So I’ve been reading up on this method of home organization where you only keep things that delight you. Having recently gone through a cross-country move, I am here to tell you that this stuff works. Getting rid of the stuff that you don’t love is pretty amazing. It’s kind of amazing how free you can feel when you dump the stuff you don’t want or that adds stress.
I have noticed that my attitude and outlook on life is deeply affected by how much STUFF we have. 20 years ago it was paper clutter; but these days it’s shoes everywhere, dirty laundry piles taller than my head, mail on every counter surface…and NOISE! Oh the noise. The television would be on, three kids would be on their tablets playing games, the baby would be running around screaming, the water would be running as I did the dishes…the noise clutter really did me in.
When we made the decision to move from Florida to Washington State we made a conscious decision to get rid of the stuff. If we didn’t love it, we weren’t paying to ship it. There was some guilt at first. There was a little bit of anger. It was scary. Sure, I HATED that old, heavy couch with holes in it…but it was the only couch we had.
We got rid of the couch and something lifted. Then we got rid of the metal bunk bed set that kept our sons up all night because every time you rolled over it squeaked. The bookshelf that held junk instead of books, it found a new home. My beloved dog, who really did not do well with kids, was re-homed into an amazing family without young children so she could be happy and my kids wouldn’t be scared to open the door. The broken photo frames I kept because someone else who didn’t want them gave them to me, those went to an artist friend to become something amazing.
And slowly, ever so slowly, the peace came.
For the first time in many years I felt like there was hope. I spent almost 20 years of my life trying to accept that I am lazy, I’m just a bad housekeeper. I tried to convince myself that having children means I’ll live in a constant state of mess until they leave the nest. I tried to believe that there was nothing I could do to make myself feel better, this is just how it’s always going to be since I couldn’t afford to have someone else do the work for me.
The Art of Doing What You Love
As we slowly and methodically worked our way through 60 years worth of stuff (we inherited a lot of stuff from family) I saw hope for the first time in a long time. When we moved into our new home we had our first REAL new start. Sure, we’ve moved a lot but always dragging the STUFF with us…this time we didn’t have it. We didn’t have the STUFF or the negative emotions that come with it.
And while this has been amazing for our home, it’s been even better for my mind. See, I’ve felt so much guilt lately. I haven’t been keeping up with this blog or my homeschooling blog and it’s been bothering me. I have excuses, reasons, and some of them are even valid. I mean, raising a highly spirited toddler is HARD WORK. Homeschooling is hard work. Hell, sometimes getting out of bed is hard work.
When I started parting with the stuff I started realizing that my job (and yes, this is a job) was bogging me down. I was always looking for the next paid post, the best way to grow my Facebook page. How do I get more shares on Pinterest. What can I do about my crappy photography? I would see what other bloggers were doing and I would want to do that. How can I make my blog bigger? Bolder? Better?
I yelled at my children if they needed me while I was working on a post. I don’t want to yell anymore. I don’t want to tell my kids to “go play so I can work” anymore.
One day I sat down to talk to my husband about ending This Big Happy. I told him it wasn’t fun for me anymore. I lost my focus (challenging myself to live frugally) and with it I lost the fun. While I was trying to be bigger and better I lost This Big Happy.
You see, I am enough. This is enough. I don’t need to be another blogger. Let’s face it, everyone is blogging these days and each blogger is going to have something they’re good at. Some are good at writing posts that elicit emotional responses. Some have recipes so good I want to roll around naked in them. Some feature amazing photography. Some have ebooks that outsell James Patterson novels. And once in a while a blogger will have ALL of that…and they also have a team of people working for them because making even one of those things happen is a huge time commitment.
So, from this day forward I have a new focus…REAL. Stay real. Stay real with my crappy photography (the good photos are ones that I purchased, LOL!) Now, I still gotta pay the bills (this blog costs me about $30/month to maintain) so there will still be sponsored posts from time to time, and I’m working on an ebook a lot of people have asked me for, but if something isn’t causing me joy I’ll stop.
Love. I’m going back to what I love and getting rid of the rest. I won’t get rich and I probably won’t get super popular, but I’ll get the happy back.