Journey

Where have I been the last couple of days?  Basically, having a really hard week on the decluttering front that has resulted in a big breakthrough!  I’ve felt like I hit a wall on making progress in my home.  I’ve had doubts that the stuff was the real problem – is stuff causing the stress or is stress causing the stuff?  Am I making any progress or is dealing with the stuff a diversion to avoid real problems.  Just a lot of doubt.

On the advice of a friend, I’ve been kinder to myself and just boxed up some stuff that I can’t deal with right now.  I didn’t want to use that route for everything though.  I’ve been dealing with ten items at a time – pick it up and make a decision – it either goes or if it stays it finds a permanent home.  Then I’ve taken breaks.  Lots of breaks and lots of decisions!

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All this went to the thrift store today.  Storage “solutions” that didn’t work or weren’t needed anymore and lots of random stuff that just isn’t needed.

Usually, when the stuff has hit the box, I’ve wondered why I even kept it at all.  This time, I realized that if I saw some of this stuff at the thrift store, I might  consider purchasing it.  I’m letting go of stuff that I actually like and that I still see potential in.  I’m letting it go anyway.  I feel like that is a big step.

Yesterday, while “supervising” me (keeping me on task), my oldest daughter asked a question out of the blue…

“Mom, did you ever feel like you had a home growing up?”

I didn’t answer.

She continued on…

“Is that why you work so hard to make a home and worry so much about it?”

Talk about a real therapy moment – if you’ve ever spent any time with a therapist you know what I’m talking about.  You spend 45 minutes talking about a subject aimlessly and the therapist sums it up for you in one sentence.

The answer would be that no, I don’t suppose that I ever really felt comfortable, secure and safe in any of the places that I lived growing up.  I knew that none of it was permanent – we moved every year.  My parents had a challenging relationship.  I didn’t have close friends and we weren’t close to any family.

The point of the journey that I’ve been partially documenting and sharing here, is to find some simplicity, peace, and intentionality in my life.

I’d have to say that I’ve logged a lot of steps in my journey this week.  I’ve gained understanding, been reminded to be kinder to myself, and shed a lot of guilt and possessions.

Just as in life, the hardest parts of the journey result in the best views.

Peace.

Thursday’s “Duh” Moment

We live in a pretty big house.

Sometimes it seems way too big and too much to keep up with, but sometimes…

It seems just right.  Holidays, weekends, all four kids home, guests over for dinner and games…

Sometimes it seems too far away from everything.  A trip to the grocery store, a movie out, going to work, a quick jaunt to the library are all at least 20 minutes away – most trips are more like 45 minutes to an hour.

Most times it seems like the perfect spot to live.  Neighbors that aren’t too close or too numerous and lots of wildlife:  Deer, raccoons, possums, birds galore all wandering or flying about.  Lots of elbow room!

In any case, we are here to stay.  At this point in our lives when we are trying to get out of debt and live a simpler life, we just can’t beat our mortgage payment.  We have four bedrooms, two living areas, and two bathrooms for about what a one or two bedroom apartment would cost closer in.  That’s double the space for less money.

I read articles about families that are downsizing and moving to smaller homes to save money.  That doesn’t work in our area.  There is nothing cheaper than where we are now.  Not with working plumbing and a solid roof anyway.  I’ve done the fixer-upper house.  Even if you do-it-yourself, it’s not a real money saver.

One of the biggest problems with living in a large space is the ability to have more stuff.  We also have a ton of storage space – lots of cabinets and closets.  It tends to fill up fast and because its out of sight, it can be out of mind.

Unless you happen to have compulsive tendencies and obsess over what the inside of your cabinets and closets look like.  I am constantly pulling things out in order to tidy and organize things.

Today’s “duh” moment as I’m attempting to get things “together” for a peaceful holiday season with a lot of guests?

Having more doesn’t equate to doing more.

Having more art supplies does mean that you make more art.  A certain amount of supplies are necessary of course.  I don’t have any idea what that amount would be.  I am figuring out that you can’t keep it all.  Everything may have potential.  I can only create so many things…a finite number.  I can’t easily create anything if…

I don’t have a clear surface to create at or if I can’t find what I need to work with.  Some folks may work well in their packed studios with endless boxes and bags and shelves and…

…but I am coming to the realization that I can’t or don’t.  I need to find out what works for me and quit trying to “look” like an artist and just become comfortable with being one.

More chairs and pillows and decorations don’t make for a more comfortable house if…

…you can’t relax and enjoy the home.  If you are afraid someone will come over and see it as a mess or if you feel the need to constantly apologize for how it looks.

More supplies in the kitchen – dishes, pans, spices, food – don’t make for better meals or better entertaining if…

The dishes aren’t washed, the table isn’t cleared and the fridge is so cluttered that you can’t function in the kitchen.

More clothes don’t mean that you dress any better.

More school supplies don’t mean that you learn more.

More cleaning supplies don’t mean that you clean more.

More books don’t mean that you read more.

More just simply isn’t more.  More is not simple.  More is hard work.

It has to be paid for, picked up, cleaned up, stored, sorted, found, organized, accounted for…

and did I mention PAID FOR?

I know all these things.  Knowing and doing are two different things.  Sometimes knowing has to be realized more than once.  Sometimes I forget.

I have invited a lot of guests for Thanksgiving.  Folks that may not have a family to be with – a home to share a meal in.  I am excited.  I hope they all come.  It means a lot to me.  I want to welcome family and friends – old and new.

I want my home to be ready to welcome them.  I don’t want to apologize or be anxious.  I just want to throw open my door and say “Welcome, I’m glad you are here.”

I have work to do.

I haven’t posted the five items the last several days, but fear not.  Stuff has been going.  I just haven’t had time to take a photo or post.

At least five items have left each day. More old business files have been recycled.  Craft items, scrapbook paper, dried up markers, clothes, pillows, pantry items, trash, and more art and craft supplies – gone.

Today.  Thursday.  I have realized that more isn’t always more.  More stuff doesn’t mean more productivity or happiness or security.

For me, more stuff means more anxiety, more work, and more stress.  I’m so tired of dealing with it all.  I’m tired of it taking up so much of my time, energy and focus.

Change is hard.  Change doesn’t happen all at once.  Change is a journey.  Change is not a destination.

Back to the journey for me.  Happy Thursday to you!