Now that I am a parent that actually gets to do "normal" parenting things, I read a lot of blogs dealing with raising kids and maintaining a household. I don't really seek them out, I just let Facebook's phishing software do it for me. You're welcome, Zuckerberg. A pattern I have noticed is that over the course of a week, I will see anywhere from 5 - 6 different blog posts that all build around a similar idea, such as "The Absolute Awesomeness of (insert random parenting idea here) and why you have to start doing it RIGHT NOW". Then, there's that one blog that says "We hate (exact same random parenting idea as before) and you should too". Every blog has an equal amount of conflicting comments such as "Oh yes! Finally, someone who GETS it!" and "This is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. Stop reproducing." This all leads me to one conclusion. None of us have any idea what we are doing and we are all just doing what we find works for our family.
Here's what works for my family....
....uh......well....I haven't actually figured that out yet. Laundry and dishes pile up at lightning speed and never actually really seem to be clean for more than three seconds, in addition to the piles of questionable cleanliness that just keep getting rewashed because I never put them away and can't remember. Grocery shopping is often a leap of faith, as I really don't have the time or energy to actually meal plan and kind of just make educated guesses in the middle of Publix, which often results in a cartful of raw chicken, crackers, bananas, and the occasional frozen pizza. At least once a week, my dinner is handed to me from a window. (Ok...twice a week....and let's not talk about it.) Part of this is because my husband works nights and pulls in 20-30 hours of mandatory overtime a week, leaving my disorganized self in charge of everything. Part of it is because I have never been very good at following through with housework. And part of it is because I would just rather take Piper to the zoo instead of tackling the whites and darks.
However, for my own sanity, I have made a plan for the summer to get myself on track. A good part of the issue is that we have way too much stuff. I think most people have way too much stuff, honestly. I mean, do I really need a giant plastic ring that can microwave potato slices into chips? Do I need six sets of pot holders? 10 mixing bowls? Four winter coats? (in central Florida?) Clothes that won't fit me unless I lose 50 pounds? (In that case, wouldn't I just then want to buy all new clothes?) I am buried in stuff, and this summer I am digging out. I shall call this summer The Great Purge of 2015, and nothing is safe. I am going to follow the KonMari method which involves gathering all of like objects together as opposed to sorting room by room. You only keep the things that "spark joy". I'm an emotional person....I can easily go through a pile of clothes and determine the ones that spark joy. I can tell which mixing bowl is my favorite. Which set of silverware is the most pleasing. I can do this!
I have recently re-organized my classroom. Often, when you move into a new classroom, there are a lot of things that have been left behind by the previous occupants. This, in addition to two years of being absent at the end of the school year and dealing with subsitutes who shoved everything into a cabinet and called it a day, my classroom was a wreck. I have spent the last month going through everything. If I hadn't used it in the last year or so, or it didn't make me happy, I chucked it. Often times, I gave it away to students, which made me feel a little like Oprah. "You get an old workbook...and YOU get an old workbook. EVERYONE gets an old workbook!" With three days left in the school year, my cabinets are clean and streamlined, and it is glorious. Glorious!
Our society hoards stuff. Maybe not always to the extreme of the Hoarder TV shows, but we surround ourselves with things. Electronics. Clothes. Toys. Linens. Kitchenware. Gadgets. We buy, buy, buy. And then we buy containers to organize it all. When I would run out of hangers in my closet, I went to the store to buy more hangers. When my tupperware containers spilled out of their drawer, I purchased a drawer organizer to keep them tidy. But then, when I saw how much more room I had, I bought more tupperware. When my mixing bowls and measuring cups couldn't fit in one cabinet, I rearranged a second one to squeeze more in. I can't do it anymore. I can't keep living under the weight of all this stuff. I am D O N E.
The Great Purge of 2015 has already begun. Every single item of clothing in our house is being cycled through the laundry room and is finding its way into the guest bedroom. Once my unnecessary and joyless items have been sent to the thrift shop, I will move into the kitchen and tackle the plastic chip ring and his redundant friends. From bowls to DVDs to shoes, everything will be judged and tossed or kept accordingly. I will show no mercy. I have none left to show
I cannot explain just how extremely excited I am. How so unbelievably lighter I feel just having my classroom clean and organized with literally 1/3 of the stuff it had before...and how completely free I will feel when the house is the same. I'm telling you people, simplification is the way to go.
Less is more.
It's not just a saying - it's the secret of life. Tell your friends.