Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Wondering Wednesday: The Great Summer Clean-Out of 2016

Since my husband and I got married eighteen years ago, we have moved a total thirteen times-which averages to less than 18 months per house or location. Six of those moves have included moving to different continents. Fun times. Now we have lived at our current residence for three years. THREE YEARS is our world record!!!! Recently, the hubs and I had a conversation about what our future plans are, and came to the conclusion that we want to stay put for awhile. It's kind of shocking to have that mindset but its also exciting. And no, my husband does not work for the military. He's actually a scientist.

This is actually what my living room looks like right now. I have been sorting through clothes for six kids for days. What remains will hopefully sell at the garage sale on Saturday. Anything that doesn't sell is going to a charitable organization on Monday. If you have ever made a big move, you will recognize this scene. It happens in every home at some point during a move and it is one that inevitably brings the mom to her knees in tears as she deals with it. Or at least, it does me. The only reason I am not crying is that we aren't moving in a week or two days. YAY!!! After we clean up this mess, I still get to live here.

Because we have moved so often, I actually get this compulsive itch to declutter and clean out my house frequently. Let's face it though, I have six children and a whole host of interesting hobbies and obligations that consume my time. I finally put down my foot and set aside five days of decluttering culminating in a garage sale on Saturday. It's been dull, grinding work, but removing the stress of a major move has eliminated the layer of emotional distress that makes packing and moving such harrowing work.

Sigh. My kitchen really looks like this right now. We've mostly managed to keep it under control this week, but I haven't been able to keep it sparkling clean while working today. The kids have been busy with assigned projects. So glad that this will soon be over and we can return to normalcy.

As I've sorted through clothes, books, crafting and school supplies, memorabilia, and toys, I have realized an important truth about possessions. All possessions place a little weight on your shoulders and emotions-both good and bad. It's really up to us to manage those possessions in a way is joyful and useful. I don't know that I can ever enjoy a clutter-free existence while having six children at home, but we can work on setting up patterns of dealing with possessions. I hope my kids will develop a healthy relationship with things. I don't want them to feel that having things is more important than relationships or experiences. I also want my kids to enjoy the things they do have--to derive pleasure from toys, games, books, or clothes. The trick is to enjoy what you have, and recognize when an item no longer brings you that joy. (Totally a paraphrase of the master of decluttering--Marie Kondo).

Maybe this doesn't look uncluttered or Zen to you, but I really worked on this room. Every cubby has been scoured and stacks of stacks of school papers have made their way to the recycle bin. I am happy to have this space that is clean. It makes me want to write or craft.

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