Wednesday, May 18, 2011

When Pigs Fly: Cleaning House

Never thought I would write this next sentence, but here it is: On Mother's Day, I cleaned house. Yep, that's right, pigs have flown.

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Crazy, right? But also freeing.

The Team Captain left at 9am on a weeklong business trip, and I didn't feel like braving the sympathetic small talk in the church lobby, so I took everyone straight home from the airport. I set them up with their own entertainment, and set to work organizing my kitchen cabinets. Culling, really. By the end of the day I had filled the back of my Explorer with donation boxes for the local mission.

You see, I am clearing out life clutter.

Do your possessions weigh you down? Mine tend to, especially when I can't keep them ordered and put away. To be honest, the state of my stuff reflects my mental state. And when the effort of managing my things makes me tired, it's time to take charge.

As a naturally disorganized person, I have found I need to set a few structures in place to assist me with pruning this weighty matter so I can get to the business of living. Perhaps some of these structures might help you, too.

The Accountability Factor

Homemakers Challenge - 31 Days to Clean

I found an amazing ebook, 31 Days to Clean, by Sarah Mae. And I found a blog sponsoring a Homemaker's Challenge, complete with a supporting Twitter community, going through the days of the cleaning project together. Community helps so much in attempting something new like developing housekeeping skills.

The first 9 days of the challenge walked me through cleaning out my kitchen, step by step. All I have left is the pantry, and I had just organized that a month ago. I am content to move on to day 10, in which I begin to declutter two living areas (we're not even talking upstairs yet. Baby steps here, folks).

Here's a link to another project to get you started cleaning, if you need a little kick in the pants. The community aspect of the project already happened, but it's great direction. I'm going through these five hot spots just as soon as I finish the 31 Days to Clean Project.

Simple Mom: Project Simplify

The Fantasy Motivator

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Lately we have started a running fantasy of someday selling our house, buying an RV, and traveling the nation for a year. Wouldn't that be fabulous?

We chronically have multiple crazy fantasies running, this is just the dream du jour. Another involves selling our suburban home and moving to the country to set up a homestead.

Whichever fantasy we ultimately choose to pursue, I have found I better enjoy cleaning house with that goal in mind. It provides me with motivation. I am calling it mock downsizing: pretending I have less space, and sharing my stuff I don't use with the local mission.

Pretty much the clutter-busting fantasy boils down to the fact that I don't want my stuff to own me. I want to be prepared and free to pursue whatever opportunity comes to me, whenever it comes.

The Survival Factor
I also think clutter-busting clarity will prove a critical factor to my success in homeschooling.  Between the Captain's work-from-home job, and me bringing all the kids home to school, we will be all on top of each other starting the end of next week. If we are all home all the time then we need order. All of us do.

And whether or not I relish the role, I am the key coordinator of the team. My job responsibility is to plan, organize, and implement consistency for the mental health of the entire family. And I can't do that until the chaff, the clutter, the chaos--whatever you want to call it--is whittled down to size.

I read this super inspiring post from Ann Voskamp yesterday, about homeschooling and living a one-piece life, and the importance of providing consistency to the kids in the 10-and-under years:

A Holy Experience: Why Would Anyone Be Crazy Enough to Homeschool?

So I'm on a clutter-busting bender. Make no mistake, it does not come naturally. But I'm so tired of being overwhelmed, and I am in a clutter-monster-butt-kicking frame of mind.

I am here to tell you, pigs can fly.


  1. This is great! I'm a decluttering craze right now too. Life is so much better without all that stuff! I love how you are going about it. The RV idea is a great one for motivation.

    In the past, we had a possibility of moving back to Australia...during that time I hardly bought anything! Because I knew I couldn't take it with me.

  2. Yes! I'm right on board with you and this post, Krista. Agreed on this: "To be honest, the state of my stuff reflects my mental state. And when the effort of managing my things makes me tired, it's time to take charge." Stuff shouldn't be taking up my brain space like it does, and so VERY often, I just want to get a LOT of it out of my house! Why have something when we haven't even LOOKED at it in a year, much less used it!

    You add wonderful encouragement to these communities, too.

    Great links in this post, too!

  3. Woo hoo girl! That's the spirit!! Now you got ME motivated all over again! :)

    I read that post by Ann - wasn't it wonderful. I need to have more consistency around here for my littles. I am SO bad about it. :( Maybe that will be our next challenge: Follow Your Schedule BOOT CAMP. Ha ha! :)
    Joyful Mothering

  4. Thanks for the inspiration and encouragement!! Interestingly, we share the same fantasy one-year trek around the country in an RV ~ maybe we'll meet up somewhere along the way! (if it ever happens!!)

    You're so right though ~ having a goal in mind, even if it isn't really related to the task at hand, is a good motivator. Thanks so much!!


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