And then I thought of my closet. And my kids' closets. And the garage. I swooned.
When I came to, I gave myself a little pep-talk. I can do this! This is a great time to make a plan! A plan to simplify and clear out the clutter! The start of a new year is good for things like that! Yippee!
As I was thinking these uplifting thoughts (with my eyebrows raised, of course), I came across the book Organized Simplicity via Small Notebook. It looks like a great resource. Another friend recommended it, saying that it has some very helpful ideas. She shared with me the plan for simplicity that she is adopting this year for her family, and I love it. The goal?
Get rid of excess.
This doesn't only apply to the tangible clutter like the silly bands, hangers and band-aid wrappers that mysteriously accumulate throughout the home. We're talking about excess in everything. Time wasted in front of a screen. Too many outside commitments. Unhealthy eating habits. The things that distract. The things that consume. Everything.
Blaise Pascal wrote, “Distraction is the only thing that consoles us for our miseries, and yet it is itself the greatest of our miseries.”* I find myself too often surrounded by this type of "misery," and it's discouraging. There are far too many distractions, and I believe they often prevent me from growing into the woman that God wants me to be.
So I'm making a plan. It's still a work in progress. In fact, it will take all year. That sounds rather daunting, doesn't it? But the plan is to first tackle the physical clutter that so insidiously accumulates. Here's what I'm gonna do:
1. Divide the house into 12 areas.
2. Tackle one area each month.
3. Divide each area into smaller sections.
4. Work on one section each day (except Sunday) for 10-15 min.
When that breaks down to just 10 or 15 minutes a day, it seems much more manageable, doesn't it? (Continuing to give myself pep-talks with eyebrows raised . . . .)
As I go through the items we've accumulated over the decades, I'll keep in mind the helpful words of William Morris:
Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.
Since we're already a week into January, I'm starting with my kitchen. I had already organized and rearranged some appliances after Christmas, so I'll use the rest of the month to continue tackling my kitchen: one drawer, one cupboard, one appliance at a time.
I'm also thinking ahead toward the busy vs. not-so-busy months. For example, I know that the kids' rooms will take quite a bit of effort. I'll probably save these for summer, yet start now in helping the kids eliminate things here and there so it won't be such a monstrous task. (I just shuddered when I typed that.)
If I keep a Goodwill box nearby to be filled and delivered regularly, by the end of the year I will have touched everything in my home. (I hope!) And we'll be living with a lot less clutter and a lot more us.
I want to remove the unnecessary distractions. I want to breathe deeply and feel content in my surroundings. If anything distracts me, I want it to be the laughter of my children, a wink from my husband or the beauty of a winter sunset. Because I'm pretty sure that I don't really need a dozen blenders.
As always, you're warmly invited to join me in my efforts. Operation Simplicity, here we come! Maybe you've already got this thing figured out. Any organizational tips you can send my way?
*As quoted by Pico Iyer in "The Joy of Quiet."