I’ve been a little quiet on the blog front lately. With summer dwindling down, I found myself jealously soaking up every extra minute I can with my boys before they go back to school. We had a mini family vacation and more lake weekends. We’ve had zoo fun and pool dates. Loads of family time and loads of chill time. This fall, for the first time in seven years, I will find myself alone at times during the week as all three boys will be in school in one form or another.
I’m a little sad this chapter of my life is coming to an end. (OK, let’s be real, my Mama-heart is breaking!) The Little Years are quickly fading from view as my Middle enters Kindergarten, and my Littlest ventures into half-day preschool (way more ready than his Mama is!). But as sad as my Mama-heart is to watch them enter their own new beginnings of childhood, it also bursts with pride at the tiny people God is shaping them to be, and a minuscule part of me is curiously excited. What will I do with this time? Certainly devote more time to my business, yes! Exercise more, yes! But what about those things I’ve wanted to do, but never seemed to have time for because my time was completely monopolized by my Babies?
Don’t get me wrong- I have loved 97% of being a stay-at-home mom turned work-at-home mom. (The other 3%? Well, we all have our off days and see the grass as greener on the other side sometimes. Am I right?) But I have on my horizon, some form of time I haven’t had in a very long time. So I’ve been reading (and writing!) more. All those books I’ve put on the “when I have time” list. They started coming to the lake with me, or I spent time in them when I was up before the boys, coffee in hand, with no school to rush off to. I read personal development books (if you have not read Girl, Wash Your Face go download it or pick it up right now!). Books about learning to rest, not quit. Books about doing what makes you happy and choosing joy, being passionate, chasing Jesus, and learning to find your own form of beautiful instead of chasing someone else’s.
I’ve tried really hard over the last seven years to embrace the whole “Sorry the house is a mess, but there are kids making memories here” thing. And while it brought me some comfort during the chaos of the “three little boys ages 3 and under” time of my life, it also caused me a ton of anxiety and stress. My personality just doesn’t do well with clutter and mess. In fact, it stresses me out like none other. But it’s hard enough to simply clean your house during the Little Years, let alone keep it neat, tidy and organized, and I learned to give myself grace.
So here I sit reading my latest book, A Simplified Life. The author talks about simplifying (imagine that!) and decluttering and organizing to make your house a home, and it dawned on me that I finally have that time! I finally have the time to systematically go through every closet, cupboard and drawer, and I am giddy at the thought! (Greg thinks it’s funny that I get this crazy sort-of high off of organizing and cleaning, but everyone has their thing, right?!)
Over these last eight and half years of marriage, we have accumulated So. Much. Stuff! When we added kids to the mix, our stuff became mountains of things. We did a little bit of decluttering last spring and had a rummage sale, but this time it’s no-holds-barred. Everything is getting a home (no more junk drawer!), and things that haven’t been used but kept around because “we might need it someday” are going out the door. It’s going to be glorious and magical and all the things. But it begs the question why?
I mean, I’m getting all sorts of good feels out of organizing and decluttering my house, but I also don’t want to spend this precious time on frivolous things either. Is this type of massive overhaul worth the time and energy I’m going to expend on it? I seriously reflected on this question over the weekend while I was sitting by the lake. I have no desire to live a minimalist lifestyle, but a simpler life? Absolutely.
In an age and generation of pure consumerism and materialism, so many people are looking for a simpler way. So many people buy more stuff to make themselves feel better rather than invest in quality time with their family or go out and experience the world. Our houses fill up with more and more things, and we sit among our “treasures” and wonder why they’re not precious like treasure should be. I don’t want a house filled with “things.” I want a home filled with precious memories and simple objects that bring warmth and beauty into the space where we make those memories. When friends and family come to my home, I want it to feel inviting and spacious, not cluttered and chaotic. And to be quite frank, when there is so much clutter and stuff everywhere, my personal anxiety aside, you simply can’t focus on the treasures right in front of you.
You can’t play the board games with your kids because the table is always covered with mail and magazines and this or that. Your kids exclaim they’re bored because they have so many toys they literally can’t decide which one to play with. They’re overwhelmed with options! You can’t find your flashlight when the power goes out because all FIVE of your flashlights are never where they’re supposed to be (yes, this happened to us!). You can’t figure out how the bigger house with all the storage space you bought a few years ago suddenly feels cramped and the storage spaces are overflowing.
So, yes, for me, the time and energy that’s going to be expended on this adventure are going to be well worth it. I know it’s going to take a while, and I know some of it is going to be hard. I mean, we become emotionally attached to our stuff for some reason. Disconnecting ourselves from the habit of feeling like you have to have the latest and greatest, of feeling like every space needs to be filled with something, that takes time and grace. But the rewards and fruit of that labor that I can foresee are going to be so worth it.
A decluttering and organizing of my house is going to be just the start of my “simpler life” journey. I’m excited to slow down and enjoy more date nights with my husband, more family game nights, more evenings with friends. I’m excited to not fill every second with activities. I’m looking forward to figuring out how to simplify our mornings so they don’t feel so hectic and how to maximize my time during the week so that I can focus on making memories on the weekends. I’m super motivated to figure out how to simplify our spending so we can give our boys more experiences instead of more things.
And I invite you along on this journey! Because while this post and this journey starts with simplifying my home, this is really a journey of discovering true passion and the beauty of life as you leave behind the “stuff” and focus on the treasures. Some of my posts on this journey will be more practical (how I decluttered my kids rooms, how I organized my kitchen, etc), and some will be more soulful as I let go of some dreams and close doors to make room for others. But all of it will be beautiful because it’s part of my story, and I hope you discover nuggets of advice that help make your life simpler and truth that resonates with your soul as you tag along on this journey that make your story more beautiful too.