Friday, April 10, 2009

The Simpler Life

Today we went to Paul's mom's home to work on cleaning it out for selling. We spent most of the afternoon putting things in boxes, dusting, and my favorite thing....throwing away. Now, I realize that it is not quite the same when you are throwing away other people's things compared to pitching your own. But for me, purging stuff feels so good. I guess I don't consider myself much of a pack rat. Yes, I can be bad about letting things like bank statements and offers for JC Penney portrait studio pile up on my kitchen counter, and I in no way have control of clutter. But I just LOVE to throw stuff away.

That was a little hard for me today at Jean's, because at best, her life is going to be majorly pared down from here on out. She has even said recently that she wants to live simply, and doesn't want too much "stuff" in her room at the nursing home. I guess I just wanted to make things simpler for her and for all of us. I filled two boxes so far with things for Goodwill, and several trash bags of things that just needed to be pitched.

When we came home, I was struck with the mess that is currently our house. I have gotten very relaxed about not getting things picked up in just about every room. It was not welcoming to come home to, and I was ready to purge. I've had moments like that several times, especially since having Abigail. I'm really quite a Scrooge when it comes to toys, and feel like the less, the better. I figure she can live pretty much like Laura Ingalls Wilder and have one precious rag doll with stitched-on eyes, and I will be a happy mama. Hey, it worked then, it could work now!

When we lived in Muncie, I had joined Fly Lady for about two weeks. I learned how to have the shiniest kitchen sink, to wear your tennis shoes at home for ultimate productivity, and one thing that still sticks with me, long after I quit using Fly Lady after realizing I would forever receive 40 testimonial emails a day about how life-changing Fly Lady was. That thing was the 27-Fling Boogie. You grab a trash bag, and don't sit down until you have thrown away 27 things. Pretty exciting, huh?

I made my own version of that this evening (well, my mom used to use it on me when I was little). I set the timer for 15 minutes and told Paul and Abigail we were going to do a "15-Minute Tornado Clean-up". It was awesome!!! My room is cleaner than it has been in two years. Abigail picked up her toys all by herself. A cardboard box the size of Montana that Abigail has been coloring on for a month finally got broken down and taken to the trash. And our dinner was cooking the whole time! All in 15 minutes!! (I realize I sound like an infomercial now, leave me alone)

All this to say, I want a simpler life. For me and for those I love. Yes, toys for the kids are fun, and necessary. Toys for me are fun, and usually look something like shoes. Toys for Paul are fun, and usually resemble Playstation games. And that is okay. But when it comes down to it, I don't want my life defined by our stuff. My family walked yesterday on Paul's lunch hour to the library, and we each checked out things for ourselves. And in two weeks (or less) we get to take them back! No clutter! And that walk with my husband and my daughter, that time sitting and reading books in the children's section, was so much more priceless to me than anything we could have bought. Maybe this is coming from the side of me that has moved three times since I've been married. Or it could be that we are having another garage sale. But I just love that feeling of needing less, wanting less, using less. And all it took was 15 minutes.


Beth said...

Oooo...I like this one a LOT, Amy.
Very true.

nickmal said...

Priceless...and good advice; Amen sister!