Thursday, April 19, 2007

Day #4

So, today is Day #4, and I'm really in the thick of things. Yesterday, I finished the kitchen. Now, for those of you who don't know me well, and have not been to my house, I hope I'm not painting an uglier picture than it is. While I'm not the Martha Stewart of my neighborhood, I do have a fairly orderly home, and nothing is so dirty as to be declared uninhabitable by the health department (well, maybe son #2's room, but he's 13 and it's mostly the sock odor that's hazardous.) It's just that I can't remember the last time I did a good spring cleaning and had the whole, well most of, the house clean at one time. Really dug into the corners, cleaned the blinds, that kind of thing. So this week has been therapeutic in a way. Even though I'm only half way there.

Today, I slowed down a bit and have been working in my office. My goal has been to remove stuff, clean and then put back less than what I had, getting rid of the rest. It's a bit daunting. Sometimes I wished I lived next door to Jungle Mom, because I'm sure there's no way on earth she has the room and had the luggage to take as much stuff as I have, all the way to Venezuela. I'm reminded of Anne Lindbergh's Gift from the Sea, a book that every woman should read and have a copy in her possession. I long for a home with bare floors, little furniture and no curtains on the windows. So few posessions that, by merely shaking the rugs and taking the broom to it, it would be clean. I wouldn't mind living by the ocean, either. Anne's book, which in a nutshell talks about trying to live simply in a world full of distractions and material things, and finding one's center, is one that I've read several times through various stages in my life. Each time, mysteriously, there's a message there that wasn't the time before. She talks about her Martha-like anxiety of keeping house. ( I would probably do well to have a bit more anxiety about it, and then I wouldn't find myself in this predicament.)

I guess what I'm really working toward this week is the goal of simplifying what I have. I realize that my house isn't going to be immaculate all the time, and I would be a crazy woman if I tried to keep it that way. Besides, materialism isn't just the accumulation of "things", but the importance that you place on those things. You can have a minimal amount of "stuff", but if it occupies your every thought and moment, it's worse than having a ton of stuff and not attaching much importance to it.

So, in simplifying my home, my hope is that I will have more time to nurture the people in it (including me), rather than trying to nurture all these "things." One way to simplify is to get into a routine for housekeeping -- I was so far behind, I didn't know where to begin. Marcia Cilley (aka the "FlyLady" at, has a wonderful plan for this. Her program in FLYing stands for Finally Loving Yourself -- that is, enough to take care of yourself and bless your home by caring for what's inside it. She teaches "babysteps", so it's not so overwhelming as it sounds.

So, unlike Anne who took off to a cabin at the beach for two weeks to find her center, I've been digging around for it right here at home. I know it's here somewhere, I just need to clear out a couple more boxes of junk!


Christie Belle said...

I agree, it is almost therapeutic to have an immaculate house. To know that everything is CLEAN! A sense of accomplishment. I like your idea of simplifying your home. Simple can be so sweet.

Tristi Pinkston said...

I love the Flylady!

We recently moved into a trailer home after living in a house-house for eight years. In order to make everything fit, I went through and threw away scads and tons of stuff. Now the only stuff we have is the stuff we love and the stuff we use all the time. It felt wonderful to just get rid of so much garbage, and you know what? We haven't even once missed all the stuff we threw away. It's been wonderful.

Becky said...

My husband recommended that book for me a couple of years ago. I think I am going to take him up on it NOW, since yours is the 2nd blog today that has recommended it. Thanks for that. I am getting ready to retire and simplify. Happily!

Cup O' Joe said...

Thanks for stopping by my place today (and don'tcha just *love* that Barb?!)! :)
Funny thing: I almost named my new blog "Over the Fence." We must have similar personalities. :)
I'll have to come back when I have more time & read more of your cleaning/simplifying journey. Another similarity for us: I'm in the process of doing that to our house. It's just moving a little slower than I'd like.
Have a good weekend.
And do visit again soon.

Barb said...

You already know that I consider Gift From The Sea to be the most meaningful book I've ever read. You described what's she's saying perfectly. I've lived by that credo for years. It's so liberating to free ourselves of the clutter and the "things" that don't mean anything.

This is a wonderful post. I get on that spring cleaning tear, too, twice a year actually, and it almost kills me every time. But once I start, I simply cannot stop until I know every square inch of this house is clean. It's exhausting but it's so worth it.