The one nice thing about living in about 1,000 square feet of house is that it forces us to be picky about what we keep and is easy to clean. So even cleaning the bedroom of two teenage boys took under an hour. It sure made me feel better once it was done.
That's the thing I know about me: I feel deep contentment when my house is clean and clutter free.
Not everyone is like me, I get it. Nor does my house look like a magazine. It certainly looks lived in and could use a paint job in several rooms. Our kitchen is small and thus always has food-in-progress and drying dishes (no dishwasher here) on the counter.
Mike is in the process of moving his music students to a new location (out of our living room!) which has gotten me thinking about our living space again. We've lived with an upright bass in the dining room, amplifiers in the living room and students and parents coming and going throughout the evenings most nights. It has been a blessing to have Mike's business be so fruitful but an adjustment to our living schedule.
In November I'll be able to sit on my couch whenever I want to.
This fact as well as my ongoing pursuit to minimize the "things" I own in addition to my aforementioned day off work led me to do a little purging.
I recently read a book about minimalist living. I can't now remember the name of the book but it was very interesting. The author talked about their shift from living in a home to a one bedroom apartment with their two young children and the amount of "stuff" they purged. I went online and saw photos of their home. I don't like to judge another person's choices but in my mind I kept thinking I could not live like her family. It was not the lack of possessions they owned that bothered me. It was the fact that there was not one photograph of the children or family in the home. The apartment looked like the timeshare we used one summer. Furnished but void of personality.
I do not wish to live that way.
And that's ok. We all have to find our way in this world. Some people love to collect things. Some enjoy looking through old photos in albums. Others get out their children's papers periodically.
So today I decided to clean out the closet. We don't really have an attic that is usable in this house so our storage tends to be in the basement and the shelves in our bedroom closet. I have gone through the boxes on these shelves many times. Each time I get rid of a little more. Since I've been doing a lot of self reflection about what is important in our lives on my own and with Mike I've been wanting to go through the closet.
Today was the day.
I had three objectives: Purge my fabric to one box, decide if any of the boys homeschool portfolios needed to be saved and go through the artwork box.
The fabric box was easy. I made a trip to Lancaster Creative Reuse with a little less than half my stash. I then tackled some homeschool books I've been saving. I realized that while the books I saved were really good ones, they are not ones my boys will need in the future and they are too advanced for the preschoolers I work with. I decided to see if the elementary teachers at my school can use them. If not, I'll donate them to the library.
I then tackled the art box.
Fortunately the boys were coming home at the time I was going through the box. Mike was also around so we all had a grand old time looking at all of the artwork and crafts the boys made since preschool! I even found a pasta necklace. We saved the most important works and were able to get rid of the rest after having a good laugh at much of it!
After tackling the art (which was really the hardest) I went through the box of homeschool portfolios. There was little that was hard to get rid of. I again saved a few things that showed the boys personalities or growth and pitched the rest. I think the thing I had difficulty with was the realization that I was "throwing out" my hard work. Of course this isn't true. All of the hours I spent with the boys during our homeschool years have contributed to something much better than papers and music and artwork. I have my fantastic men to remind me of those days. I don't need the binders full of math and english work.
So my shelves are a little emptier and my heart is full of memories. I wonder what I'll tackle tomorrow?