Sunday, September 13, 2009

Living with Less and Loving It

In an earlier post, I wrote about the chaotic state of our home when we returned from Maine, due to a hardwood flooring project. Now that our floors are now finished (and gorgeous!), Dh and I spent yesterday touch-up painting the trim and walls (may as well, right?) and moving furniture back where it goes. It's time to return everything to its rightful place.

But good grief! Whose stuff is this, anyway? And where did it all come from? Do we really need all this?

I am a minimalist at heart (except for books, of course). When Dh and I were dating, I shared an apartment with another career girl. Due to my life circumstances, I lived a minimalistic lifestyle. Except for the dining room table and chairs and the pots and pans, the only things I owned were in my bedroom. Every spring and fall, I went through my clothes and culled ruthlessly. I was organized. Since there was less to manage, I managed well.

Then I married, had children, and began to accumulate a bunch of stuff. I admit, a lot of it is pretty stuff, but it's still just more and more. We're in our third house and it's on the small side, so I don't have tons of storage. Things pile up and around, I can't stay organized (it's not my gift, anyhow), and I start getting this weird tick in my right eye. . . . You get the picture. So, I periodically give in to an overwhelming urge to storm through the house, giant Hefty bags in tow, amassing piles of things to donate.

Feeling rakishly powerful, I turned my eye to all our homeschool books and resources piled around the study, waiting to be reshelved. To say we have a ton of materials is putting it mildly. I've bought quite a bit and inherited even more when my mother, a life-long teacher, retired. In fact, I don't even know everything I've got. While I may not set aside many books, there may be other materials my girls have outgrown or don't suit our homeschooling methods or that I tried and rejected. I need to go through everything with a critical eye.

In fact, this is the perfect opportunity to edit my life. Do I really need as many cloth napkin sets as I own? Is this number of candles for the dining room really necessary? Look at all the clothes I own. What percentage do I actually wear? (Hint: it's a small number.) Does all this stuff make me happy, or is it merely distracting, keeping me from other things I should and would rather be doing? Is it possible that my life would be a bit more manageable and my home a bit more tidy if I thoughtfully and carefully culled through my (and our, frankly) belongings and passed a good deal of it on?

My guess is that the answer is YES. What do you think?

1 comment:

  1. On the rare occasions when I have had a really good declutter, usually during an impulse house move, and most especially when we moved next door to ourselves and discovered we couldn't get our stuff out of the loft .... it has felt GOOD!
    I think, really, go wild, spend days culling, you'll be renewed and rejuvenated! And you'll get to see more of your lovely floors!


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