Saturday, November 30, 2013

A Beautiful Mess...

Every so often a new something comes out that promises to clean your dishes better, or dry your clothes faster, or make your car smell fresher. Most times I look around and realize that my whatever works fine and I move on. This is especially true when it comes to computers or phones or apps. I usually just yawn. I spend a great amount of time agonizing about the blessings of technology and whether or not they outweigh the curses.

One technology that I do enjoy enhancements in is photography. I have been known to stand in the camera aisle at Costco and salivate over the newest Nikon. I have a folder on my iPhone with a number of camera apps. Instagram in an obvious favorite. Halftone keeps Noah entertained. But Hannah showed me some new stuff in an app called A Beautiful Mess, and it is just plain fun. :) 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

What we do in November...

Last week the temps dropped into the 30's. This weekend they neared the 90's. So, we did just like any reasonable sun-loving Texas family would have done. We went swimming. :) 

I have always contended that there had to be at least a few perks for surviving the harsh Texas summers. Wondering if we will be swimming in December... stranger things have happened...

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Shedding the weight...

I had to take what I could get in little bursts of time here and there, or in larger blocks after bedtime and before kids awakened. Finally, though, one room has been entirely thinned out. The upstairs craft room. As I worked, I couldn't believe how much the craft room was like the widow's jug of oil, no matter how much I got rid of, there was still more and more. In the end, this is what is leaving...

The top left picture is all going to be given away. The top right photo is trash. The bottom left picture is all baby and toddler stuff (new and gently used) that is being passed on to a niece expecting her first child. The bottom right photo is a glimpse of the number of plastic boxes freed in the decluttering process. 

And this is what is left:

Nice, orderly, relaxing. No precariously stacked boxes or overstuffed cubbies. I look forward to creating here. The twins have already asked for some time to sew. :) E said he plans to telecommute at the desk. 

I still need to finish the downstairs office turned extra sitting room. It is admittedly slower going in there. I know not what to do with cords and wires. I think some of the newly reclaimed plastic boxes may become the home for groups of wires since the drawers that used to house them don't fit in the new configuration. With all the decluttering upstairs, I was able to move some boxes with crafting supplies upstairs where they belonged, freeing some much needed space downstairs. Hopefully, I will get the office trimmed down and straightened up this week. It makes my heart happy to lighten the loads we have been carrying in stuff. And it makes me never want to walk inside a Target again. 

The office so far (not a pretty sight):

Our bedroom will follow the office/sitting room. I will be going through all my books in January. I am having to contain my excitement and set realistic expectations for finishing this project. I am still a wife and mommy, not just a clutter buster. :)

My heart's desire is that simplifying our belongings will simplify our day-to-day lives. Less stuff management, more living. I am thankful to the Lord for stirring my heart to loosen my grip on the things of this world. I am praying for the fruit of peace to reign in our home as the chaos of excess is swept out of it. 

How do you simplify? Regular decluttering or "can't handle it anymore" purging? Any advice on keeping the clutter at bay? 

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Some ideas...

A few people have asked what I will be doing with all the "purged" items I uncover. Two days ago I would have had no idea. After some prayer and discussion with Elliott, I have a battle plan.

First, I plan to work really hard through November purging my home and my mom's garage (where stuff that never got moved to my house 7 years ago still resides). Then, in early December I am going to host a party, a "Blessings Bash", and I will invite everyone I know to come have coffee and dig through my stuff and take whatever they want. Yep. Anything and as much as they think they can use. Anything left over after my bash will take a trip up I-35 to the New Braunfels Women's Shelter. 

In the New Year I plan to tackle books. I have around 4,000. No, you didn't read that wrong. And it might be more, I stopped counting. I like books. A lot. But, a solid half of those are children's books, especially younger ones, ones we've grown out of. So, I am going to box up anything I can't live without and I am going to call some local orphanages and see if any of them would accept a donation of used books. I am hoping they say yes, I will probably be able to start a library for them! 

Some stuff is just hitting the trash. It isn't a blessing to pass on broken stuff or loved until the pages have fallen out books. I am growing excited over the idea of living leaner. I think the kids are too. There have been a few sighs and "whys" when something they had forgotten about makes it into the "leaving" pile. A gentle chat and reminder of how long the item has been gone and why it was forgotten to begin with has helped calm the seas. 

I realize that eight people with different interests, ages and stages will still leave me with more "stuff" than the average family, even after the purging. My true desire is to remove the stumbling block of unnecessary excess and to free us to live more purposefully without the hindrance of "stuff management" to contend with. And, I will try to remember before and after pics. Though, I usually forget, in which case I will just take a photo of the piles and let your imagination do the rest. :)