Hi! I’m Sarah. Meet Kevin, my husband and my three boys, Kieran (7), Rhys (11), and Finley (10). We live in a suburb of Columbus, Ohio very near THE Ohio State University. Go Bucks!!
After being prompted by the Facebook posts of Spunky Avocado, as well as my own internal inclination to stop the conspicuous consumption cycle that is so prevalent in our community, our family decided to take the Suburban Smackdown Challenge for 6 months (or maybe more if all goes well!). We decided that we will not be doing birthday or Christmas gifts during this time and instead will put our focus on having family experiences rather than things. Since we have 3 young boys, we knew this wouldn’t be easy, so we called a family meeting and discussed the concept of the Suburban Smackdown Challenge, what it would mean and how it would impact our family. After much discussion, the boys came to the conclusion that they would prefer experiences over things, as well. Hooray for the Mueller Family! I felt like this was a HUGE victory!
After the initial euphoria, the real work needed to begin. We started by committing to purging our house of all the unneeded things that were weighing us down and clouding our ability to distinguish wants vs. needs. So far we have gotten through part of the kitchen and all of the boys bedrooms. We have been scheduling clean up areas each weekend as time permits. Next up are our utility/mud room and master bedroom (including closets, ugh). We have been finding treasures and plenty of items to pass along or get rid of. We have had a few negotiations and compromises but overall, I am pleased to say the entire family has been enjoying the experience!
I am looking forward to completing the purge task throughout the entire house/garage/attic. I feel it will make us much more discerning as to what we decide to spend our money on. During this time, we are also starting a “saving jar” in which the whole family will deposit money each week. This money will then be used for a family trip or experience. Our hope is that by doing this we can teach the boys that it is better to pass on purchasing “that something” you really want in order to get that experience that will enhance your life and take root in your memories.
We are more than a month into the challenge and so far so good. The Christmas season will bring about it’s own set of issues but we have communicated to the entire extended family our new approach to gift giving. We are hopeful that there will be no surprises and that they might also have the will to participate in this sort of challenge.
Thank you Amy and Niki for introducing me to this concept and giving me the push I needed to get our family on board. Next up is an overhaul of our food consumption!