Buying into the Materialist Lifestyle

I have been struck recently by how easy it is to buy into the consumerist mentality that this world offers to make us happy. When I first became pregnant with my daughter, I was amazed at all the fancy gadgets that were available to satisfy every need that your child might have. Everything was so colorful, and fancy! Deluxe toys for your tiny baby…is that necessary? What is this encouraging? I thought to myself, why do we need all these fancy items for our children? Why do we feel like we have to entertain them? Do we not know that God has given them creative instincts to creative, think and develop their own entertainment without the need of computers, televisions, etc?

I have been surprised at how far I have slipped from this belief I held during my pregnancy. I bought or was given so many different little toys for my girl to play with. I thought since I was always buying the items used, we were being wise and frugal. What she really needs is relationship! She needs my love and attention. She is so happy to be doing what mommy’s doing in the ergo or just watching me from the laundry basket (thanks to Stephanie over at Keeper the Home for that idea!). The things I bought didn’t make her happy. She preferred just sitting up on her own with daddy’s water bottle, or my watch, or a little book. Wow! How eye opening!

I remember while growing up, my brothers would thrive in making up games of their own. They would build board games, etc. and be entertained for hours. They were so much fun! Building wise habits now in our entertainment decisions for my daughter will help greatly as she grows older.

My eyes have been opened to how easily these purchases have been increasing this worldly materialist idea in my head that we need an abundance of possessions in order to be happy or make our children happy. It’s a false hope! Only Christ Jesus can satisfy that deep desire for happiness. Not sucumming to this mindset also saves money and builds up the family life as we spend more time together!

Well, I am clearing things out today! That is my step for today in making my home a haven! I am returning to a simpler lifestyle!

And no, that picture does not come from my house, thank goodness!

What steps can you take to simplify your home? Here are a few ideas:

  1. We are only doing stockings for Christmas this year. So all the gifts will be small and practical. It has to fit in the stocking! This has really simplified my shopping and kept our focus on the true meaning of Christmas…we don’t need a lot of stuff that is going to take up room and come between us and the Savior whose birthday it really is!
  2. I have a friend with boys that only allows them to pick out 2-3 cars to play with for a certain period of time. The rest are stored away. When the end of the time comes they are excited to pick out 2-3 other cars to trade them in for. This keeps them with something new and fresh and yet not overloaded with too much toys at one time. Keeps the house more clean and organized as well. I was amazed at how content they were. I thought this was a great idea and can be used for any number of items in your home or your children’s toys!
  3. Clear out your stuff and donate to charity or another family. When we were first married another family gave us a collection of toys they were clearing out. It was definitely a random collection but it was very useful to have on hand for our hospitality.

God bless!

About Lindsay

Lindsay Edmonds is first a lover of Jesus, wife, mother of four, homemaker, and writer. She loves inspiring women around the world toward simple, natural, and intentional living for the glory of God.

6 Responses to Buying into the Materialist Lifestyle

  1. Jamasina July 15, 2012 at 7:29 am #

    I remember when my husband and I went to fill out our baby registry… that was overwhelming! At the time we lived in a small apartment, so we didn’t want to ask for things we weren’t going to need (but the store sure makes you feel like you need everything!). We ended up keeping the registry very small (I had it looked over by another mom), and most of my son’s toys and clothes have been given to us by another family.

  2. Casey M October 6, 2011 at 2:09 pm #

    We’re moving towards a more home-made, simple lifestyle, although initially more for financial reasons (as we’ve had alternating job losses during this recession), it’s become pretty cathartic to realize that you can do more with less and still be perfectly happy. Seems almost as soon as you make peace with not being able to “Keep Up With the Jones’” an enormous pressure is relieved.

    As far as toys are concerned (both for kids and adults!) the latest & greatest New Big Thing may have it’s initial gut-appeal, but ignoring that initial visceral reaction, both me and my 3 year old get more enjoyment from diversions that require creativity and “doing” something than conventional ‘toys’ of various kinds. Avi has received numerous toys from relatives, most of which ended up trampled on, broken, or ignored. It’s frustrating when the family struggles to make ends meet and the extended family throws hundreds of dollars away on superfluous toys that won’t last or won’t entertain by the end of the week. I think it’s fair to request for more practical gifts. Avi has more fun with handfuls of homemade play-dough and a shoebox of old cookie cutters than she ever had with $100 worth of Zhu Zhu pets and assorted accessories.

    The internet (LOVE Pinterest for this) is a great place to network for simple, frugal, DIY & homemade children’s “toys” and (better) great mind-stimulating activities. Just like how cats would rather play with string than giant electronic mice, ultimately I think kids like to get their hands moving–gluing, cutting, painting…creating. If not, then it has probably been because of lack of opportunity and now habit (especially with electronics) than organic preference.

  3. Niina July 10, 2008 at 8:21 pm #

    I was just going back through some of your simply living posts. They are great. We have had a terrible time with birthdays (we have a 2.5 yr old and a 6 mon old). Our oldest just ends up with so much stuff (We have a very large extended family). Last year on the birthday invitation I requested that there be no gift. However, several people still brought gifts. We allowed Hadassah to open them but when she was playing with friends I took most of the gifts and put them away in the closet. She didn’t even notice. Now, once a month or so we go through all the toys and she donates a few and then I bring out one of the gifts that she got for her birthday. She is so excited to help other kids by donating and it is also fun to get something new. I have never purchased a single toy, books and a stuffed animal or two, but never a toy and still we seem to have an over load. Thanks for the good info. Niina

  4. Stephanie December 16, 2007 at 8:21 am #

    We are struggling with this right now! We have barely bought our daughter a single toy since she’s been born, but unfortunately, we have been bombarded with them, as gifts from others!

    One thing we have recently done that has helped is to take more than half of her toys and put them in bins in the garage. This way there is less mess, and we can rotate the toys so that we can bring out new toys that are fresh to her.

    Also, we try very hard to encourage those who buy toys for her to keep them creative toys. We don’t mind having lots of blocks, lego, dress up clothes, etc. because these are toys that still require the imagination and creativity of the child.

    However, I still feel like we can do more. We have come to really, really dislike how many toys our daughter receives at birthday and Christmas, and want so much for her to not view it as being all about her. I think that we still need to be tougher about the toys we keep and get rid of, and about asking people to give her less. Gosh, I feel like that sounds horrible, but we just feel that the condition of her soul (and as you mentioned, being content and fulfilled in Jesus first!) is more important.

    Ahh, I’m writing a novel. This is my third comment, so I must be in a thoughtful, talkative mood! Thanks for the great posts!

    Stephanie @ Keeper of the Home

  5. Lylah December 13, 2007 at 10:28 pm #

    hi beautiful lindsay…great post. everytime i look at your pic with your little princess..i just can’t help but smile…

    you’re a good mom and writer! keep it up! blessings…lylah

  6. Julie December 13, 2007 at 6:24 pm #

    Good post! We recently did #3. It was fun to go through my oldest daughters toys and things with her and decide what to give to kids who do not have any toys. I am hoping I can help God to cultivate a giving heart in her ,and me too!