Right now I’m lounging on my couch holding a sleeping babe and listening to my other two having fun playing in their room aka making a big mess. I’m cringing with every loud noise I hear from them dumping out another box of hot wheels or little people. I’ve already put up 100 large LEGO blocks and hid the box of alphabet blocks. Those tend to just be thrown about. With every crash I think of how bad I want to go in and do another purge of toys.
I found a journal from two years ago right before Eleanor was born. Almost every time I wrote, I wrote about how much I needed to clean and it was always the same things. I never made any progress no matter how much I straightened and cleaned. The messes were still there and so was my frustration.
I am so glad to not be in that place anymore! It’s easier to keep the house straight and I’m usually more ready for people to visit. Surprisingly, I’ve realized that I love bright colors in my decor more than I thought. There was too much going on in my house, there was no room left for bright and pretty. So I found myself drawn to more neutral decor because my mind craved the calmness it provided.
I also have more room to pursue more creative projects. It was as if I couldn’t concentrate or even commit to doing something because I didn’t have the mental capacity from all the clutter in my physical space. Even if I wanted to make something for myself, I often never even got started on it.
In addition to getting rid of clutter, we got rid of a lot of what houses clutter! For instance, I had a ladder bookshelf on the wall next to my piano that had a lot of books and several knick knacks and pictures. This was actually the first thing that I decluttered back in August. I had been feeling for a while like there was too much in the house like on the walls and there was too much furniture that went all the way up to the ceiling. So when I got back from my trip to Dallas and I walked in the house and the first thing I saw was that bookshelf holding just a lot of things that I didn’t even care about, I took everything off and got rid of it. I kept about half the stuff that was on there and donated or threw away the rest.
We’ve gotten rid of several pieces of furniture since then and have had to find places for anything we wanted to keep. It’s crazy to think about how much we had in the house just to hold everything. Although we have gotten rid of so so much, it feels like we still have the same amount. But only because in addition to decluttering the small stuff, we also decluttered the big stuff that held the small stuff.
It feels like our house is still bursting at the seams with stuff. I’m not sure if we’ll ever get finished or if decluttering is going to be a lifelong process. I hope not because I am so weary of throwing so much in the trash. I am weary of feeling so wasteful and hopeful that our consumption will continue to slow to almost an end.
Having a system for sorting through clothes that the kids have outgrown and having a plan for what to do with them was not something I thought about until Finley was at least a year old. Even then my only solution was to toss anything that he wasn’t wearing anymore into a diaper box and to store it in his closet. Since then I have sorted through those boxes once. And I put size labels on the boxes so I could keep them somewhat organized.
With Eleanor’s clothes, they were mostly sorted by size, by the time I figured out I needed to store the clothes, I realized to go ahead and sort them from the beginning and I would never have to go through them again. Game. Changer. I donated 5 boxes of Eleanor’s clothes this past month and it felt so good to pass them on! And get them out of the closet and house. There are two boxes of her clothes left that didn’t get donated with the rest. I made the mistake and got caught up in looking through the clothes and got sentimental about them. I didn’t have time to go through them like I needed to that day so I closed those boxes up and put them back in the closet. I will definitely look through them later and hopefully I won’t be feeling as sentimental then as I did that day.
I haven’t given anything of Finley’s away, mainly because we have Jake now! I have to sort through the boy clothes I have. And reorganize because apparently I did not do a good job sorting the clothes the first time. Some of the boxes are going to a friend who has a little boy several months younger than Fin. I love the idea of giving to others but I always talk myself out of it by either convincing myself that they don’t need it or that they wouldn’t like anything I have to offer. I was not prepared for the insecurities that accompany motherhood and it has been hard dealing with all these feelings.
Jake has grown out of his newborn clothes and it’s time for me to pack them up. And I am so much more prepared this time around. Third time’s a charm! I have another friend who is going to have a boy this summer that I’m planning on giving these clothes to.
When talking about giving away all the boy clothes, people often question why I’m not saving them all for Jacob. It may seem wasteful to give them away when I know I’m going to have to buy more. But the main reason is we really don’t have a lot of room to continue to store everything we think we might need in the future. Also, many of those clothes are hand me downs from a friend that we desperately needed during a hard year for Kevin and me. So I would like to pass those on the same way but also half of the clothes aren’t really a style I would pick out myself. So it’s very possible they would just sit in a box while I get clothes that are more my style to put on Jake.
Keeping in mind that my goal is to keep as little clothes as I need should help keep me motivated to stay on top of the clothes situation. And as time passes I’m sure I’ll get better at my methods for sorting and organizing baby clothes whether I donate, give to a friend, or even put them in a weekend consignment sale.
Our first month with three babies has passed! I’ve had a good month with my babies and I’ve enjoyed snuggling with my precious newborn baby Jake! Since I basically took the month off from doing anything, I feel like I kind of got more done and I’m ready for this next month! I still want to ease into the month but I can’t stay cooped up and alone in my house with the kids for much longer. Life just won’t let me. Also a husband who likes to go and do stuff won’t let me either. But I’m happy as long as I’m with him!
We actually got a good bit done around the house this last month, bathroom renovation started(!!!!), I can’t wait to keep up our momentum.
- Focus on play-based learning. I’ve started following some Instagram accounts that have all kinds of activities for playing with the kids. I haven’t done any of them yet, but the more I get the kids to play with their blocks and color and play with puzzles and magnatiles, the more ready I get to transition to doing the more hands on activities. Confession: I really just want to sit in the couch and cuddle Jacob while I play on my phone.
- Spend more time reading my bible with the devotionals I got for Christmas. I got a couple of devotions and memoir type books and I started out reading them pretty good but then I slacked off and eventually stopped. I think it is hard for me because I didn’t have a consistent study time before kids and now mornings are difficult because they are so full. It’s ingrained in me to do “word before world” but in my head since I can’t sit down with my bible and study books and spend 30 minutes before taking care of kids I feel like it is useless to do it. I’m planning to do it differently in February. #juststart
- Declutter bookshelf and paperwork. So the bookshelf won’t take much time to do. Basically my plan is to take everything off the shelves and restyle them. I’ve been eyeing the dang thing for a few weeks now and I just haven’t put forth the effort to do it. The paperwork is a different story. At the beginning of this year there was five different spots that had random paper clutter everywhere. Before Finley’s birthday party, I cleared out two spots. A large dresser drawer in our bedroom (what? why even??) and then also the pile of paperwork that is almost always on the counter and the slots above our key rack. Clearing up these spots made a huuuge difference, the countertop looks a hundred times better and I also had another drawer to store my leggings and yoga pants in. So now it’s time to get to another part of the clutter: the china hutch and small filing cabinet.
I have a couple of other things in mind, but I am not sure I will get to them so I’ll just let those be a surprise if I get to them!
Ok. I have started to write a post detailing our decluttering journey at least 4 or 5 times but I just cannot find any of them. I hand write all my blog posts first, mostly on loose leaf sheets of paper. Writing things down help me keep my thoughts together and somewhat organized. And currently I have like 4 other posts about decluttering that I’m hesitating to post until I can get an intro post of how we got started published. It sounds crazy, I know.
Decluttering and minimalism have become important actions to Kevin and me in the last half of 2018 and so far we have successfully carried these ideals into 2019. We really kicked off this journey (is there anything less cliche that I can call it?) last August. I had just gotten home from Dallas and was totally inspired by my aunt’s beautiful house. The day before Kevin came home from work, I had the morning all to myself because the kids were with my mom and I was looking around my house and at alllll the stuff we had and how I wanted to just toss it all.
So I thought, why don’t I do that? Why don’t I just get rid of that whole bookcase right there that I don’t even want? I spent most of the morning clearing that piece of furniture off and I even took the bookcase out of the house as soon as I had everything taken off. After that morning I haven’t slowed down getting stuff out of my house and I haven’t looked back since.
When Kevin came home, he didn’t even notice that the bookcase was gone at first. But he did notice that there was something different and lighter about our living room. I eventually pointed it out to him because I couldn’t stand it anymore.
Another catalyst we experienced was watching the documentary, Minimalism, by the Minimalists. I have kind of been on this minimalism journey and reading about it for almost 3 years now but it wasn’t until August that I made a drastic change. When we watched the minimalism documentary I was so thrilled that Kevin was finally interested in it, too! It helps when he is wanting to do the same thing as I am because he is such a get stuff done guy and then that makes me get stuff done, too.
So we started hardcore going through our stuff and we have come a long way and still have a long way to go. As of right now I know of 3 different drawers that have paperwork and mail that is just waiting for me to sort through them. I feel like I was kind of waiting for Jake to get here before I got started on all that sorting, and now that I am sitting here, I can just hear it calling my name.
So there we go! The beginning of our minimalism journey is now written and published. Now I can publish the other posts I have written. Some of them are from before Christmas but they have important thoughts that I want to be recorded so I’m going to be publishing them anyway. I don’t know why but I felt like I couldn’t talk about decluttering until I had done this intro of sorts. And decluttering and minimizing is such a big part of our life now. We are constantly throwing things away or putting in a donate box, and I need to be able to write about the process because I have lots of thoughts and feelings about it all.
Right now I am still sitting in my bed at 9:00 am all thanks to my mom who kept my two big babies last night. Since I have now been over 12 hours home alone, I can kind of think straight again and I am all sorts of inspired to get stuff done. Of course as soon as I get up I’m sure my littlest will decide he’s hungry and I’ll have to take care of him! But that’s ok, motherhood is the best job ever and I love that I get to do it.
I’ve been sitting here in bed, cuddling my little Jakey and drinking coffee, and reading a new-to-me blog I discovered. It is a minimalism blog Be More With Less and now I’m all sorts of inspired to do some more minimizing. I should note that this happens often when my mom keeps the kids because then I can take a look around with clear, well rested eyes and see what in my house is too much for me.
I’m going to start with the room that Finley and Eleanor share because they have already thrown all their toys out of the toy bins and this makes it easy to sort through what they play with and what they don’t. Something I love about the kids is that they really love to play with the simplest of toys. We have donated so so many toys and I think we could donate half of what is left still. I’m trying to view their toys with practicality of what they actually play with instead of my idealism of what I wished they played with. Decluttering and minimizing is good to do, but if I try to stick to unrealistic expectations then it doesn’t really do much good.
As a dreamer and idealist this can be hard for me because I can see the potential in a piece of furniture on the side of the road or I will buy craft supplies for a project that I wish I did but in reality I’m not ever going to be a scrapbooker no matter how much I like the way they look or wish I did it. If I’m not going to use the supplies or redo the dresser, I shouldn’t bring it into my house. I’ve been working on changing that mindset in 2018 and the last six months I’ve been putting it into practice. 2019 started out with us taking a load of stuff to the local thrift store and in a week or two I plan to have another load ready to go.
I’m feeling all sorts of inspired to clean up this morning but right now for the time being I’m gonna sit here and cuddle my sleeping babe and drink my second cup of coffee.