This past Saturday I was finally able to spend some time in my bedroom sorting through clothes, various Thanksgiving and Christmas decorations. It would be so nice if our bedroom was just our bedroom, but as we lack extra rooms and extra storage in this house our bedroom also serves as Jeff home office/studio, my scrapbooking and sewing room (ok, I don't really sew, but I have lots of sewing equipment) and until recently it was also Caedmon's room. Our attic access is also in our bedroom, so anything that needs to go up into the attic finds its way to my room until I can find the time to sort through and put it in the correct box.
I was able to get all the clothes that Aaron, Jackson and Caedmon had outgrown sorted and put up in the attic. The leftover Christmas and Thanksgiving items are now where they belong. I still have a huge stack of boxes of items to get rid of either through ebay, consignment shop, yard sale or giveaway. There are also several boxes in the attic to get rid off as well. I have kitchen items, homeschool books, young women's clothing, girl clothes, baby boy clothes including Robeez shoes and tons of other things.
In making out our chore charts I quickly came to realize that if I really wanted to have an orderly home I would have to first get rid of things. There are eight of us living in our home. We have been homeschooling for over 22 years and have accumulated a. lot. of. stuff. that we use. I am clearing out things that we haven't used in a while or things that no longer work for us. We have had children for almost 27 years and have accumulated lots of toys. Now, I am very picky about what kind of toys we bring into the house. Just ask my mother in law! ; ) At this stage in my life I have come to the conclusion that you can only have so many building toys. We have Legos, KNEX, Fischer Technic, Tinker Toys, Lincoln Logs, Waffle Blocks, Duplos, plain ole wooden blocks and wooden sets from Melissa and Doug. We even had giant Duplos but I have relegated them to the "get rid of" pile.
I also greatly dislike electronic toys or toys that make noises. In a house with many people there is always noise whether it be someone listening to a book on tape, an audio lesson, Christian talk radio, piano practice, violin practice or just some wild boys cutting loose. We just don't need any more noise. Really! Extra noises make my shoulders creep up to my ear lobes.
As soon as the weather warms up I would like to clean out our garage and install more shelving out there. The boys have been storing sleeping bags in the top of their closet, but I would like them stored away. Jackson likes to drag them all out and can't put them away without help. My solution is to put them out of sight where he can't get them. Then the top of the closet can be used for other storage. The boys have a good sized closet, but there are now four of them sharing it. Or they will be as soon as I find an extender rod or another shelf with a rod for Caedmon's clothes.
I have also decided we have way too many clothes. I have not gone shopping for clearance clothing this winter as I normally do. Jackson and Caedmon both have plenty of clothes for now and boxes for each size they will need as they grow are in the attic. All of the other children have many clothes hanging in their closets that they never wear. I cleaned out all of my drawers this weekend and threw away anything that was stained or misshapen or that I just never wore. My drawers now look nice, I can find what I need and can actually close them without any trouble. I keep my hanging clothes pretty well weeded out. Now if I can just talk Jeff into taking care of cleaning out his drawers. I may have to do that myself when he is out of town. He tends to be a packrat and hates to depart with anything. I do promise, though, not to burn anything....this time. (yes, I did burn a huge stack of astronomy magazines--with evolutionary content and notebooks of papers, etc that had been in the attic for 10 years and had not been touched since college or seminary days...except to move them....FIVE times).
Decluttering and organizing seem to be themes for me this year, This all fits into my goal to be more deliberate in my life. Making weekly menus for three meals a day, making lesson plans for five of the children, planning our food storage, working with Jordan to plan for our garden, making goals for our home to run more smoothly...I don't think it was in God's plan for us to live such cluttered lives. All the clutter that we accumulate (in physical items and in cluttering up our day with too many activities) takes away time and energy that could be spent in more meaningful time with our families and in a deeper relationship with God. It is my hope and prayer that as I declutter my home and my life that I will be able to focus even more time and energy on building better relationships with my family and deepening my relationship with God.