The nights in Pennsylvania are beginning to cool and in just a few short weeks the leaves will begin to tell the story of crisp fall nights, cozy blankets, hot beverages and all things autumn. Changing seasons.
Just like the weather, our lives change from time to time. Sometimes this change is gentle and other times more like a wild rapids after a long rain. Sometimes it’s against your will and sometimes you welcome the change like a breath of fresh air.
I’m in the middle of one of those changing of season moments in my life and it’s very much a ‘welcome with open arms’ kind.
In fact, it’s partially thanks to a lot of a hard work on my part and seeing the fruits of my labor is just as exciting as watching the apples on the tree in my yard slowly turn a deep red, signaling the end of summer and the beginning of a new season and new adventures.
Last fall, November 12th to be exact, I removed everything from my counter tops.
I was really struggling and I guess I needed to control something. I went through my kitchen like a tornado, sorting and tossing anything that hadn’t been used in a reasonable amount of time. I took several bags and boxes of unused items to my garage for a sale to be held in the spring and lit a candle.
That single act set off a whirlwind of change and has become one of the single most influential changes I have made in my life.
After clearing my counters I moved on to my clothes. Anything that hadn’t been worn or I remember not liking the way it looked on me for one reason or another went into a bag. Several garbage bags of clothes later I was left with a drastically reduced amount of clothing but all items I very much enjoy wearing.
After the clothes I took on the coat, linen and kids’ closets as well as our desk area. More sorting, more bags and boxes of things out of my house.
Then…I took on the toys. My, did I ever take on the toys. I have a home daycare so if anyone has an excuse for excess toys, I’d say it’s us. I didn’t care. If it made a noise or was in any way licensed, it was gone from my daycare room. I would then purge even more toys later in the spring, when Sami and her family moved in, but that’s another story for another time. My kids’ toys were also drastically reduced and, like magic, they started playing with them more than ever. Coincidence? I think not.
For months I donated, sold, and tossed a household of items from our home and with each load I felt lighter, less stressed and more in control.
You see, anyone would admit that physical clutter isn’t pretty but did you know that it can actually cause you stress? It’s true! Just head over to the Google machine and search ‘clutter stress’. You will find multitudes of science backed articles discussing the connection of physical clutter and increased stress and anxiety levels.
I’m a firm believer it’s at least part of the reason so many mamas are living their lives so overwhelmed and even depressed.
The dishes, the laundry, the papers, and don’t get me started on the toys. All the ‘stuff’ that fills our homes and overwhelms our souls. It’s just not worth it, none of it is.
I would be willing to bet that few of the items in your home, the items that are constantly strewn across the floors and surfaces, would actually be missed if they were removed. You could purge half to three quarters of the things in your home and no one would even notice, I know because they didn’t here.
Nothing has been missed and we’re actually thriving.
Just today my husband asked for a very small, random item, not something I had purged. 😉 I was able to walk over to our office area and within seconds retrieve the item he needed.
Why? Because everything now has a place and, if not in use, is in it’s place.
My oldest was there to witness this exchange and said, “Wow, you found that fast!” I responded by reminded her that this very circumstance is why we have a place for everything, and why we’re trying very hard to put things in their places when we’re done with them.
Is it a learning curve? ABSOLUTELY!
The kids still leave their things around and need to be reminded, but they’re kids. I expected that.
One of the best tips I’ve heard and implemented is the ‘One Touch Rule’. If I have something in my hand, it is taken to it’s home, not set down somewhere “until later”. I take the few seconds it requires and put it away, right then. I’m trying to teach the kids to do this too, but…they’re kids. 😉 This one change has drastically reduced the amount of surface clutter in our home.
My great purge hasn’t been the only change.
I have made many personal changes so far this year, each of them good and almost of all of them just for me. I’ll probably share about a few of them soon but it all started with clearing my kitchen counters.
Take some time today and do something for you! Like I mentioned when I shared about morning routines, invest in yourself so you can be filled up to invest in others.
You simply can’t pour from an empty cup.
Until next time!