Thursday, June 23, 2011

Decluttering report

The kid's play-space under the stairs is done. Completely done. There are some empty Sterlite containers in there that will eventually go to holding other items in other places in the house, but they can live peacefully in the corner till I need them.

I decluttered my cookbook shelf, getting rid of a few that I never use - I think I only have four or five books there now. The Tupperware and dishcloths live there too, and I tossed a bunch of Tupperware - some of it grotty and old, and some of it just stuff that I never reach for because it's never the right shape or size. The dishcloths and dish towels are now separated into two containers instead of one, which will make them easier both to find and to put away.

That shelf now has real, live, actual empty space on it. It's pretty appealing, visually.

The kids' room is done, minus the top bunk of the smaller bunk bed. No one sleeps there now; instead, that's where all the toys-with-small-pieces are living - Legos, magnet dolls, Tinkertoys, etc. - so that they can be played with one at a time, as handed down by a parent. But I need to go through it all and make sure everything that's there ought to be there (probably most of it is - no one in this house is going to toss Legos), and is in a decent container. I'd like to actually get it cleared off and all of those toys put on a high shelf in the closet instead, because though no one's sleeping on that bunk now, someone will need to sleep there someday.

We have a corner cupboard in our living room, and it's not done yet, but the floor in front of it (which is hidden from easy sight, due to its position in between two perpendicularly-arranged couches) is cleared. This is a spot where various crafting items (my crochet stuff, my husband's rope-tying stuff) often accumulated. Now I just have to do the cupboard behind that nice, clear floor space.

It's weird . . . I am experiencing a lot of positive emotion from this decluttering, but I'm experiencing a bit of the negative too. It's the right thing to do - we are a lot of people in a small space, and we spend too much time picking up our stuff instead of using our stuff - but it's still hard to toss stuff.

Less hard to give it away. Though even that's a problem, because I find myself wondering what in the world I was doing with all this stuff in the first place. Who am I that I should have enough stuff that I can afford to get rid of so much of it?

The anxious part of me reminds me that I don't really know if I can afford to get rid of it. Can't tell the future - there might be a disaster lurking around the corner that will make me wish that I kept it. (Worrying is a sin, I remember. The Lord specifically exhorted us not to worry.)

But I try to be wise, and not wasteful, to pray through the process and to trust the Lord for the outcome. The praying part is what makes it okay, because if it's real prayer, and I really offer my actions to Him . . . well, I can trust Him. And so I do.

Also, I remember that neither it would be good stewardship to let the stuff pile to the ceiling.

And sometimes there's a good answer to the question of why we had it and yet don't need it anymore. Often the stuff is stuff that was useful - was sometimes even needed - was sometimes a gift - was sometimes things we never could have afforded on our own - sometimes all of those things together, and now we have passed that stage. Things have changed, the children have grown. When it's that, then passing it on to someone else is just sharing the blessing with which we have been blessed. Lots of good stuff lasts through several families that way, and I'm glad of it.

Life is already easier, just with those few spaces done. Clean-up takes less time and the mess isn't so bad, and if anything the children are even more creative in their play than they were before, now that they have more space to play in, and now that the toys they have are easier to see, easier to get to.

Weird though. I expected this to be an entirely happy process, and it isn't.

Mostly good though. I'm still excited about it. I'm especially looking forward to house-cleaning when it's all done. Cleaning is so much easier when there isn't so much to clean around and when you don't have to wonder where something goes. It's so much better when you know.

Peace of Christ to you,

Jessica Snell


MomCO3 said...

We've spent chunks of this year purging baby-stuff, and I've had the same bittersweet/anxious feeling. "What if..." and "But it was a gift from..." But it's still STUFF, and I don't want to be the rich farmer building a bigger barn, right?

Jessica said...

Oh, Annie, THANK YOU for reminding me of that parable. That helps a lot!

I'm gonna make it a mantra when I get stuck: "No bigger barn!" I'm gonna say to myself, "No bigger barn!" :D