Because of some interesting changes in my life recently, I have made a new blog, and I hope you all will continue reading there! We will be moving into a van temparaliy, and have bought it and are already dreaming big!

The new blog is over at:  http://vandwellers.wordpress.com/

Hope you all enjoy the new layout and focus!

So I have found truly cutting back to where I want to be much harder than I had anticipated. I was on a roll for a minute, and then found myself at an impasse…I could not move forward, despite my best tries, and actually found myself backsliding into squalor, unable to clean and organize at all. It goes without saying that I have been struggling here and just trying to get back on track. Well, today, my friends, I overcame the very next cliff on the mountain and have been cleaning and organizing once again. It is hard to get to the point where I can feel refreshed by the effort, as opposed to punished. 

I am getting there, again. I am progressing. I will soon be letting you guys in and doing a house-tour…telling you all what I have kept and why. But for now I am not there yet, and am just trying to progress a little each day, or at least not lose the progress I have made.  

A good friend is coming to stay with me today…she will be here for a week. In the short week I have spent trying to prepare for her arrival I have had my plumbing go haywire (hopefully will be fixed today, but I have been hoping that for days now) which means my laundry is backed up, my dishes need washed, and my bathrooms stink. Blech. I have cleverly discovered how to get most of this fixed (minus the actual plumbing, of course) But it is going to take creativity and energy. *sigh*

 

I am so happy to see my friend, though. We grew up friends, practically…even though we only knew each other personally for around a year added together, we always seemed to click right back into being friends after time apart. We both LOVE reading, and she is the only friend I ever had that we could literally not speak nearly the whole time we were together, and still walk away feeling fufilled and like we’d had the greatest time. We read the Harry Potter series together, and would walk the nearly two miles to school each day with our noses buried in a book.

Of course, for those similarities, we had plenty of differences.  She was dedicated, knew where she was going in life, and I was a rebel…begging her to copy off her schoolwork. Not because I couldn’t do it, I just really didn’t want to. She wasn’t encumbered by boys and silly things like that…I became a teen mom. She has lived the glamorous life exploring the world, traveling, visiting foreign countries…I have also traveled…as a runaway, but now I am a stay at home married mom. Our lives have gone in totally different directions, but still I am excited to see her and catch up on old times…find new ground to share. :)

I just hope I can get everything worked out before she comes. :P

I am continuing to purge my things while I wait for the dumpster to get here later in the week. I am going through things with an ever finer comb and re-evaluating what we need to get down to what will fit perfectly well with some extra space in our home. This process has been truly hard for me as I get down to the end of it. I am coming across things I had assumed were lost forever, and things I had either forgotten about or never knew I had. I am coming across things that hold lots of memories for me, but no real use.

I am really loving the space, and am ever amazed at how much was actually in our little two bedroom trailer. But the pain at going through those old memories and attachments is really hard. I find myself remember with purpose, that I have lived for months at a time, comfortably, out of a backpack. I need very little. I find myself questioning whether to hang onto old baby clothes, and how many, and what. I may or may not have a baby in the future. I find myself coming across my daughter’s things, and have also found I do not have some of what I did when I moved out, many of her pictures and things are gone without a trace, so far as I can tell. But then I ask, how important is it to have fifty million so-so shots of her? Why don’t I just keep the very best? After all, I have a nice little scrapbook I made of our time together, and I do still see her…but what good is it to cling so tightly to the past? Shouldn’t I begin to let go? After all, she is no longer truly mine. She is healthy and happy and has a good family that is not me. I am her mom, but not really anymore. I don’t know. I am really struggling with what happened when she was a baby. I am struggling with losing her things when she was little. But really, I am struggling with losing her.

I know in my heart that the past is nothing. Today is what it’s about. Today, I have two little boys who are not really babies, but not yet little kids. Today, I am a mom who is married but living alone. Today, I have a blood bond with a little girl I don’t even know, and a tie with a family that doesn’t know me. Today, I am forgiven by my Lord and promised that He is always here for me, supporting me and loving me and guiding me towards the plans He has prepared for me…that I do not yet know.

 

Today, I can do my best and let go of the past that hurts so bad. So much of my past hurts so bad and I had no idea how strongly this was going to come out when I began letting go of my things. I had no idea how strongly my emotions were tied to the things I have and how symbolic they are of my past. I had no idea how important that pain is to me…how much I dwell on my things. But when I pull another huge mountain into my living room and and begin to separate it and bag what will be thrown out, I find emotions sweeping my being, consuming my thoughts. I find myself short with my kids or sitting on the computer or watching tv or eating mindlessly or touching my fabric. Eventually, I put the mountain into my room and sleep on the couch to forget about it for a night with good intentions to get back to it the next day…but sometimes it is days before I drag it back out and begin going through it.

I am not sure where this will all go in the end. I know I will work through this and get my goal managed. I know it needs to happen and I know I WANT it to happen, and I know I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. But I am not certain how long it will take total. I hope it will be done by the time the dumpster gets here.  I hope that things will be done.

Anyways, that is how I am feeling tonight.

I am not sure what to say in this post, other than I will be blogging about the cleanup more soon…I have been so busy and not online nearly as much lately. It, along with writing, is often a bit of an escape for me, and I just do not have that need to escape quite so much now that my home is more in tune with what I need it to be.

I have spent quite a bit of time playing with kids, cleaning, and organizing. It has been oodles of fun and so exciting. My laundry has stayed caught up, the dishes are all done, I have been cooking good meals. I have begun reading old books to the kids, the stuff I devour with gusto, and they enjoy it.

Their room stays clean and I have the time now to shampoo up spots in the carpet when they happen…to organize, to run through the house and clean it in a few minutes’ time.  So know that I will be blogging more…but it may be a few days. :D

What is minimalism? Anyone who has Googled this has likely found that there is a variety of what can be called minimalist…so what is and isn’t it here?

What it is not: boring, drab, plain, dull. I am not out to seek a life void of pleasure and passion…I love “pretty” things and ruffles and colors. So my minimalism is not in the “fashion” sense at all. Don’t get me wrong, I also enjoy sleek lines and non-clutter…but it isn’t a fashion idea that has driven me to this point by any means. And definitely not deprivation.

What it is: Cutting back my possessions, not to a specific number, but to a point where my life is free to enjoy and not stress about the things I have, what to wear, how to creatively fit my stuff into storage. I am trying to loose the bonds to STUFF…to make room in my life to be more fully devoted, to God, my family, and myself…to serve and love and cherish. Too much stuff stresses me out. So minimalism, to me, is merely cutting out the extras in my life that serve no specific purpose…cutting out those things which do not create joy.

 

It means very different things to different people, and this may not be true of you, not by a long shot. But it is what I mean by it. :P

1 Less stress. Really. You clean less and so you don’t have to worry as much about what’s going on and how much you still have to do.

2 More time for hobbies…again, you are cleaning less.

3 More time for family…see above. ;)

4 Less visual clutter. That seriously DOES make a difference.

5 It’s so much easier to achieve the idealic house-wifely glow when you are not running in 50 direction trying desparately to keep up with the little one’s messes.

6 Playtime OUTSIDE!!! I always feel so guilty when I do things and my chores aren’t done. Less stuff=fewer chores.

7 You can find what you need….WHEN YOU NEED IT!!! What a concept, right? lol

8 A serious lesson in priorities happens when you start throwing your things out of your house. What REALLY makes you happy?

9 Getting up and ready is so much faster…

10 The SPACE!!! oh, the SPACE!!! I have never felt like this was a BIG house before…but oh, the SPACE!!!!

 

(and I am still not done getting rid of things. *wink*)

First-off…I don’t like cleaning. Give me anything else…sewing, babies (poop and all), cooking, teaching, absolutely anything but cleaning. I don’t like it one bit. I tend to procrastinate, and I also tend to save EVERYTHING…so when I get around to cleaning, I have a bit of work to do. I can get it all done in short order…mostly. I also have Fibromyalgia…so I get the bulk done and I am wore out for days.

 

My go-to methods for keeping things spic and span may be of some help to folks, then, eh?

So…laundry…

My biggest problem with laundry is that we go through so much of it. By the time I get around to doing it if I am procrastinating, I have loads and loads of it…it doesn’t get put away, and then I have to wash it all again. Plus, it usually takes longer than I have energy to cycle it all through.

Rules for Keeping the Beast under control.

#1. Get rid of anything you and your family doesn’t NEED. In my Project Minimalism posts, you will find lists of clothes we chose to keep, but this will be personal to each family. Aim for two days’ worth. Maybe three.

#2. Of course, following the above rule, you will almost have no choice but to do laundry nearly everyday. :D THAT is truly the secret here. Do your load everyday (or two, or however much you need to…large families will use more)

#3. As SOON as your load is done, fold it and put it away. Laundry is kinda like crocheting, you can multitask. :) Plus, little ones love to help. :P Putting it away is the most important to me. And it’s the least likely to get done, here.

#4. Get your family to put the clothes in the washer as soon as they are dirtied. Seriously.

 

Note: I don’t separate clothes (except for delicates…learned the hard way) and I own a washer and dryer. I imagine it would follow even if I were hand-washing and hang-drying…I just need the constant small loads. They are easier to keep up with for me.

At some point I had promised to post pictures of this…well, just before I tore it down, I finally did!

With flap closed...it is just a towel. My experience showed that it was much too floppy and the wind just whipped it around.

 

Inside...I had a towel in here for comfy sitting.

 

In the end: I should have been more careful about wind and placement. The ended up using an old desk instead, simply because this was positioned poorly.

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