Monday, July 21, 2008

Gearing up for a new year

As we begin that slippery slope toward the start of another school year I enjoy getting the house in order so we can start off on a strong note. I have pints of homeschool ponderings and enthusiasm coursing through my veins right now as we rev up for next year. I plan to publish a number of posts on preparing for a new school year in the next couple weeks, sharing how I am preparing, and hopefully encouraging some of you as we jump into the 'newness' of another school year.

Before I can focus my attention fully on the academics, I need my house in order. Summer offers a more relaxed schedule with our job (of which I only have a few weeks left) so we always try to do a little decluttering and housecleaning. This year we anticipate a bit of rearranging as we will have quite a bit more space to spread out in, and the minimizing challenges at Handprints on the Wall have offered me great motivation to get to work. I started last week on my clothing, and today I jumped into the kitchen. I think my kids have a harder time with the decluttering than I do.

"Oh, that's my favorite hot cocoa mug" (that you haven't used in a year)
"That's where my recipe book went" (yeah, because I got tired of picking it up off the floor in your room and stuck it with mine)
"Can't we light one of these candles before we get rid of it?"
"Are you sure we won't need any of that stuff?"
"What's wrong with that?"

Not quite the accountability partners I had hoped for, but my own motivation drove me on this task well enough. I don't have any exciting before and after pictures, but I have not seen my counters this clear in over a year, I'm sure. I was able to clear out space in the cabinets for some things (like my coupon box) that have sat on my counter for so long I didn't think about finding it a new home. While my kitchen is also our medicine cabinet and our linen closet, it doesn't need to be a clutter magnet.

So, a couple things I learned today from my clearing out:

- I need to stop now and then and look at every little thing in order to really see it. I often open a cabinet and think, "it's clean." However, if I really took the time to look at each shelf I would realize how much unneeded stuff filled the spaces.

- Some things I thought I would get rid of, I didn't. Some things I could do without, but since I have them, and have room for them, I had to weigh them differently. With a home full of children that I want to spend time with each day, items that save me time (and I can afford, have room for, etc.) are worth keeping around. I don't want to too easily jump up and say I can't live without something, but there might be times when a material thing affords me more immaterial treasures. That was something I hadn't counted on learning or accepting on this "road to less."

- And, as always, balance, balance, balance. I have a tendency to overdo when I start on a project. It is easy to tackle a job until completion, ignoring the times I am missing around my ankles. I am glad for what I accomplished, and in the long run it will give me more time, but I need to take it a little more slowly and not forget to snuggle and play, and involve my kids in the process. A great post on this at Happy to be at Home.

I know I won't miss any of this stuff:

But, I don't want to miss any of this either:


Kendra at Hand Prints On The Wall said...

Great post! And a great job decluttering! Thanks so much for sharing. I'm glad you were able to find a balance and get rid of the un-useful things taking up space in your kitchen. Thanks for inspiring others as well!

Anonymous said...

Looks good! Balance really is key. Have a nice week!

Lisa said...

Your kitchen looks great! We can all use a little decluttering from time to time. I know I have things in my cupboards that i have never used. Thanks for the motivation to tackle that job.