In the last few weeks, my family and I have been working hard to purge 50% of our material belongings so we can pack up and move in a wee moving truck across Canada from Ottawa, Ontario to Kelowna, British Columbia (here’s why, as explained by my awesome partner-in-crime, Brad Kynoch).

For those of you who don’t live in Canada, the trek is 4000km (close to 2500 miles). Just picture driving all your belongings from western France to Jerusalem, from Sydney to Perth, Australia or from Orlando, Florida, to Seattle, Washington.

Dude, I know.  So, you get why we’re paring down our things: to live and move, more lightly.

Even if we’re aren’t really big ‘stuff’ people, we’re still amazed at how much ‘stuff’ we have… and don’t really need.

{Quick tip: A basement is like a lady’s purse. The bigger it is, the fuller it gets; out of sight, out of mind and presumably “useful”. If you want to live lightly, avoid big basements and big houses.}

As we purge more and more things, we’re teaching our kids beautiful life lessons about Gratitude and Sharing. The great thing about teaching life lessons is that these lessons pack up nicely, don’t create waste or waste any space. Perfect for a cross-country move.

But, you don’t need to move across the country to teach great life lessons or reap the benefits of a big life change. Here are five benefits of ‘faking a move’ by purging and chipping away at your very own Mountain-of-Stuff. As a side benefit, your home will feel cleaner, fresher, and roomier too… which will help prevent you from moving!

How to Teach Kids to Love Life More By Having Less Stuff

1.     The Gratitude of Habits: Purge Quarterly

Every three months, make it a habit to go through your material belongings with your kids and help them choose things to give forward. Get right in there with their clothes, toys, books, stuffed animals, jewellery. You’ll be amazed at how good they can be when you explain that they should just keep what’s important to them, so we can give forward to another child.

This will teach your children to value and cherish their current belongings and help them practice to let go and share their own wealth.  They’ll also learn about their own feelings around giving and receiving.

This is the first part of learning gratitude: You’re thankful when you have it and when it’s gone, especially if you’ve given it to a good home.

2.    The Entrepreneurial Gratitude

Clearing house can be a fun time to teach kids to run their own little business. As you purge, see if there’s anything you can help your kids to sell. This can be at a garage sale, a consignment store or selling to friends and neighbours. When your kids sell something, you can encourage them to save at least half of the money earned – start with a piggy bank and then graduate to a financial institution.

This simple ‘business’ will teach your kids to make money and act like a little entrepreneur. You’ll be teaching your kids to value their material belongings and to be grateful for what they have and for the money they’ve made. This fun little game can jumpstart their entrepreneurial thinking about how they can leverage their own ‘wealth’ (even if we’re talking toys), save, and eventually invest. Just don’t be surprised when your kids want to sell something they’ve bought at the store for a good profit. It’s part of the game and a fun way to learn about the economy.

A wise word or two: If your hope is to raise entrepreneurs, do teach them the whole part of business, which includes good-hearted giving as well. See #1.

3.    The Gratitude of Sharing, Giving & Helping… That Still Values Your Time.

Some of your goods you’ll just want to donate, straight up. Our rule is to donate anything worth less than about $100, with a few exceptions. Why? Because it takes time to sell things. And time is valuable, so sometimes it’s not worth nickel-and-diming our stuff and our time to sell smaller items. Choosing to donate may also mean gaining a few extra hours to enjoy life and love as a family, which to us, is totally worth it.

4.    The Gratitude of Re-Loving: Turn Pre-Loved into Re-Loved

When your kids give their pre-loved toys or clothes to another child, they experience the rush, happiness and the loving emotion of giving. Instead of seeing their old things as discards, they see their pre-loved stuff turn into re-loveable things. This teaches children the value of giving forward, which will help them as they grow and build a community.

5.    The Gratitude of Space: Create More Space to Play and be Alive

Once you’ve done your quarterly purge with your kids, you’ll get a renewed sense of space in your life. With less stuff, you get more space: for cartwheels, tickle fights and whatever else you feel like doing! You’ll be teaching your kids to value the experience more than the stuff.

We’re only part way through the planning of this mammoth move. But so far, just the planning is providing our children with the living and learning we were hoping for. Yes, it’s uncomfortable sometimes, but that’s how we grow. In fact, our whole adventure has CBC Kelowna curious and Brad and I are chatting on air with CBC Kelowna this week, which is pretty great.

Life is the adventure you make it. Might as well make it fun and find nuggets of gold along the way.

PS: If you’re wondering how you can also find your own ways to build in more freedom and gratitude in your life with kids, but can’t see the next step, then let’s chat. I’m offering five complimentary Up Your Game: Life Acceleration Sessions. Please email us at care[a] Make sure you get yours before they’re gone. 

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Anne-Sophie Dumetz is an educator, speaker and lifestyle designer who supports parents who have a big life mission to truly create the life and world they desire for themselves and their kids. Parents who want Anne-Sophie’s support can start to get it here. If you’re interested in republishing this post, please contact us here.

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