I LOVE a good fling! But I was not always that way. I loved thrift stores (and still do), and I loved my many finds to re-purpose and craft…someday. I loved holding on to my many treasures and prized works of effort: mementos from travels, school notes and papers, items that possible may be useful for another child, or a friend. And what about the gifts from others? I struggled with the idea of passing along something that someone else got for you? Oh, and my books…so many wonderful books. How do I part with these?
But with 9 people in the home (now 10), even what felt like a minimalist approach to possessions seemed to pile up so quickly. And with little ones, even the most well-organized boxes of toys, books and clothing can become an explosion in minutes.
I don’t know about you, but I came to a place where I found the constant pressure of the need for “Materials Management” such a discouraging waste of time. I would walk into my kids’ rooms, and choke back the tears: struggling with not giving into either anger or despair. I knew I needed to really fling, and it needed to be a once-and-for-all lifestyle change.
So about two years ago, we did a BIG clean out. Enough so that we actually emptied out one room of our house completely. Which really gave us a strong visual of what we actually “needed.” Did we actually get rid of an entire room of “stuff” ?
We even kept that room empty for a time. And I decided at that point, to seriously consider every.single.item that comes into the house. Because I know that every single item that comes in needs occupy some sort of organized space, be cleaned or maintained, and when its time is done: disposed of, given away or recycled. So unless we LOVE it, or find it useful for everyday life- it doesn’t come in. And if it does come in, something usually needs to go out.
I have a little shelf in my kitchen with the wooden letters spelling B L E S S on them. One day, during my process of flinging, the B had tipped over. When I looked up and noticed this, I got the message. “L E S S” is part of B L E S S. Letting go means making room for more: more people, more provision, more of what it truly important.
Our house is far from spotless, and if you come by during a weekday, there will be dishes on the counter, meal-prep underway, books or toys out and laundry that needs to be put away. But with a lunchtime and suppertime cleanup, we’re at a place now where I know we can get most things tidied in 15-30 minutes, and get a really good “put-away and clean up” so things look guest-ready in about an hour. (Most of the time!)
There are no longer the huge stress-inducing piles everywhere, and I’m not afraid to pull out the paints or play dough with the kids, or let them make a hot wheels track in the living room. I can cut up a pile of cauliflower to freeze, or make pickles or jam if I find a good deal, or take on any other “project”. These are all things that I wanted my life to be about, but felt too overwhelming to include in my days! I now know we can get our house back in order pretty quickly…which brings me peace!
Having LESS STUFF has been absolutely key for me in feeling a new level of freedom in enjoying my time at home, letting my kids be kids, and in my ability to have friends or family come by, with or without notice!
It means that I have the time and energy to design my days according to our family values. We choose to do what’s important to us, with the people that we care most about.
I know the feeling of picking up a toy or piece of clothing to a kitchen utensil and asking, “But what if I miss this?” And can I answer it with another question: “What if there’s a freedom I’m missing out on…by holding on?”
Be blessed as you RELEASE! Stick with us, and you can look forward to a month of working towards feeling a whole lot lighter, more organized & in order. Then YOU can decide what you want to do with your days instead of having your “stuff” dictate how you spend your time.