Thursday, November 11, 2010

Our stuff

Two blogs that I enjoy are Heart Rockin Family and Metropolitan Mama.  Both families are undergoing major changes.  One has made the decision to sell their home, most of their belongings, and travel the country in an RV doing good for others.  The other family is contemplating doing something very similar.  
Following these families has made me think in a new way about my own.  We live in a relatively small house, at least compared to the standards of most in my community.  Our house was built in 1930, before the days of shoe addictions, technology explosions and master bathroom requirements.  We have small closets, no coat closet, an unfinished basement, detached garage, tiny kitchen and uneven walls.  These may be unattractive features but there are so many positives to our house.  We have plaster walls, inlaid hardwood floors, curved archways between rooms, 9 ft ceilings, baseboard molding, radiators,  and glass doorknobs.  I love my house.  Especially when it is clean.
Being home with two girls and two dogs, trying to teach, while living very full lives makes for one cluttered home.  I took a bedroom and turned it into a learning lounge.  It is never used.  The heart of our home is the dining room.  Books find their way here.  They are stacked in corners.  Piled on radiators.  Our work in on the walls. All this I can live with gladly.  It brings me joy.  However, to borrow a phrase from flylady, our hotspots pile up quickly.  I hate looking at my Nana’s hutch cluttered with Lilah’s craft material.  It bothers me to see Wii remotes scattered on the floor.  My kitchen counter is a magnet for mail, and lose change from coat pockets.  I have tried flylady.  Her plan works, especially when the girls were in school and I had time to scrub floors, wash walls and windows.  My house sparkled this time last year.  Right now it is not sparkling.
Soooo these two women led me to start thinking about our stuff.  Do we belong to our stuff or does it belong to us?  I am looking around my home sorting things into two categories.  What do we need and what can we give away?  We do not need three decks of playing cards.  We need one.  Two can be given to Goodwill or Freecycle.  We do not need five sweatshirts when we only wear our two favorites.  Three can be donated to church.  We do not need old books that I will never re-read.  They can go to the homeless shelter.  It is time to get to a place where our house is not overwhelmed with stuff.  
Our house gets transformed for the holidays.  Our Christmas Village occupies the entire living room.  Everything must be taken out of bookshelves, off the piano, to create space for the hundred ceramic homes that make up the North Pole Village.  Our dining room gets the advent house and dozens of ornaments hanging from the lighting fixtures and curtain rods.  Our family room is adorned with the nativity.  It is the perfect time to undertake a major house overhaul.  So far we have sent at least five large  garbage bags stuffed with things to our local Goodwill.  Today I will begin to Freecycle as well.  
It feels good to purge knowing that what is no longer needed may be very useful to someone else.  I hope it teaches my girls a valuable lessons.  Like over at Heart Rocking Family, I want my girls to understand that we don’t belong to our stuff.  We belong to each other.  Our home is where we live and love.  It should be filled with what we need.  Everything else should have the purpose of bringing us joy.  It is does not, it is time to let go and let it bring joy to someone else.


Heart Rockin Mama said...

Whoot, Whoot!!!
Doesn't it feel AWESOME?!!!

P.S. Your decorations sound lovely :-)

mamak said...

Sing it! I am so right there. Looking at everything with fresh eyes. Do we need it, do we love it....Going through the kids bookshelf has been kinda hard. I adored those books. Such memories. It truly is "Goodnight Moon", and "Runaway Bunny" has really scampered off. Wah!

Jana @ The Homeschool Jungle said...

I love your "why we homeschool" page. I'm putting together an free e-book with home schoolers stories to encourage new homeschool families.

And I would love to include your story with a link back to your blog. Please let mw know if that's okay. I couldn't find anywhere to contact you.


Helena said...

This is beautiful, Jessica—your thoughts and your actions, your heart. Beautiful.
And I can't wait to see pics of your christmas village when it goes up!

Karen said...

I identify with this more than you know! I work from home, we homeschool, live, cook and sleep in the same place 24/7. Ever since I started HSing I have wanted a HS room. I have one now. It is never used. Kei uses a little table in the den for her lessons, or the couch, or the bed. We have so much stuff. Why do we have it all? We moved and downsized so much and still we are overrun with 'stuff'. I sometimes wish that I could move out EVERYTHING and only bring in the things I love and NEED. Everything else would be donated or thrown away.

I wish you much success in your endeavor. Let me know how it turns out.

Karen said...

I thought I had commented on this. Lord I am going crazy! I wish you luck with your 'getting rid of stuff'. Do you remember George Carlin's take on stuff? :)

Jennifer said...

Great post! We tend to hang onto things a lot. I think that it's hereditary in my family. I honestly feel blessed that we have to move around every few years. It forces us to get rid of the "extras" - the stuff we don't use or need.

Stephanie said...

It's freeing to part with things, isn't it? we've been clearing the clutter from our lives, we've been clearing it from our hearts too.

Best wishes w/ your journey!

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