Thursday, May 31, 2012

Simplifying

I have had a lot on my mind lately, which probably explains why the blog has been a bit quiet.  I find that when my mind is over-worked, I have far less mental energy to put words to paper (or in this case, a computer screen).  I have been feeling the urge to purge lately, and have spent the last week or so cleaning out and re-organizing many of my spaces.  As I have gone through these spaces, I am dumb-struck at how much STUFF I have.  I find myself wondering over and over again:  Where did all of this come from?  Clothes, toys, festive dishes/cake pans (that are fun, but very rarely get used), blankets, baskets, crafty stuff, excess home decor, and so on.  I have decided that anything I (or my children) do not use on a daily basis, that is not memorabilia-esque, is leaving my house.  Yesterday, I took half a car load of unwanted goods to Goodwill and I felt so light driving back home.  I have also sold a handful of nicer items on craigslist this past week.  It feels so good, but I still have quite a ways to go. 

The product of my closet purge.  You can't really tell from this picture, but the pile was about 2 feet tall by 4 feet across.

A friend-of-a-friend, who writes a beautiful blog, said this in a recent blog post:  "{we} have made the big decision to down-size. i've been wanting to do this for a long time: to shed as much as we can, no matter how attached i am and live with less so that someday we can give our future kids more."  Her quote struck a chord with me as I thought about how much time I spend keeping up my large(ish) house, picking up stuff, cleaning stuff, putting stuff away, and doing umpteenth loads of laundry for all of the household clothing.  It made me truly recognize a thought that I knew innately, but hadn't fully realized: my stuff is not liberating, but rather constraining.  My stuff steals time from me that I know I could put to much better use!  I also thought about this in regards to my kids and their stuff.  I have noticed that the more stuff my children have, the less they take care of it.  If presented with 2 or 3 different types of thing to play with, my children are pretty good about playing with something and putting it back where it belongs.  Not only that, but if one of those 2 or 3 things goes missing, it is noticed.  Conversely, give them an entire playroom of stuff to play with, and at the end of the day, it's trashed.  Toys everywhere!  Pieces to puzzles and games littered throughout the room with legos and doll clothes intermixed in the type of mess that takes hours and many hands to clean-up. I have begun the process of picking up toys left on the floor and putting them in a special closet.  If no one notices that the item is missing in a week, it goes to goodwill.  I figure this process will naturally weed out the non-favorites.  By allowing my children to accumulate too much stuff, I feel like I'm not teaching them to appreciate what they already have and be satisfied, and that collecting stuff is something meaningful and important.  

So, I am jumping on the simplifying wagon to shed as much as I can no matter how attached I am so that I can give my kids and myself so much more.  Want to jump on the wagon with me?

3 comments:

Elizabeth said...

Hey Lisa, I'm glad you are back to blogging again. It's fun to see what you guys are up to. I loved this post. I'll jump on the simplifying wagon with you! I get a thrill out of taking stuff to goodwill. :-)

Ann Marie said...

Yay for downsizing/de-cluttering! I agree, stuff is so constraining. I've been so happy now that we're out of our 4-bedroom house, and now we've just got 1 bedroom, a kitchen, and a bathroom. LOVE it. Here's a link to a TED Talk about choice/choosing where she addresses that less can be more http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/en/sheena_iyengar_on_the_art_of_choosing.html

will and tiff said...

on the wagon as well! and loving it...i have got to remember you are blogging again so i don't keep missing out on all your goodness. ;>