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My daughter, F, soon to be 3 years old, is a photographer. She sneaks mama’s camera and takes pictures of her surroundings all day long. Some are blurry and out of focus, and some are just spectacular. I honestly love looking through the camera at the end of the day to find a few new pictures that she took. Her perspective of our home is so sweet to me. She captures things I’m proud of (kid art on the walls, baby’s first steps, me reading aloud, sisters playing “tea”) and things I’m not so proud of (dust bunnies under the bed, messy refrigerator, mama on the computer -eek!- and the TV on during the day). Like it or not, her pictures are something special – they are her honest perspective of the world. Through her lens, I can see what childhood looks like to her.
This midweek, I’m taking a page out of her book and focusing my lens on the Big things in life…you know, the things that really matter. Things like building a snow fort in the back yard, cheering on the wobbling steps of little J, waiting anxiously for Daddy to get home. I’m honing in on the blue light of dusk casting shadows over the snow, streetlights making the world sparkle and the warmth of snuggling under fleece blankets between siblings. I want to revel in the clambering of little people into bed with Mom and Dad at the start of a long, lovely day of nothing much planned. I’m loving the clattering of dishes during dinner, voices singing silly songs altogether and the love the weaves us all together in this crazy amazing impossible thing called FAMILY. I’m enjoying this rich tapestry of a life, where learning and loving, working and playing all connect together.
And here I am, singing along while J rat a tat tats his pot and pan drums and I’m left wondering if it really does all come down to the velvety flour dusting the floor and my cheek while D cuts out the biscuits and together we push them in a warm oven. This is what happiness is. I’ve arrived.
Leave it to them to teach me so much about what really matters.
Enjoy those kids, if you have some, and if you don’t, try and look at life through the lens of a child. You’ll be glad you did.
Nothing really new to report on for WIP Wednesday…just plugging away at the same old projects, and starting to get a bit bored! I’m working mostly on my Anna Maria quilt though…and I’m thinking, wouldn’t it be nice to embroider the fruits of the Spirit in some of the squares? You know, just in case we need reminding….
1. A confused or disordered state or collection; a jumble”
One of the most effective ways to keep your life simple is to purge your home of clutter. People spend hours upon hours managing their “stuff,” and for what? Most of it is stuff we don’t even need or use! I want to spend my time and efforts on my family and my life, not on the care and keeping of the junk in my life. This kind of flies in the face of my thrifting obsession, but not really. I try to employ a “one bag in, one bag out” policy in those situations.
I found this great idea this morning, and although Lent has already begun, I think I may be able to catch up. My basement and closets desperately need to be purged. What a lovely way to ensure a clutter-free Easter! Just in time for a nice Spring Cleaning! I have 2 bags filled just from my linen closet!
One decluttering method that works very well for me is “puttering.” If you don’t putter around your house and actually look to see what areas need help, you will just continue to add to the pile and it will grow into an insurmountable problem. Puttering is my answer to that. First, I either turn on some music or call a friend/sister. This gives me something pleasurable to focus on while I putter around my home. Then I get started. Often the distraction is so helpful that I get off the phone or emerge from crooning along to my favorite songs to realize wow, I just cleaned this whole room and I don’t remember doing it. This may just be testimony to how 4 kids in 5 years makes you lose your mind, but I prefer to think of it as distraction working quite well, thank you. An example of puttering could be reorganizing your bathroom cupboard, decluttering your work desk, cleaning out your fridge or organizing a closet. I usually choose jobs that I seriously detest doing, not my usual daily cleaning tasks.
Living in a small home means we simply cannot hold on to every little thing we’ve ever owned or ever will own. That includes the clothes that our kids grow out of. For awhile I labeled and stored every item of clothing my children wore, but as our family grew, this became too much. I switched to saving only the things that were in perfect condition, but even this became too much to hang on to. The truth is, even if I did have a baby of the same gender as 0ne of the older children, there were no guarantees that the seasons would be correct anyway. I began handing off clothes to friends. So far things seem to find their way back, often mixed with outfits from other families as well, when a new baby warrants it. I’d rather have my kids clothes used by others than stored in a basement. It works well for us.
The best part of keeping your home clutter-free is how quickly you can clean your home, and how long it stays clean. I can usually tell when my children have too many clothes and too many toys by how messy their rooms are. Obviously they are children and are going to make messes, but if my daughter can throw 25 shirts on the floor in her quest for the perfect outfit, there is something wrong.
Here is a quick list of suggestions:
2 sets of sheets per bed. – this may not be necessity if you are single and tend to wash your sheets and put them right back on, but having kids can mean middle of the night messes. Its nice to not have to do laundry in the middle of the night!
2 towels/washclothes per person in the family.
Keep your kitchen counters clear of appliances. Keep only what you absolutely need and make sure each item has a “place” in the cabinet. (coffee makers may stay out).
File your papers/bills/bank statements weekly to cut down on surface clutter.
Employ “A place for everything and everything in its place.”
Try to have “only” 1 junk drawer.
If you have a spouse who is prone to setting his/her random clutter all over your house, get a few baskets and set them around. That way it doesn’t look so awful, and you can quickly grab the basket and put the things away when you get a chance.
Recycle, yet, but don’t be afraid to throw things out. Socks with holes? Toss. Old toothbrushes? Toss. Some of these may be a given, but if you are like me and really don’t like throwing away something that might be useful, it can be hard to figure out what to do.
As an organizational/large family thing, I like to have certain items in gender-neutral tones to cut down on what we have to have on hand. Mittens in multiple sizes, snow boots, hoodies, etc., I prefer ones that are red, navy or grey so everyone is willing to wear them.
This post is entirely too long. Please feel free to post any additional tips!
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