Where is all of this stuff coming from? This is the question playing in my head this weekend. If you have read my earlier posts, you know we downsized some time ago, but this past Saturday one of my projects needed to get checked off that list.
I was going to have a few precious hours of solitude, when my husband took the boys fishing. Thanks babe, taking two 5 year olds fishing is pretty risky in terms of having no crazy meltdowns or power struggles, so I really appreciate that he was up for the challenge.
One of my guys has been going through what I can only describe as the exorcist meets sweet blue eyed boy phase. I am not kidding. He is beautiful, sweet, and lately a little volatile. I can be volatile too, but I am doing my best not to show my crazy and channel it through yoga whenever possible or something else that is more peaceful. Now teaching all my emotional handling tips to a five year old seems excessive. So I just try to ride this out and remember his real needs are sleeping, eating, downtime, and patience. Even as he used his crazy voice in the restaurant yesterday, when a reservation meant a 30 minute wait for a table and about the same for food. We are not that different after all huh?
The project was to really tackle the kids closet. The outcome, I was looking for was a room that was peaceful and had minimized the risk of looking like a bomb went off when they played in it.
Downsizing gives you perspective, unlike anything I have ever experienced. I have always tried to improve my organizational skills at home, even BK (before kids), but it never lasted. It’s like going on a diet for the sole purpose of losing 15 lbs. 15 pounds of what? Why? If it was for an event, as soon as that event is over, it is too easy to slip back into your old habits because now your reason was gone.
Getting organized is like that. If your goal is just to organize enough so that your mom can visit, you will accomplish that but nothing more. If your outcome is to minimize stuff and create a peaceful space that allows for rest and peaceful bedtime routines so that your children can grow in body, mind, and spirit, well that is an ongoing goal that has a little more juice and staying power.
I had to make the shift of why I wanted to be organized, and so do you. All of the bins and tubs in the world will not keep you organized if you do not have a strong enough outcome. What is wonderful is that once you have a strong enough reason, you may not even need all those tubs and bins. I can feel the stock of the Container Store going down already!
I decided at some point in my journey that I felt better about donating the items we were purging than selling on Craigslist or a garage sale. In the beginning my husband felt like that was better too, but I thought I wanted to make a little income from it. Actually, what happened was a need to redeem myself from wasting all those precious resources we worked for on the stuff we did not need that was actually working against us.
Possessions hold energy. Some good energy, some bad. It is different for everyone. It is all about deciding what your overflow level is, and balancing it all out. Holding onto photos that you look at and smile and tell you kids stories are great sources of positive energy. Holding onto that box of stuff that you bought to start a business to make money from home, or anything that you did not follow through on will hold a negative energy for you. Set it free already.
I have so much educational material at my disposal, and as I was purging stuff I felt guilty about getting rid of stuff I thought could teach the kids something. I also felt guilty every time I looked at the stuff, and was not using it. This is where it takes away your energy.
I am only aware that I was doing this after doing the work of being very present with myself and doing an emotional inventory every time things came up – it has saved me so much wasted energy. Just check yourself the next time you feel the tug to hang onto something.
- Do I need to use this thing?
- When is the last time I used it?
- What am I feeling when I look at it?
- Does it cause positive or negative effects?
Too many toys can create chaos, but the same goes for too much of anything. Saturday, I did clean out the kids closet and donated another 9 bags of stuff to Goodwill. My possession by possessions is almost completely gone now. Just one last closet… maybe next week.
Where did all of this come from? It was like a clown car with all of the clowns piling out. It would have been funny if it were not such a drain or energy and time.
Downsizing is a process, and it will feel like living in a clown car, but you have to do it. Your life will be richer for it.