.
  • We determine if the item has lasting value. If the item can be passed down to younger siblings, is a family heirloom, or timeless we keep it. (Classic reads, fancy dresses, Lincoln Logs, LEGOs, and more are all keepers.)

Once we’ve established which items we need to keep and which will be reused, we reorganize our storage accordingly and marvel at our new use of space. (Doesn’t that feel awesome!) Then, we set to the task of repurposing the items we need to be rid of.

  • We take out the trash. Toys which are entirely thrashed, clothing of a more personal nature, clothing too used to be repurposed, and other items unfit for sharing should be disposed of.
  • We clean up. Clothing is washed, toys are carefully gone over – ensuring nothing is broken or damaged, batteries are removed from devices, and everything is placed in its proper container.
  • We give away. Perhaps there are friends who would be blessed by receiving some of these items. We try our best to give to family and friends in need first, then take all other items to our local Goodwill.
  • We sell. Sadly, we don’t use this option as much as we could. I’d rather give than sell. It’s much easier. However, there is value in this option and should be considered.

Increasing seems much simpler than decreasing, doesn’t it? During the month of holiday-toy-safetyDecember, our families receive a great deal of blessings. Food, clothing, toys, and more come in brightly wrapped packages. Perhaps this is why December is also National Safe Toys and Gifts Month! 

Once again, our friends at Consumer Safety encourage us to be on guard for toys and household items which pose potential threats to our families. Even as we’re unpacking those Christmas lights and musical plush items which adorn our homes, this is the perfect opportunity to remind our children about fire safety and the proper usage of batteries. To this end, Consumer Safety has kindly offered us, and our readers, this helpful graphic to remind us of the importance of National Safe Toys and Gifts Month, and to offer tips on increasing wisely.

The truth of the matter is I need less not more. December is the perfect opportunity to decrease our home and pray about what would increase the lives of others. While I downsize, I’m reminded of each blessing and memory, and give thanks for each item. As I plan and repurpose, I pray for the family who will receive the increase, asking for blessings upon their home. With purposeful increase in our own home, we use our money as wisely as possible and ask the Lord’s wisdom in using our finances well.

May the Lord show each of us ways in which we may decrease, focusing more on increasing the lives of others.

“He must increase, but I must decrease.”
~ John 3:30

📢 Chime In!: As parents, do you buy toys or clothing for your kids at Christmas?

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9 thoughts on “We Must Decrease Before We Increase

  1. Great post! ❤️ We are similar. Though I love getting rid of stuff, so I do it year round and we buy small gifts that are specifically picked to help them use their imagination. We haven’t done wish lists or letters to Santa in our family so I think that helps keep their expectations at bay. I love to slow down and focus on what Christmas is all about.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes! I also get rid of things throughout the year. During Christmas, I do buy my children toys and things that they want or that I think they’d have fun with. We don’t buy these things much during the year, either. I encourage my family to purchase experiences as gifts, as well. We’ve gotten annual memberships to a couple of places for Christmas gifts. Definitely a gift that keeps on giving!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. When my daughter was small, I would choose November to clean old, unused toys out of her room. That was also around the time I would start begging relatives to not buy her any really large items for Christmas — “only small gifts, PLEASE!” ha ha You’re right, though, Legos are a definite multi-generation keeper! 🙂

    Have you heard of Marie Kondo? She is a decluttering “expert” whom I recently discovered on the internet. I listened to an audio book of hers called “The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up.” Some of her ideas are quite handy (others a bit unusual). Her method focuses on keeping only the items that “spark joy” for you. You can pare down a crowded house quickly with her method!

    I’m thankful that I am so richly blessed with material possessions, but sometimes I feel crowded out by them. My daugher has dubbed me the “anti-hoarder” because I’m often decluttering and organizing the house.

    Happy holidays!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I appreciate your post! I am totally there…declutter and get rid! And not get more…
    This year we have embraced “experience gifts” from Santa. We celebrate the 12 Days from Christmas to eve of the Epiphany and each day my children are getting some sort of “experience” gift. The 1st day — all the materials needed for us to make handmade dolls, another day, cocoa powder, warm undershirts and a map to the “best place to see the sun rise.” We will make and create together or do something…another day is a “certificate” to the old fashioned ice skating rink near us…Sheila

    Liked by 1 person

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