The Joy of A Simple Saturday

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One week has passed since I completed my 5 Day Purge.  Many things are still awaiting our attention, and will be. Nothing is final. But there is definite movement to keep things going in a positive direction.  I made a list of some smaller, or ongoing projects that I can jump in and complete when time allows and I know the declutter must go on. But I am not writing to tell about those areas of my life. Instead, I wanted to share the relaxed pace of our Saturday. A lot is being accomplished, but it is not at the crazy hurried pace that it usually is. I think having fewer items around us, and keeping some clear and usable spaces in our small home this week, has made a notable difference.

For instance, leading up to today, I stayed on top of my planning, created meals that would work for our family, exercised more, got more rest, drank more water, and ate less (and much more healthy) than I had been. I moved about and completed tasks at a more deliberate pace and enjoyed my family, loved ones and friends each day. A welcome change of pace in my uber busy life.

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I slept slightly later than I normally do this morning, and as I woke, stretched and listened to the birds singing joyfully. With a smile on my face my feet hit the floor and I peeked out the window to see if our visiting doe was grazing under the apple tree. Then I tossed on some walking gear, harnessed the dog, and took her out for an early morning walk while it was still cool.

Afterward, while enjoying my morning coffee, I read my dovotion and wrote in my prayer journal. Then joined my hubby in the kitchen and made myself a duck egg, toast from a crusty loaf of bread with a bit of local apple butter, and poured another hot cup to enjoy at the table with him. (The same table we played two of those unearthed games at the night before – and as a family, decided to keep one and ditch the other!)

Once I cleaned up the kitchen a bit, and hubby and I had enjoyed a productive discussion about a wonderful, large window we’re going to add to our dining room (I’m all about letting in as much sunlight as possible and bringing the outdoors in!) I made my way out to my perennial gardens to trim roses and remove the dead plants for fall. (Will probably need to get back in there to winterize before November.)

As I trudged my way down over A8D117F3-EA3B-49B1-A737-351635D68B63the hill to unload my wheelbarrow, I once again noticed black walnuts dropping from the tree. So I decided to grab a couple of small buckets to go back down and gather them. I recently discovered it this summer growing amongst the other trees and was pleasantly surprised to be able to try our hands at drying tree nuts.

If you have never seen a black walnut in it’s most natural form, they almost look like small green oranges and have a pleasant, surprisingly citrusy, smell. I would have saved some photos of them, and the process we followed, but my husband was already into them by the time I came back up over the hillside. (Maybe next year!) So, for now, the walnuts are spread out over a table drying in the sun and breezy wind.

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A fire has been burning out back all afternoon with plans of stoking it to roast a few hot dogs with neighbors tonight, to enjoy a little friendly chatter and catching up.

So will end my day. A day full of margin. Patience, fun, trying new things, getting something done, working hard, planning, and best of all – joy!

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“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!”
‭‭Galatians‬ ‭5:22-23‬ ‭NLT‬‬

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Day 5: Finding Satisfaction In The Process

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Day 5 has come to a close and I made it! I can relax and no longer spend every moment decluttering or thinking about what to do next. And yet, I know that this is just the beginning. Just a scratching of the surface that goes so much deeper to create the life of simplicity I long for – for both me and my family. I believe there is a fire behind this newly gained momentum that will fuel a relentless pursuit in me.

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Some may wonder why I didn’t share more before and after photos, or step by step how-to’s.  I believe that everyone has to find the formula that works best for them. The simple question that I ask myself, whenever the letting go of an item proves hard is this: Does this item help me to move forward in my vision of a more simplified life? Most often than not, that answer is no.

But we each have our own reason for downsizing, letting go, simplifying, or whatever you want to call it. Mine is a process that will play out over time. Maybe when I’m a famous blogger I will share more before and after photos with you. Lol! But for now, I think I’ll sit back and bask in what I know has been accomplished in these last 120 hours. And it has been enough to give me a taste of what it could be like should everything have a place, and everything be in its place.

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“Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it…”
‭‭Philippians‬ ‭1:6‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Day 4: Praying For A Second Wind

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The purge is nearing completion. Or is it? I am teetering a fine line. Much has been done. Much is yet to be done. I am running out of steam. Instead of gaining momentum and things getting easier as I see progress, I am really getting down to the nitty gritty of harder decisions. The more difficult efforts that are the way they are, because I avoid them at all costs, in the first place. It was definitely harder to keep focused over a weekend while my family was home. Even though they graciously did everything possible to allow me to carry on with my mission, and in fact left the house several times which gave me quiet, peaceful moments to contemplate my next move, I still found myself with many more distractions.

But, instead of giving up when I felt myself becoming stuck in an area and standing around wondering where to go next, I stopped. Moved onto something else for a while that was fresh, and returned to the original task later on with a clearer perspective. This usually helped me to keep it moving.

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My little reward for me has been enjoying some spicy fall oils in my aromatherapy diffuser. Today it is a few drops each of vanilla, sweet orange, cinnamon and nutmeg. Ahh! Smells wonderful and gives me comfort and energy to continue!

And, for now, the basement has a good start. My sister stopped for awhile and brought me some yummy dark chocolate pumpkins as a treat and told me how great my house looks. That was encouraging (thanks sis!) I guess maybe it does look a bit lighter and more spacious to someone who’s not in the throes of it. For me, I see all that still needs done, and the dirt and pet hair I am not bothering with in the midst of my decluttering efforts! But, that will all be taken care of in its own time. For now, letting go continues to be the most important part.

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“…Those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭40:31‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Day 3: In It For The Long Haul

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Day three has been long and tiring with many distractions and not much satisfaction. I began in the basement with my first area of focus being the drawers under the stairs. (Sounds creepy enough for this time of year, no?) It was scary!  I pulled everything out (there are about 15 full-sized drawers). Mostly bakeware, tablecloths, dish towels and aprons, kitchen gadgets and utensils, my special tea things, board games, candles and vases, lunch gear and Bento boxes.  Yes, it was a lot. So, needless to say, things must get worse before they get better!

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Decisions became harder to make today for some reason, and I felt distracted, a bit frustrated, and more than a little disillusioned.

I asked for some help from my hubby, who offered suggestions and aided in making decisions, where I was undecided or felt like I just didn’t know. He had some great input, and we made some worthwhile compromises. For instance – we have a lot of family games and discovered that we each share the goal of getting back to enjoying them with family and friends. Several of them are classics (ahem, some might go as far as to say “vintage”). Many we love, or used to really enjoy at another time in our lives, but I didn’t want to keep them all ‘just because’ they are old-timey games that are hard to find these days. So, hubby said, “ How about we don’t get rid of any game unless we play it first and then decide?” Well , alright! Sounds like the funnest way to declutter to me! I’m all for that idea.

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Another thing to work in my favor this afternoon was a sweet friend letting me know that our local high school was (conveniently:) hosting a booster. They were being paid by the pound for whatever gently used items they could load onto the back of a tractor-trailer. So, I finished hoisting as many overflowing bags and boxes of items as I could get, into my small SUV, from the past few days. Then made my way over to support our local Mustangs after first stopping to drop off the bags of clothes to assist our brave veterans.

It was quite a productive day despite my feelings of overwhelm. Not a thing is truly done, and there is still a whole basement to tackle beyond the bank of drawers below the stairs, and I will admit to decluttering only. There is no organizing going on at this time. In fact, I am well aware that I will go back again and do a last purge of everything once I have had time to step back and think more clearly. And then I will begin to organize. That will be another chapter altogether.

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Day 2: The Five Day Purge Continuation

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Day two was a bit of a slower pace, but constant. I wasn’t quite sure where to start, there is so much to do and I want it all done now! I know that’s not possible. As they say – your house didn’t get this messy overnight and it’s not going to be clean overnight either. So, I carried on at a turtle’s pace.

It was good. I got much of the kitchen and living room done today as well as tossing all expired items from the bathroom cabinets. My accomplishments are definitely more visible today (in our well-used living spaces) than behind closed doors, in the yet unfinished office. So, I will share some photos here:

No amazing revelations or finds this time, but our girl has a friend staying the night after a school dance. They rode the bus home together and we all ate pizza and appetizers (at the dining room table once again) and enjoyed one another’s company. I will admit to feeling a little bit of pride at the much clearer space to welcome a guest into. Can I just insert here how amazed I am by people who live and thrive in tiny spaces!? Please let me know if you live in a tiny house.

So, my next step is much larger. The basement. Eager to get in there! We have been wanting to finish it for a long time and expand our usable living area. However, each time I complete a huge effort downstairs, it fills back up again because the upstairs overflows, and more stuff continues to come in. Why? Because try as I might I must admit to not always being a good steward of the things we have. It’s time to let go and clear out those things that we truly do not need. To stop more excess of stuff from entering in so we can enjoy more excess of life.

A more conscious effort must be made. Is it time for me to start my own challenge of not making any unnecessary purchases for a specified amount of time? I am enthralled by reading of folks that have managed to go an entire year without making a single purchase. Hmm… may be something to consider, on an experimentally smaller scale, following the completion of my 5 Day Purge.

I am ready to begin again.

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Day 1: The Reality of It

Day one of my current purge has come and gone. At first, I was a bit saddened when it began to dawn on me that the five days I have set aside for this mission are not going to result in the incredibly simplified, organized home that I envision when I close my eyes and think of what our humble surroundings could be. It is just not enough time to completely deal with twenty-plus years of accumulations and a downsize that happened too quickly for the mass declutter that was truly needed.

However, last evening when my husband and daughter returned from work and school, we sat down together at the dining room table and enjoyed our dinner together. This encouraged lots of sharing and connecting in ways that are missed when we eat in front of the TV, or she goes off to her room with a plate and some homework.

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She also joined me in the office/spare room/major stash n’ dash territory… and poured over some old photos I had unearthed of her early childhood, family members that are now gone, and days when her dad and I were much younger.  We laughed, remembered together, and shed some tears at the memories of those we loved.

Later, before bed last night, my hubby closed himself in the office with the dog (I heard lots of let-go’s, what are you doing’s, and put that down’s!) and emerged later having gone through some shelves of books and magazines that he is willing to let go of. Yeah!

So clearly, as a family, we have

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And the purge goes on…

already begun to benefit from letting go of the clutter in our home. Connections were made, memories were shared, some things we’d been looking for, or had forgot about, were uncovered and will be given new life, and the inspiration has caught fire to pitch in and continue the declutter.

Captain’s log: First day of the purge, total success! Ready for day two!

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Simply Hanging My Head in Shame… Again

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Hi all (sheepish grin). This wouldn’t be the first time I have resurfaced after an extended hiatus, only to admit that I am embarrassed and hanging my head in shame that I have not reached many of my goals for a simplified life. My heart longs for space. Space in my home. Space in my office. Margin in my schedule. And ultimately a clearness of mind. The kind that results in  peaceful, deliberate living, and joy of life.

Recently, while contemplating subjects to blog about, and more than once starting down the road on a passionate subject, I have finalized a product that was inadvertently erased. Having, of course, saved it several times throughout the process, I was (and still am) highly discouraged to have lost some of the blogs that I felt most strongly about.

In such cases I have found myself asking – Am I worthy of this blog? Does anyone really care what I have to say? After all, I don’t have it all together. I certainly don’t have the answers. Especially for anyone looking to flawlessly begin their own mass declutter, and simple living lifestyle. Goodness, I can hardly manage to find the time to express the ideas in my head. And when I do – Poof! Gone. Can I really help someone else through this process without being an expert myself, I asked?

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Yes. Plain and simple. Why? Because I am just like you. We share the same types of goals and hopes for our futures, and are facing similar obstacles at the same time. I may not have the answers right now, but I can walk alongside you as we figure out what works best for us, in our own time, and in our own unique situations. I will stumble, and I may fall. But I will get back up and continue.

In the Bible, time after time, God calls on those who don’t appear worthy to do important things. Many who said, Who me, Lord? Surely you are mistaken. Who will listen to me?

I am trusting that I, too, can be used to encourage others through my own struggles and experiences  if I am obedient to the call on my heart.

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“Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have.”
‭‭Philippians‬ ‭4:11‬ ‭NLT