"First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do" -Epictetus
I've been thinking a lot about this quote lately. The calendar says it's spring yet the weather is dark and dreary and yesterday it snowed and rained and hailed and then snowed again. I can't seem to focus or sit still long enough to complete any making. Instead I feel the need to clean, to declutter, to donate and toss.
Back to the above quote. I want "to be" a mama who spends time reading, talking, playing, and walking through the woods with my children. I already do these things but i also spend a lot of time caring for "stuff." So what I "have to do" is keep my home free of stuff that needs washing, dusting, tending to or picking up - this will give me more free time to spend doing those things I find important.
For the past week I have been cleaning out drawers and closets and donating any clothes that have not been worn in the past year. I feel a bit more free with each to-be-donated bag that is loaded onto the minivan. I go quickly before I can change my mind because the rational me knows that I will not miss any of these items. I am sure of this because many of the donated things are items I considered letting go of last year but figured I would find a use for them. Well guess what? I didn't. I never wore the cute brand name jeans that never fit me quite right and caused my stomach to stick out. (Alright, it may not have been ALL the jeans' fault but you know what I mean) I'd rather wear the same two pairs of jeans (with a white cotton tee from Target + a cardi) everyday and look lean and put together than wear a hundred different outfits that make me look frumpy and cause me to feel less confident. Actually, I'm wearing more clothes now because I rediscovered several shirts that were buried behind all the stuff I never wore and I have lots of empty hangers for a few new Spring items. But I have no plans to go shopping any time soon because those bare hangers are making me oh so happy. Happiness really is in the little things - or in the lack of little things.
I've cleared books off my coffee table (bench, really) which, of course, encourages kiddos standing on and jumping off said coffee table-bench. But that is all part of the carefree play that is in the "what would be" part of above quote.
I also put away pillows and quilts that adorned the couch. These inevitably ended up on the floor, collecting dog hair and dust bunnies (I have no idea where these come from as bunnies are about the only pet that we don't have), and causing my kiddos to trip as they race through the family room. All this caused this mama to reprimand said kiddos so I did "what I have to do" in order to achieve the "what I would be."
Even my husband noticed that two lamps were gone and asked why they didn't make the cut. For a brief moment I questioned whether I had cleared out too much or left too little. Maybe I had created a home that was so bare bones that even my guy - who rarely notices such things - realized that we were living with less. But no, I had not cleared away and donated too much - I took away just the right amount of stuff to create a home where the unnecessary clutter was gone and what was left had room to shine - and that was what greg noticed.
Yes, my home is pared down to the things that we need and love. Things that did not serve a purpose had to go - i'm sure that someone perusing my local thrift store right now is seeking a red glass lamp and will be overjoyed when she comes accross the one I donated. I feel like a giver - which sure beats feeling like a hoarder!
For extra clearing out fun I went through each of our sock and underwear drawers and pulled out items that were worn or didn't have a match. You don't need to know this but I kept only four white bras - the ones that looked good under white tees and only the underwear that I actually wear. This really is too much information for a crafty blog but if this helps someone out there clear the excess clutter out of their homes then so be it.
Since I cleaned out all the excess I am able to breathe deeper and feel less stressed. Plus I have more room for flowers and more time to enjoy them!
And for moments when you feel like this, I will leave you with one of my favorite quotes:
"Out of clutter find simplicity; from discord find harmony; in the middle of difficulty lies opportunity." -Albert Einstein