I know, it’s totally the buzzword and trendy whatnot going on today. Usually I’m not a bandwagony type person.
But, late this summer I went to a library program offered by Rose Lounsbury at the Dayton Metro Library. The major theme of this particular workshop was time management for parents. However, her day job is working with families as a professional organizer – helping people get rid of their stuff so they can live.
Her message started to stick with me – at the end of the program she gave away a copy of her book, Less: Minimalism for Real and I won. I never win. I read it in the next two days. It was nurturing a little seed that had been planted that night.
We have a lot of stuff. Then we have a lot of stuff to maintain. To find a home for. To put away, clean, sort, organize, store. At some point we look around and our stuff is running us. We don’t need more boxes or bins to organize it. We don’t need bigger houses or more closets or a butler pantry. We don’t need racks and bins in the garage.
We need less stuff. Period.
My first step
Rose said, “Start in your bathroom. Your bathroom isn’t emotional.”
So, to my bathroom, I went. Even with paring things down for moving, we still had a lot of stuff that wasn’t going to be used or that I hadn’t used in a long time.
I tore through the bathroom. I spilled over into the linen closet. Then the bedroom. I was making slow and steady progress. Things were hauled to Goodwill. Spaces started looking like they could breathe. Mini successes.
But I wasn’t done.
Sticking with it
I felt pretty good about the work I had done, but as I looked around the house, I realized we still weren’t living the way I wanted us too. There was just too much stuff everywhere – on every surface, on the floor in every single room, on the stairs, on the benches, on the kitchen table. Every. Where.
So, when Rose offered her live class, I took it. And I’m not usually a live class person. Through her class she assigned us one room each week and we rocked it with before and after photos.
I will admit I lost some steam about 60% of the way through, but even when going back through rooms I had “done” before, I pulled more out. I hauled a car load to Goodwill each week. Threw out at least one bag of trash. I let it go and I didn’t look back. I still have some project to really finish up that I started during the class but didn’t get all the way through, but our storage areas are looking fantastic.
But the surfaces are still a disaster.
A sticky point
Everything that someone in our house picks up, they set down and it lives there. Here’s a picture of the table right now.
This stuff literally belongs to just about everyone in the house. A lot of it is mine admittedly, because I use this as a desk and I start things and can’t always finish them in one sitting.
But our entire house looks like this. And it is, let me tell you, a lot of work to tackle on my own. (I’m getting to the dishes as soon as I’m done with this…)
Although I feel like we don’t necessarily have more stuff than we have places for, the stuff that we do want and have is a disaster area. I believe we have more to get rid of and I’m getting a pretty good eye for getting stuff out and am getting a lot better about just not bringing things home.
But as for solving the mystery of having a house that doesn’t look like a bomb went off in it, well I’m not sure what sort of trendy lifestyle magic trick I need to stumble upon next.
The clean restful house saga continues…