Clutter

I have to confess. Mine is a slow work in progress. We moved into our home two years ago (hard to believe, already!) and our shame-inducing secret is: we downsized but brought it all with us! (Hanging my head in shame). There it is. Now I can breathe a sigh of relief.

I am in no way ashamed of downsizing our home. In fact, I personally prefer a modest, no-frills dwelling. So why the clutter?  The purchase of our place happened much more quickly than anticipated. We had been living in an enormous old turn-of-the-century apartment for many years. It had loads of character, but virtually no storage space. However, we’d managed to acquire lots of “things” to fill it’s cavernous rooms over time. So when my husband Danny’s grandmother passed away, and we accepted the offer to purchase the property, we wanted to have a sale.  Do some decluttering to disperse of all that was not going to fit in at our new location. However, it was preferred that the house not sit vacant for any amount of time and so it was suggested that we go ahead and move right in. Obligingly, we packed everything up, with the intention of thinning out once we got settled, and into the garage, shed and basement it all went. (Insert heavy weight here).

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Grooooaaaaannnnn!

Anything but simple living, right? Well, to say the least, simplicity is my ultimate goal. I love my home. I love my family. I so enjoy our little corner of the world with our fruit trees, Swedish ducks, well-loved gardens, our hillside and view of colorful sunsets and approaching weather, our endearing neighbors, the wildlife that frequents our property… But the ugly fact remains. There is a lot of work to be done.

No, we did not want to move it all with us. No, we are not attached to everything we own, and yes, we are ready to let it go and bless someone else with these items. So what’s the hold-up, you ask? Time. Ugh. We all struggle with it. Work, commutes, obligations, volunteering, family and the usual daily tasks and upkeep of running a home, exhaustion…

Oh, my...
Oh, my…

So, I am steadily chipping away. Small steps to the simplicity we desire. As they say – A place for everything and everything in it’s place!  Yes, it can be overwhelming. Yes, there are times I want to throw in the towel because I’m just not sure what to go through  next, or what to do with certain items, or it seems like every new project hinges on another… But I am dedicated to decluttering our home so that we can declutter our minds and live in a relaxing atmosphere that envelopes us with peace. After all, less stuff can provide more opportunity for what matters most – relationships, family, more time spent together, slowing down the pace and seeing what’s around you for the “first” time.

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A Time to Reset


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These last remaining days of summer have been bitter-sweet. School has started, the visiting relatives from across the country have gone, our daughter fractured her arm on the playground, and I am busy harvesting Red Potatoes and Yukon Golds from the garden with the last of my green onions. The pears are ripe and sweet, and the apples are coming in right behind them. Maybe enough for some apple butter this year?  My corn is in a sad state of skinny, useless cobs (save for the nice stalks they’ll make for decoration this fall), but we are enjoying watching the pumpkins slowly evolve from deep green to jack-o-lantern orange.

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Life has been anything but simple around here lately. I’ve been pondering what to write about next for some time, and trying to carve out some time to do it. You know those seasons of life when there is so much to do, so many obligations, you just need to retreat and care for your soul? So, that’s what I did. Along with my long-time friend, Adele, I took a 3 day weekend and went on retreat to a favorite location. Each staying in our own solitary hermitage. We spent peaceful quiet time in prayer and Bible study, caught up with one another, and spent time in fellowship with the Lord, fully enjoying the serenity of our woodland surroundings and marveling at the simple joys placed before us – like a number of paper lanterns, lit by small flames, floating serenely overhead one night above the trees from a nearby wedding reception. And who can beat opening the desks in our sparse retreat homes to discover, with joy, that many “hermits” before us had left their mark by writing of their experiences in notebooks dating back to the early 1990’s?

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Nothing like retreating to a simpler pace to re-ground your spirit and set your priorities back on track.image

Slow down. Be present. Be grateful. And enjoy life.

So, I’ve done my best to bring back a little portion of that peaceful simplicity and remember to slow down and breathe in the midst of my days. A simple life can still be full, and even busy. It’s how you go about it and how you appreciate the small things in your midst with each passing day. I’ve learned with time to let go of a lot of stuff… Choose my battles in many ways. Reminding myself that everything is not a priority. I keep a handy planner, with daily and weekly goals, that helps me to do a lot more than I would without it! But if it doesn’t get done – oh, well. There’s always the next day…or the next…

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