Ask my poor family who knows that if they can't find some misplaced, but needed, paper or toy or slightly tattered shirt, there's a good chance 'Mom got rid of it' in another (typically weekly) trip to Goodwill.
Living in very small apartments, a 2-year stint in a mobile home with little to no closets, and the basement of a friend's townhome as a family of 3 (with a dog) for 9 years, this decluttering tendency was certainly utilitarian in its origin. I've also come to realize that as an introvert, I long for a clean, open, decluttered space to live in that doesn't overwhelm the senses. I've used the excuse that "I want our home to be welcoming to guests, not chaotic."
But at the heart of it all, is me.
My desire for a certain living space.
My "need" to purge.
My (self-diagnosed) allergy to collections of any sort.
My decor taste that doesn't match my 7 year old's.
My sense of overwhelm I need to soothe.
My, my, my, me, me, me.
In essence I'm saying: "My dislike of your stuff is more important than your enjoyment of your stuff." While I can say that I'm grateful my daughter doesn't have a strong grip on the 'things of this world' (because she's learned that Mom will probably donate it eventually), I know I've been dictatorial in what she keeps and what goes away. In all honesty, I ought to be teaching her how to make those decisions for herself.
I'm learning, hopefully sooner than later, that less isn't always more.
I'm learning that it's OK to give up my coveted open space for the sake of others; whether it's forsaking a nice open basement like I'd love in favor of my children playing imaginatively for hours while they construct larger-than-life forts using every blanket and pillow we own, or letting that dreaded stuffed animal collection grow because they're reminders of an Uncle who thoughtfully curated a collection for his niece from his travels around the world. It's OK to let the papers mount up, because they're not mine to determine the worth or necessity of. Ultimately, I am learning a new respect for the space we all share, and that what makes it 'home' to me may not align with what makes it 'home' to them.
While simplicity is a noble pursuit in all areas of life, it need not come at a cost to the greatest thing we have: relationships. I'm always going to lean towards less stuff. It's hardwired in me. And I doubt that my regular runs to the thrift store donation door will slow very greatly. But in this process, I hope I show more grace, more generosity and more understanding toward those around me, those I love the very most.