Thursday, October 1, 2015

Our house is unorganized and I'm on it.

On Monday I disassembled the guest bed that was in our 3rd bedroom. I cleared out everything that didn’t fit the [new] single purpose of an office and study space. Our guest bed was getting so little use and it far from fit the needs of our family. As soon as the bed was out, I felt I could breathe. It was all wrong before. And now the room was right. 

The next day I continued.

I took three loads of stuff out of the garage to give away or recycle, hauled even more to the curb, and spent 4 hours rearranging our storage layout and all the things in it. Our garage is extra long but not extra wide. Previous owners put in cabinetry on the right side of the wall. It has always been all wrong, and we are finally having a contractor take it out. This is why I was out there. I was shifting all storage from the sides of the garage to the back where there has always been dead space. 

Yesterday, I took out everything from the laundry room and the cleaning closet. Thomas asked if he could earn money helping. I pulled things down and he organized them on the table. Housed in our laundry room cabinets were a freak show of miscellany. Paint sample cans. Abandoned socks. Tools. Empty boxes. Cleaning products I didn’t know we had. More screws than I could ever know what to do with. And enough manuals to build a tower as tall as Alistair & Emerick. 

Through this process all week I’ve been excited but not anxious to rush. I’m telling myself: no shuffling, no hiding, no shortcuts. If this thing in my hands isn’t sparking joy or its purpose expired some time ago, it’s time for it to go. And then I’m taking each item and putting it in its home not based on space I see or lack of space or where things were before. I’m putting it where it makes sense and with all the other things that it makes sense with.

This whole process of re-claiming my home is bringing me immense joy. We have better access to our tools and things which let us work and play with ease. In three days, I’ve gutted a disease of sorts which has caused us unnecessary stress and waste of time and replaced it with a visual declaration of “all things in their place.” 

Much of the beginning of 2015 I dwelled in this head and heart space of feeling and knowing that caring for twins is ... "challenging".  Of course my kids bring me tremendous joy. I am crazy lucky to be at home and I treasure my time with them. But I also felt like grabbing friends and family and saying, "YOU DON'T GET IT. THIS IS HARD."

Adjusting to life with three boys was [is!] very real and instead of handling it, I looked outside of myself and believed lies that if I was just “that mom” or I had “those kids” or I had “that set-up” my life would be easier. Ha! Maybe that is true. But what a bunch of crap that is wasting time on a life that isn’t yours when there are about a million things we can do at our fingertips to simplify, re-energize, and strike success with the one we do have!

Just about a month after the fog of my hard-heart lifted, homeschooling started. I’m going to admit something now that is even more shameful than the fact that I had tools in my laundry room, bottles of cleaners in my garage, and a guest bed I’ve always hated set up in a room we very much needed. 

Paul travels a lot. He does about 75% travel. He’s in Chicago this week. In the two weeks before that he had taken two trips each week. I used to post on Facebook that he was leaving or coming home or maybe blog about it here, but it’s such a normal part of our life that posting about it seems kind’ve silly now. 

This is our life, and I’m happy to be a part of it. Normally, I could keep up without extra help at night— the dinner clean-up, baths, books read to the kids. But with homeschooling now. WOAH. Like, woah. Could. Not. Just....No. Here it is… Here’s the kicker…. Since school started, three times Paul has come home to a house that was not clean. It was mostly clean. It was pretty clean. But it wasn’t that clean that a man who’s been busting his butt to provide deserves to come home to.

I’ve actually typed the words out to him: “I’m really struggling.”

Have you ever had this? A new stage of life. Maybe a baby. Maybe a promotion. Maybe a new house. Maybe, like me, homeschooling. And you can feel the growing pains. You know you are going to make it through but in transit you are looking like one. hot. mess. You’re not just dropping stuff, you are tripping over yourself and falling on your face. Well, if you have—then you know what my life has been like this year. I’ve mostly been a mess. 

And that’s why all this cleaning, pitching, purging, and creating a new vision for my home and how we live in it.

I’m in a good place right now.  A very, very good place. My eyes are not on anyone else’s life. Not the woman who has a man who is home at six (been there). Not on the momma of one sweet and tender, calm maybe, little girl (thought that). Not on the momma I’m going to be when I magically transform (NO effort!) into a well-oiled machine of both gentle nurturer and competent homemaker.

All I’m thinking about is where I am today and what I can do about it. I refuse to feel shame for the paint cans and messy garage, the slow claiming of my space, the past consumerism that stuffed our lives beyond good enough, or my lack of ability to magically transform into super-mommy or super-homeschool teacher.  I'm only thinking about the work. It's true what they say, that it doesn't matter about your past, but in light that it's always time to get to work on the right now.

I’m glad to be here doing the work. I’m grateful for a husband who trusts and believes in me. I’m happy for another beautiful day to be empowered, imaginative, and to pull out weeds and cultivate delight.


  1. I think this is beautiful. I love to de-clutter and clean and organize, but it really does take a lot of energy doesn't it! I hope you continue to find joy in it.

    1. Katie, it does take energy! Last week I moved through several spaces in our house... but I also had a lot of normal cleaning to catch up on in between, and that was pretty exhausting. I try not to think of how quickly I could do this if my sweet kids just weren't here for a few days....week... ;)

  2. I love this trend of getting rid of things that do not spark joy and even though I live in a small apartment I know I still have tons of things that do not bring me joy! Good for you! :)

    1. Emily, I've been surprised to see how much we just have allowed our belongings to expand to the amount our house could hold. We were hanging onto anything that wasn't essentially overflow. If you decide to get rid of any of those things that aren't sparking joy for you in your apartment--I'll be with you in spirit cheering you on! :)