Why, after so many years of nesting, is my home not the haven I long it to be? Why is it so often a place of stress rather than peace? A place of chaotic muddles rather than simplicity, a place that stifles the soul rather than inspires it? A place of discouragement and defeat, rather than a place to flourish? Why, with all my planning and organising and multi-tasking are there still not enough hours in the day?
The answer to these questions is simple – too much stuff. So many precious hours in my day are spend dealing with clutter, moving stuff from here to there, organising places for stuff. You know what I’m talking about. . . I know you do it too.
Our camping trips are so precious to me for many reasons. I love the pace of life achieved, the fun we have, that we are outdoors all the time, the fact that my children are suddenly content to just poke sticks in a puddle for an hour . . . just the simplicity of it all. Now, caravaning or camping with 3 children is by no means a restful holiday and quite often more hard work than being at home. . . but here’s the really special thing to me. . . After the cooking and cleaning and washing is done for the day and our few clothes and belongings are put away in their little boxes and cupboards, there is a wonderful moment that happens every day. . . . An experience that is so unfamiliar to me and so very welcome. . . there is nothing more to do.
I’ll say it again. . . there is nothing more to do. At home, this never happens. There is always more to do. . . . more to sort, more to tidy, more to organise. And with the realisation of this crazy concept, comes such peace. . . such freedom. . . . a clear space to just be. A time to simply sit, to chat, to read, to drink coffee, drink wine, to think.
There is no guilt of ‘I should be doing. . . ‘ There is clear space. And from this space, comes all I dream our home to provide . . . . rest, peace, refreshment, inspiration. . . space to dream, to flourish.
So a challenge presents itself. Without actually moving in to my caravan, (I would do it!!) How do I replicate this back home?
Why don’t we have that feeling in our own wee nest? Why is returning home sometimes so overwhelming?
I’ll say it again – too much stuff.
The book Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids
by Kim John Payne says this,
‘By eliminating some of the clutter in our lives we can concentrate on what we really value, not just what we’re buried under, or deluged with. With simplification we can bring an infusion of inspiration to our daily lives; set a tone that honours our families needs before the world’s demands.’
I am tired of the clutter and it’s hold on us. I know that it induces stress and overwhelm. I know that my kids play better with less . . . always . . . I have seen it. But I can also see that dealing with the problem is not for the faint-hearted. It’s going to take time and hard work and determination. . . and then some more time.
We want to live simpler, more responsible lives, with less waste and clutter. We want to stem the tide of ongoing accumulation, and we want to be thoughtful consumers instead of rabid accumulators.’
Yes we do. But where to begin? I attempt to clear and simplify so often, but the words ‘fighting’ and ‘losing battle’ ring in my ears.
I realise this is a very rich world, privileged problem to have, but it is there nonetheless. Stuff is so easily accumulated. It’s cheap and it’s everywhere and when we run out of places to put it, we buy more storage solutions or extend our homes and the epidemic continues. it’s not right that we have so much when others have so little. If we have less, does this mean more for them? . . . .
I love the writing of Kristen Welch (check out her blog at wearethatfamily.com ) She says this
‘I’m discovering that my materialism is layered like an onion. . . . layer one has been removed, but I think I just getting started on clearing out the stuff in my home and heart. I thought I had stuff; turns out, it had me.’
Now I know we all have these dreams and plans and new years resolutions every year, and we plan to have tidier lovelier homes. . . but this year I have tasted the clear space and know what it feels like. I don’t want to just wish for it and watch helplessly as our lives are engulfed by a problem we have ourselves have invited in. . . .We have so many clothes, we don’t know what to wear. . . Our kids have so many toys, there is no space to play.
What if, instead of buying more storage space for our growing stuff, we just get rid of the stuff. . . What if we choose to no longer be a victim to clutter. . .
I am standing at the edge of something, ready to leap, armed only with intention, bin bags, books by wise simplifying pioneers . . and of course coffee.
“Our life is frittered away by detail. . . . Simplify. . . simplify.” – Henry David Thoreau.
If this story rings true with you, join me on this journey. Share your ideas and plans to simplify. I would love to hear your comments.
Lets not be victims to clutter anymore. Lets claim back the clear space we crave.
Here is some of the ammunition in my library:
- 7 HB An experimental mutiny against excess by Jen Hatmaker.
- Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids by Kim John Payne
- Living Simply with Children: A Voluntary Simplicity Guide for Moms, Dads, and Kids Who Want to Reclaim the Bliss of Childhood and the Joy of Parent by Marie Sherlock.
- Organized Simplicity: A Clutter-Free Approach to Intentional Living by Tsh Oxenreider.
for ideas on simple living