When I bought my house I prided myself on how I kept things so neat and orderly. I am not a neat freak by any stretch but I loved coming home and it looking like it was staged for HGTV. I was constantly finding little decorations or accent pieces to style the home with, trying to create this updated farmhouse look. You might remember pictures in earlier posts.
However time goes on and I found myself acquiring more and more pieces to decorate this house with. Eventually I started filling my closets and drawers with the excess. Nothing crazy, but as with everyone’s homes, over time things just pile up and you quickly shove them here and there when people come over and you need to do a quick clean. But there they stay.
After Liam was born the house took on a whole new look. TOYS! TINY CLOTHES! TINY SOCKS! AND TINY SHOES! ……everywhere!
When I was pregnant I told myself I will not allow my house to be taken hostage by hundreds of stuffed animals, trucks, cars, balls, and little figurines that you have no idea which toy they originally went to.
However when I look around my house now I realized I completely lost the battle. The playroom is lined around the whole perimeter of the room with endless amounts of toys. And my son is only 1….
The realization hit me like a slap on the face; this is only going to get worse. There are more birthdays, Christmas’s, random “hey you were good today” presents that were going to come and I am not ready for it.
I knew I needed to make a change and it had to start with me. I cannot force my husband or baby boy to take on this new lifestyle if I am not leading by example. I am reading the book “Clutter Free with Kids” by Joshua Becker – Brilliant! Read it if you get the chance! He starts out telling a story of how he was doing his annual spring cleaning in his garage and while pulling out bin after bin of belongings he and his wife have acquired over the years, his five year old son, who was helping for all of 5 minutes, found a bat and ball and asked if he could go play in the backyard. Three hours later he stopped cleaning and saw his son was playing with that same bat and ball the entire time his father had his head buried in boxes. He had the realization that if he wasn’t cleaning and reorganizing all of this stuff then he could have been spending those precious three hours with his son in the back yard.
That story hit home with me. Liam is so small right now and with my husband and I working full time jobs, plus our photography on the side, by the time we pick him up from my mother’s house and get him home, fed, bathed and play for 30 minutes or so, it is 7:30 and time for him to go to bed. When I stop to think about it, in the grand scheme of things, I really don’t spend much time with him at all. Weekends are precious to me for making up that time with him, but they are also filled with constant running around, food shopping and cleaning that was neglected during the week. I started to reflect on the author’s story and understand that if I didn’t have the endless amounts of laundry, and constant “tidying up” or reorganizing then I am free to spend more of those special moments with my son.
So it was time for a change! Earlier this week after Liam was put to bed and sound asleep, I got to work. I went to the 2-3 junk drawers we have in our kitchen that have become the “catch all” for when we are not sure where to put something but have to get it out of sight. I emptied the drawers on floor with a garbage bag and box next to me. Trash was thrown out and things that things that someone else could use was put in the box to be donated or sold at our yard sale we will have early next month.
I was forced to pick out the things that I truly cared about keeping. I was putting a value on those items. I was forced to ask myself “Do I need this? Or do I just want this?”
It was liberating! I felt I could breathe again! Not to be dramatic, but honestly it felt amazing to take this step towards a minimalistic lifestyle that I now craved. Less stuff meant more time. And time is what we all wish we had more of. After the kitchen I moved to the bathroom where I did the same process with the endless amounts of crap that accumulated under the sink (I am pretty sure floor cleaner from 2001 doesn’t work the same as it did 15 years ago….GONE)
Striving to live with less is so exhilarating to me. Less laundry, less cleaning, less money spent on things we don’t actually NEED and more put towards the things that make us happy, like family camping trips and vacations….. the possibilities are endless.
Next I plan on tackling my closet…. That will be a whole other battle…..stay tuned….