One of my favorite blogs is Janet Lansbury’s “Elevating Childcare” Blog.  This entry stood out to me recently about unrestricted play time.  Here’s a great quote:

If a voice of reason could be heard through the din of marketing, consumerism and peer pressure, all of which prey upon a new parent’s self-doubt, it would say: “What did babies do before all this gadgetry existed? Did babies walk before there were walkers, jump before there were jumpers? Were children long ago deficient, unintelligent, physically awkward, slower and less capable? Were they less loved?”

I’ve come across a lot over the years about how babies and children are expensive.  It’s definitely true in many senses – heck, I know that health care and child care especially aren’t cheap.

But what about the “stuff” they come with?  Is it all necessary?  How would we fare without it?

One of my favorite clients to work with are parents that are expecting their first baby.  It’s a time where they can begin to shape their ideas for the future about the child-related possessions that will soon be coming into their home – for now and possibly forever.

So many people that I work with who have children felt very organized before those children came along – but now that there are more people in their homes, the stuff seems to come in at an astronomical rate.

It doesn’t even have to be a new baby that can change the look and feel of your home – sometimes a huge life change (a new career, relationship or pet, even!) affects the things that come in.

When you face your next life change, I encourage you to ask yourself these three questions as you bring things in to your home.

Can I do without this for a while?

Exercise equipment is a great example for this one.  Say you’re starting a new exercise routine – do you need a huge treadmill in your living room, or can you start by walking outside for a bit to make sure you’re committed and then go from there?

How will having this make my life better, and is this a real or perceived value?

Considering a jumper, exersaucer, pack-and-play AND a bouncy seat for your new baby?  Could just one of these things give you the break that you need during the day (value) and save you space and money?

Is there something that I already have that will work just as well?

I’m constantly re-arranging my office and would love more light.  Instead of running out and buying a lamp, I found one in my living room that is rarely turned on and moved that into the office – saving me time and space.

When you make a change, big or small, can you avoid buying something and fill the need with something you already have?

When our lives change, it’s very easy to buy things to accessorize the newness.  Sure, it can be fun – but think about how it will affect your home.  Plan accordingly.