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Special Report: Less is More

Do the gifts pile up at your house this time of year? All of those holiday purchases can mean a lot more clutter.
The Nguyen family has chosen to live with less – starting in their daughter's room.

"Previously, she'd walk into her room and there'd be so much stuff she wouldn't know what to play with." Jimmy Nguyen said.

They purged her room of all but a handful of toys and books. They found she only missed one thing, but now plays more creatively with what is left.

Think your kids may not be so excited about this?

"Maybe easing into it would be the right way to do it," Tobi Nguyen said.

So, instead of tossing everything at once, get rid of a few toys a week. And work on other areas in your home, so the kids see everyone is living with less.

"One of the simple things we've done is we just each have two towels," Tobi said.

Sound extreme?

Kim John Payne wrote the book “Simplicity Parenting” and says as the world gets crazier, you have to clear the clutter to find balance, and the easiest place to do that is at home.

"When we overload our kids, when there's just too much, too soon, too sexy, too young, just too much,” Payne said. “What happens is it actually disadvantages them."

So, according to Payne, eliminating what you have, instead of adding to it, actually helps your child, and your entire family. People everywhere are giving it a try.

"It isn't exclusive to economic background, to ethnic or racial background,” Payne said. “It really is something that parents are looking for across the board."

In fact, there are even groups that meet to support families looking to live with less.

"It's ok to let go of all this stuff and to de-clutter and your kids don't need 150 toys." Group leader Rae Lee Pierce said.

Payne says it isn't the toys that either the kids or their parents were really interested in.

"They were buying a lot of stuff out of feeling of wanting to connect with their kids," Payne said

Payne believes when the buying stops, the children connect with the parents, not the products. And he finds adults feel less stress when they simplify, too.

The Nguyen family agrees, and has gone beyond simplifying their stuff to also simplifying their schedules.

"It's not as chaotic," Jimmy said.

The families we talked with said this was an ongoing process, and they would do a monthly cleanout, along with two big purges, typically around the holidays and summer.

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