Monday, January 9, 2017

Embracing the mess


I like for things to be organized. Tidy, if you will. All day long I am picking things up and putting them back where they belong. One of the main motivators behind simplifying our stuff has been the obvious outcome that the less stuff you have, the less there is to manage.

Even so, life with two kids leads to its fair share of stuff. Legos, blocks, discarded clothes, drawings, crayons, and mittens, to name a few. Add on the fact that hang drying clothes in the winter means drying racks are constantly cluttering our living area, and the stuff in our house starts to feel oppressive.

Early on in the winter I realized that I couldn't continue this way. There are the little things I can and did do: I put many toys away in the closet (especially the ones with all the tiny pieces), which I bring out on an as-needed basis. I put away all the winter clothes as soon as we come in the house. I tidy a few times a day, instead of letting it build up.

All of those things helped, but they weren't enough. I realized that I needed to shift not just our stuff or my habits, but my thoughts. Winter is not forever. Soon we will open up our back room again (we closed it off for the winter as it is so hard to heat), the kids will be outside more, and the clothes will be outside on the line. Until then, I need to embrace the mess and let it be what it is. I can choose how much to let my environment affect my mood. Do I prefer a clean, tidy environment? Absolutely. But what if I decided not to give that power? What if I just let it be?

This practice doesn't always work, but it helps. For now, as we enter the coldest months of the year, I will take it--mess and all.

4 comments:

  1. I found your blog because I searched "Feminist homemaker" in Google, and your piece for A Practical Wedding came up. :) This year for me is the year I embrace our home and work on it and the garden, which means embracing some home-maker stuff. However, the feminist in me balks at it and worries about it being anti-feminist to do dishes, laundry, etc. Anyway, I loved your piece in APW and I'm so enjoying your blog and podcast too!!

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    1. Thanks, Leah! It is a never-ending process to figure out what kind of work to do and, more importantly, how to feel about it. If you are looking to read more on the same topic, I loved Radical Homemakers. So glad you stopped by!

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  2. I definitely have thought a lot about this too, whenever I find myself getting annoyed because I feel like I am constantly picking up crap. I've been purging stuff but I swear the new comes in as quickly as I can get rid of the old. Argh! I've also come to the conclusion that I just need to work on relaxing my standards. But ugh, it's hard.

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    1. I do better with it some days than others. Unsurprisingly, how much acceptance I can muster in a given day seems to strongly correspond to the amount of sleep I got the previous night. And you are right--decluttering feels never-ending with kids!

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