A few pics of the process. Once upon a time I thought rubbermaid containers=organized. As I emptied them I realized what a crock that was! Soon, the after pictures!!
This essay is a contest entry for a give-a-way at KERFLOP's blog.
The greatest sources of my joy, other than God, of course, are also my greatest sources of frustration. My husband and children bring me untold joy and unspeakable frustration. A typical day in my life will run the gammut of "I can't possibly haul my butt out of bed today and do it all over again." all the way to, "Oh my goodness, I have never laughed so hard in my life, my sides ache." This motherhood journey is no small task. It is totally impossible to describe. I smile when I see a lady pregnant with her first child. She is excited, but she has no clue. The laundry, the paper chases, forms, meals to prepare, dishes, art-both supplies and finished "projects", outgrown clothes, seasonal clothes and on-my-goodness, all those stinkin' shoes!!
I came into mommydom completely clueless. I am the baby of four girls. We lived with only my mom for my "formitive" years and we all pitched in all the time to keep up with housework. When I got married, I was so determined to be the best wife ever, do everything myself and make the perfect home for my perfect man. Ahem, what was I thinking!! Crazy alert. Fast forward to three kids, two cats and a dog. I would still love to be the best wife ever, but I fall quite short of that title hourly. Managing a household is huge. I burned my supermom cape years ago.
I do not love the drudgery that is housework and all the things that must be kept up with. As a homeschooling mom, it is hard to keep clean that which is ALWAYS being lived in. I have spent the last two years slowly and painfully(it hurts, it really does) decluttering our home. We have rooms that we can clean now. It is a freedom I had never imagined. It also awakened in me something I did not know existed. The organizing side of my personality. I never knew I had a side like that. I went from being a neat-nick (in the closet and drawer stuffing way) to being a total slob, and I now am slowly evolving into- a "place for everything" momma. S.L.O.W.L.Y.
I no longer bargain shop for useless crap. I can give things that are nice and new to charities if we have no use for them. I can give sacks of perfectly good clothes to friends. I have told people "no" to used furniture offers. I think long and hard over new purchases and try to really think about where it is going and what it needs to do/store. I have thrown away trash bag after trash bag of papers that we simply don't need and will never need. Now, as we seem to be down to a functional level of stuff, it is time to start a new chapter. The one where we make places for our stuff.
Right now in our dining room, we have a hand-me-down china cabinet that serves as "homeschool central". It is going this fall. We have planned and discussed that what we really need are nice floor- to- ceiling shelves, two units with a small simple desk/table between the two. In a perfect world, some of those shelves will have doors. We have not begun to shop for this until I am at a different stage, done with decluttering (I know no one is ever "done" with decluttering, but closer). We are planning one last yard sale as we retire from accumulating. I look forward to working this fall on getting our important papers in order, they are now, but it isn't a functional order. I like simple functional. I like pretty too, but that doesn't always happen.
As we slowly progress in taming the clutter of five people, I realize I am breaking a cycle. My mom can't find anything. She often even loses bills. You would never know it in her neat-as-a-pin house, but she doesn't have a good system. I'll take a little mess with alot of oganization over that any day. I hope to pass the organizing bug onto my children as well. No one can truly enjoy the life God has given us when constantly searching our homes for some lost thingamajig. Getting organized makes me feel good. It makes me look forward to the day instead of dreading it. Yes, it brings me joy.