The first library book I remember loosing as an adult is “Make your house do the housework”. The irony was not lost on me. I bought the book. My house was not doing the housework, it was a black hole attracting all available non-nailed-down items.
Yesterday I helped a friend move. I’m very familiar with how much
junk stuff I have. I’m probably more familiar than most people having packed and moved everything three times in the last three years . I’ve touched everything we have (at least through the box). I’m reminded of Little House on the Prairie, in which packing was a one day job. ONE DAY! I have discovered two main problems that explain the amount of stuff we have: I overestimate what we need to live, and I underestimate how much time it will take to finish That Great Project. That and I have nine children and a husband, all of whom contribute.
First I overestimate what we need to live on. I have heard many Born Organized people talk about how children need six everyday outfits and two church outfits. That’s a great plan. It reduces laundry considerably. It keeps a room cleaner. It is easier to dress a child. There are only two obstacles here…the child and me. I have seven daughters who like clothes. I also have me who likes my children to look cute. Frequently my idea of cute and my child’s idea of cute differ. In some cases there are clothes in this house that I would like them to wear, they don’t wear them, they put them on the floor, later clean up their room and it goes through the laundry. I wonder how much less laundry I’d have if we got rid of the clothes they don’t ever even wear.
This also applies to kitchen gadgets, toys, toys, toys, baby stuff I don’t even use…all that stuff in the garage and…..dare I say it….books. I know my husband thinks you can never have too many books. I don’t even know how some of these got here anyway, but I have books I DON’T LIKE READING. They are frequently used for tent making. You know when your dear sweet child asks you to read a book to them and then AGGHHHH it’s some disney monstrosity that will take hours of your life to read, whilst sucking energy and braincells from you? A few of those could go.
I do underestimate the amount of time a project will take. I have a beautiful big closet full of boxes of craft potential. A quilt or three half made. All sorts of neat and beautiful things that are making my already beautiful closet an annoyance-everyday. Then there is the scrapbooking stuff. It used to be that we couldn’t even have a memory without dressing to match that cute paper I found. I would love to say I’ve never done that.
Now to be fair, some of that has been dormant because of all the moves and job stress. I do want to scrapbook baby books ( albeit in a way that doesn’t involve hardware, three kinds of font and a second mortgage). I do need to consider what I really do want to finish and let go of the rest. I cannot let the projects I have not finished define me.
Now here I could mention my husband’s box of scout books that are SO old as no longer be at all useful….or his map collection. But I won’t. I have my own problems.
Now I know Fly Lady has a 27 fling boogie. And that’s fabulous. Get rid of junk any possible way you can. It’s just that every once in a while I need to have a 27,000 fling stomp. This needs to be done. It will greatly benefit my life.
I just need to find the sweet spot between having enough stuff to live creatively and beautifully, while having little enough stuff to live peacefully.
A few years ago my parents, those wonderful people, were going on a mission to Nigeria. My mom decided they needed to get rid of 1/3 of their stuff before they went! WOW! What an ambitious project. Having raised 8 children herself, they had a few things left over. They did it, though she had to struggle with my dad along the way. They went and took their few suitcases. My dad realized that they REALLY didn’t need all that stuff. He was living just fine in Nigeria with much less.
Now I’m not ready to cut down to a bare minimum, but i am ready to consider that all this stuff isn’t really mine anyway. maybe God has another plan for all this stuff. Maybe someone else badly needs what is sitting in a box IN MY WAY! What is really the sacrifice there?