Ugh!! I never have any time to relax when I’m at home!! That’s what I would find myself saying on a daily basis.
My home has always had a neat and orderly plan. The clothes in my closet organized by season, style and color. Baskets and bins for every toy in the children’s playroom. Every piece of food in my kitchen cabinets and in the refrigerator categorized by type and then tallest to shortest so that I can easily find what I’m look for. Holiday decorations and old paperwork boxed up in the basement. Etc, etc….
I know…it’s over the top. But living in an organized space has always helped me to feel more at ease.
The problem was, I never felt at ease.
With three kids, two dogs and my husband at home, as soon as I had everything put in it’s place I found myself constantly needing to reorganize. Putting things away in their “special spots” all the time. Not sitting down and spending quality time with my husband or kids because there was always something to put away in an effort to reachieve that organized “perfection”.
I Started to See Things in a Different Way
About a year ago I came across a life-changing blog post by Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus on their Minimalists blog. It was called “Organizing is Often Well-Planned Hoarding”.
Wow….reading that post was like holding up a mirror to myself. It was also frightening. I would NEVER have considered myself to be a hoarder.
When I think of hoarding, images of junk piled to the ceiling and dusty, impassable hallways in a home are what comes to mind. That wasn’t me!
But the more I thought about it…maybe I did have a whole lot of stuff elegantly organized that I just didn’t need. Things I held on to “just in case” I might need it. Or gifts that had been given to me that, although thoughtful, didn’t necessarily fit my needs or style. School papers and momentos from my youth that had long lost their sentimental meaning. Duplicates of utensils and containers in the kitchen. Books that I had purchased with the best intentions but had never gotten around to reading. Toys and clothes that my kids had outgrown. Etc., etc…
The Stuff Had to Go
I realized that having so many items in my house that didn’t necessarily bring me joy or were useful on a daily basis was sucking the energy out of me. Without even realizing it, all of those extra things required me to spend time cleaning, organizing and putting them away…and keeping them that way.
So I started to get rid of stuff. It’s taken me almost one year but I’ve done it. I’ve gone room by room, drawer by drawer, shelf by shelf, asking myself one item at a time if I needed that item or if it brought me joy. If the answer was no, it got donated to my local Goodwill Store.
Let time tell you…the first few trips to Goodwill were tough. I was nervous. Afraid to let go of the stuff even though I clearly didn’t need it. But the lightness I felt once I dropped off those big boxes one by one over the last year has been liberating beyond words. And every additional box that I packed up got easier to do.
Things Finally Felt Different…In a Good Way
I’ve exchanged those boxes for a sense of calm and peace that I never could have imagined possible.
Now when I walk through the house I have a sense of ease I didn’t have before. I have time to read, pray, do a puzzle with kids or spend time at night talking with my husband about the day. I can do all of those things without a sense of nervousness about me like I used to have. That undercurrent of anxiety about my surroundings that used to control me is gone.
Life still goes on. Having fewer things doesn’t mean life is easier overall. But when the craziness of life in general is happening like it always does, having a living space that doesn’t add to the stress makes it a bit easier.
What is your biggest struggle with staying organized and feeling relaxed at home?