The holiday season is officially over. How do you feel? Relieved? Energized? Exhausted? Depressed? I'm sure most of us feel a combination of several of these.
napkins from paper source last year! Now you can find them here .
Personally, I'm feeling crowded. Since we live in a 3-bedroom ranch that is (well) under 2000 sq ft, with 6 people, we try to keep our belongings to a minimum. Sometimes we succeed. Sometimes not so much. But no matter how well we've been doing at this throughout the year, it seems we start really drowning in the "stuff" after Christmas. This has always bugged me a bit. I'm not a great housekeeper naturally, so the more there is to pick up, the less often the house is in order. I like cleared surfaces, sparse shelves, and empty tables. At least that's the goal.
We have mentioned to our loved ones that we'd like to keep the gift-giving to a minimum, and I have to say, they have complied for the most part. But really, we have so many children now, that just a gift or two from each grandparent, and it's already too much. On top of that, Emma and Ethan both just had birthdays. Enter more stuff.
I started feeling anxious about it all sometime around noon on Christmas Day. By the 26th, I had posted on Facebook that the "Great Toy Purge of 2013" had begun. And it had. I went through every toy in each kids' room, the under-the-bed toy stash, the toys in the living room, and all of Emma's books. Then we found some things in the garage to give away. By the end of the 27th, we had filled up Donnie's truck bed to overflowing.
But guess what? I still feel like I'm in an episode of Hoarders. In the last few days, I have piled another truckload of stuff next to the front door. Christmas decor, wrapping paper, maternity clothes, fat clothes, skinny clothes (why do I have clothes in so many sizes!?), pots and pans I never use, craft supplies I haven't touched since before we moved here. Nothing is safe. I have to have some room to breath.
The crazy thing is that I'm not actually a hoarder. I actually don't attach sentiment to very many things. I love throwing things out, making space on a shelf, and focusing on the present. How did it pile up like this? I think part of it is that my life has drastically changed in the last 5 years. We moved from Indiana, where I had a whole basement to spread out and work on things. Then we moved here, where I used the third bedroom as a studio. Until I got displaced by Esther. And then Eli. And all of my "stuff" got sent to the garage. And part of the reason I haven't dealt with it before now, is that I thought I would get to it eventually. Maybe I was in denial about how much more time 3 kids would take than 2. And now with 4...well, it's time to be real.
I must have really been feeling crazy, because I suggested to Donnie that we go on a month-long spending freeze. On the surface, I know that probably doesn't seem connected to the "stuff" problem, but it is. Dealing with over-crowding, organizing, purging, and cleaning can be overwhelming, mind-numbing, and just plain boring. And I was afraid I'd take a nice trip to Target as a way to cope with the stress of it all. Why deal with pbj's when you can just drive thru somewhere...and the kids are buckled down for a few blessed moments. Escapism--a mom's best friend. But I cannot use escapist tactics to avoid this project. We have to make room. And we can't bring anything new into the house! We aren't looking to spend absolutely nothing this month, but nothing that is not totally necessary. For example, I'll be going to the grocery store, but only when I absolutely need to. My pantry could use a good purging, too. Where did all this soup come from??
So, have you had your post-holiday break-down enlightenment yet? Tell me what you're up to!