I have stated several times that one of my goals for this year is to simplify. At times, I am still not quite sure what that will mean for me and my family, though I have spent a lot of time thinking about it. I am the type that often thinks quite a bit about an idea or project, then I never seem to get around to actually doing it. I am determined, though, to actually put some of these ideas about simplifying our life into practice.
As I mentioned, I can devote countless hours to the planning stages of a project--making lists, researching, and gathering supplies--and then never put any of it into action. After many, many years of procrastinating and feeling overwhelmed by projects, papers, housework and other things I let get out of control, I have come to the realization that I work best in baby steps.
I am trying really hard to make some sort of progress on things I want to accomplish, even if it seems minor. All the minor things will add up in the long run, right? I am not expressing this idea well, so here's an example...
Instead of getting overwhelmed by the stacks and stacks of laundry and the entire house that needs to be cleaned, I make myself fold and put away one basket of clothes. When I do that, I can stop and know that I did at least one thing that needed to be done for the night. Usually what happens is that I don't want to go to the trouble of putting away just one load of clothes knowing there are more to be done, so I go ahead and empty the other baskets as well. Then, I am free of laundry stress for a couple of days so I can devote my attention to something else. If I stop with one basket of clothes, well, that's one less basket to do later.
I have been majorly inspired on this baby-step idea, especially on the housekeeping front, by the blog A Slob Comes Clean. (Laura Beth, I think I may have first seen this link on your blog...if so, I am forever indebted!!) If you struggle with being easily overwhelmed like I do, check out this blog. It might change your life.
So, how does this new-found philosophy relate to my struggle to simplify our life? Well, overhauling one's life to get rid of the excess, both physically and mentally, is no small task. There are so many ideas floating around in my head, it's hard to know where to start.
At the top of my list is our stuff. Physically, we just have too much stuff...too many clothes, too many books (maybe...though I still have room for them, so they may all stay!), excess everywhere. How do I even begin paring down a house full of stuff? Baby steps are the only feasible way for me to accomplish anything in this department. Saturday night, I decided to go into the girls' playroom (that's the fancy word for "extra bedroom containing all the toys I don't want in the living room, you know...) and pack up at least one box of toys to be donated. Two boxes and one trash bag later, the playroom began to resemble a functional space again.
The spur-of-the-moment project turned out to actually feel kind of fun, and Jeremy joined me to clean out his closet (which is in the playroom as well). It took very little time, and Addison and Mackenzie spent a good bit of time in there Sunday afternoon, rediscovering toys they'd long forgotten. My dad has been working on a shelving unit to go in there, then playroom will be ready for all the new playthings the upcoming birthday will undoubtedly bring.
It's not a lot, but it felt good to get something accomplished...one room decluttered and ready to go. This weekend I plan to tackle my closet...which could take awhile. But I'm ready; if it hasn't been worn in the last six months, if it's uncomfortable or just something that I don't feel great wearing, it goes!
Any decluttering tips you'd like to share? Are you tackling a spring project in your house? How do you simplify when things get overwhelming?
Here's my favorite way to relax...in a semi-clean house, with my two best girls:
(It's blurry, but pictures with all three of us in one spot are so rare, I'll take what I can get!)