I’ve never been one to jump on the trendy bandwagon and embrace the latest “thing”. I don’t rush out to buy the latest best-seller or try out the newest gadget on the market.
I’m also resistant to habits or routines and tend to not read the instructions that come with almost everything…except life. Life comes with no instructions and it would make things easier if it did…not that I would read them so I guess it’s a moot point.
Anyway, if you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you know that a common theme has been my desire to live a simpler, more intentional and less cluttered life.
I’ve de-cluttered and organized and de-cluttered again. I’ve made countless trips to the thrift store with lots and lots of stuff. I’ve made lists and plans and schedules in an attempt to get my act together and live in a serene and peaceful home…
OR a reasonable approximation of peace considering the ever-changing chaotic circumstances our family calls life.
At the very least, I’d like to keep up with the dishes, not have wads of dog hair clogging up the base boards and occasionally be able to actually use the dining room table to dine on.
I try to keep my expectations reasonable (except when I’m having a cranky, irritable, unreasonable mood swing, but that’s a subject for another blog post).
So, the other day my oldest daughter came to me and said, “Mom, I think we should get the Kon-Mari book and read it and try it out”.
Um. No. Everybody is buying, reading, and blogging about that book. Why would I want to do that? I’m already de-cluttering just fine. Look at that pile of stuff in the hallway – that’s been there for over a month waiting to go to the thrift store.
Oh wait, maybe I should keep that whatchamacallit that’s in that box. I might need it.
Okay, let’s be honest. What I’ve been doing hasn’t been working or I wouldn’t have been working on it for a year -or two – or more.
We got the book. I started reading it. My daughter finished reading it and told me what to do. Old habits die hard.
But, they can die and new, better ones can take their place.
It seemed stupid and like an enormous amount of work, but we followed the instructions.
We piled ALL of our clothes on the dining room table (after we cleared it off which took forever). We touched every object. And we got rid of a lot.
We piled ALL of our books on the dining room table (after we cleared it off which didn’t take that long) We got rid of half of them.
Then, ALL the cleaning supplies were placed on the dining room table (which was clear). All of the cleaning supplies are in one place where they can be found and hopefully used – cause that’s kind of the point of having them.
And so on…
I don’t know why it’s working…or how.
But it is working.
And we aren’t finished yet.
Something changed. Somehow.
This is what we’ve accomplished so far…
A scary amount of stuff is on it’s way out. But, more importantly, I’m excited about the empty storage and “organizational” containers.
While clarifying and articulating what my ultimate goal was, something clicked. Figuring out if an item brought me “joy” made a difference.
In my case, that meant that an item had to be worth the cost of taking care of it.
Not just “did I find it useful”, but was it useful enough that it warranted using it, cleaning it and finding a place to keep it.
I’m still struggling with the “beautiful” category. I have a corner that has “beautiful” things in it. I’m slowly making decisions about whether it’s “beauty” is worth the cost of my time to care for it. As an artist, I can see beauty just about anywhere in anything, but I can’t “afford” to fill my life with it all.
I’m finding that my joy is with less responsibility to things. A shorter to-do list and more time for the things that I have identified as important: being kind and patient with the people that I love (and trying to learn that I am one of those people, or should be) and making stuff that sometimes ends up being art.
We lost momentum in the process while I was depressed, but I’ve started back up again.
I’ll keep you posted!
Visual artist playing with collage, assemblage and whatever else I imagine. Homemaker and homeschooling Mom of four children aged 10 to 24. Ready to fully embrace life and leave regret and fear behind. Each new day is an opportunity to love, create and live with intention...