I’m a huge fan of minimalism. You wouldn’t know it by looking at my house though. Just under 3 years ago we moved from 1700 sq feet to 3600 sq feet and had it filled up in one year. That’s 4 bedrooms, 2 living rooms, a toy/play room, a kitchen, a dining room, a laundry room, 4 bathrooms, a reading nook, an office, 2 attic spaces, a storage shed and a garage.
Not “hoarders” full. But like “wow, gramma, that’s really nice that you have 45 decorative pillows on your bed” full. Our home stays relatively tidy and every night I put everything back where it goes (a place for everything and everything in it’s place jussss like mama taught me) but it quickly becomes messy again as soon as the
urchins children are up in the morning. Plus the drawers, cabinets, and baskets are all spilling over. My boys can’t even close their pajama drawers.
We’re just not disciplined enough. I would tell myself. So we would clean up. And then clean up again. And again. And again…and again until I just wanted to burn it all. And we were spending more time cleaning up than playing.
I realized that we might have a problem of too much stuff when I overheard a woman talking about the “blessing” of her house burning down. She admitted that there were things that were really difficult to let go, but that it was kind of awesome because now they were able to start fresh having only the things that they truly need.
That’s when you know there’s problem – when you find yourself feeling a little jealous of the LADY WHOSE HOUSE JUST BURNED DOWN.
I want that for us, I thought, but without the fire. I mean, what if all that infuriating crap laying all over the house wasn’t a part of our house anymore? How much more time would I have to spend doing the things in life that ACTUALLY MATTER???
I read Little House books growing up and remember Laura’s only toy? A corncob wrapped in a rag: aka a doll.
My dad grew up in poverty and had one toy his entire childhood.
Laura grew up to be an accomplished writer.
My dad is a self-made successful business owner and has multiple degrees in higher math and engineering.
There just might be something to it…
A few nights ago my husband and I were having our bi-monthly calendar meeting ~cue the romantic music~ when he asked why I was worn out.
I promptly smacked him and yelled “because I just had a baby ass-hat!”
Jokes. Not really, but seriously, that’s a ballsy question to ask a young mother of four.
But honestly I didn’t really know why. The cloudy weather lately hasn’t helped, but what we came to realize is that I spend an inordinate amount of time every day cleaning up shit.
You think jokes again, right? But I mean, the reality of my life is that 50% of the butts around here require my assistance in cleaning…
However, I’m talking about a whole different kind of annoying mess.
Our stuff. We have so much of it. And a lot of it is attached to sentiment or good intent, but honestly we don’t use most of it.
Gifts, momentos, and toys. Lots and lots and lots and lots of toys.
I’ve been good about getting rid of broken stuff and trash. (And WTH is up with people giving families with kids their random boxes of crap??) It always comes with a “I was cleaning out and I thought your kids might want this stuff.”
No. I don’t. You’re nice, and that’s sweet, and thanks for thinking of us, but. No. Those boxes go straight in the Thrift Store pile.
So, we are cleaning up. For real. My husband introduced me to some friends in Cincinnati who have really inspired us. They have several children, and they don’t have stuff. One day, after being tired of cleaning it up all the time and hearing them fight over it, she just boxed it all up while the kids were sleeping. Every last bit of it.
And they were sad missed it all for one hot second.
Now, all of their kids’ clothes and toys fit into ONE STORAGE BIN each.
One. UNO. U to the N to the Oh NO SHE DIDN’T.
Yes she did. And they LOVE it.
Now, when their kids ask for something they respond with “Would you rather have that thing or have more time with us? Because things take up time.”
Things take up time. Genius Cincinnati. Genius.
These aren’t poor people. They could give their kids a lot of stuff. Their lack of things is a deliberate choice, and one they say they wished they had made sooner. Their kids are creative and fun and smart and engaged with the family (or so I’m told.)
Anyhow, I’m so inspired. ~rummages through huge pile on desk to find a pen~
But I needed help in starting.
~To be fair, the house rarely looks this bad. But the irony of this photo was too good not to use. I have a lot of excuses for why my house looks this way tonight but those honestly don’t matter. Without all this stuff my house wouldn’t look like this and I would get to spend the next hour reading or taking a bath or fricking watching the Kardashians further rule the idiot realm if I wanted to. And pardon my Yoda hands – Miles has the flu so I’ve washed them 1000 times today, in addition to the 1000 times a day I already wash them because of all the aforementioned helpless butts.~
But in all honesty, this book has been incredible for helping to decipher what to keep and what to get rid of – I used her method on my clothes a few months ago and it has stayed tidy and minimal ever since.
And with that, I’m off to sort the laundry room.
Goodbye HUNDREDS of unpaired socks. Be scared HUNDREDS of old rags. Be shaking in your waxy little boots you nasty old candles that “could be used outside or something.”
Adi-frickin-os anything that we don’t use consistently and love.
I’m. So. Amped.
No wine tonight. No sir.
Just tea…and maybe some dark chocolate. Mama needs de-crapping energy.
live well. be well.