Sunday, October 25, 2009


I am simplifying. (Or trying to.)

Several things have lead to this.

Over the course of the last few weeks, I've been reminded how short and precious and fragile life is. In an effort to embrace that realization, and drink up every moment with my children, I let the house go.

That was last Monday.

T was off the next two days and loves it when his off days can be treated like the weekend. (Who wouldn't?) But, by Wednesday, I was loosing it. Insanity was creeping in. Stuff was everywhere. Order was nowhere (T doesn't think it was so bad, but everyone's tolerance level is relative I guess). I knew I couldn't take it anymore.

My kind husband agreed to lead the charge in taking back the upstairs. (That means supervising the children while they restore some semblance of order.)

Twenty minutes (if that) into the process, he came downstairs utterly frustrated. Evidently the children were crying and pouting and complaining about cleaning up. I'm not sure what the deal was. They never do that when I make them clean up.

And my house, well let's just say I am the only one who is really passionate about how clean and orderly it is, and that's okay. But, I am struggling to keep it that way. To function well, I need it orderly. That also eliminates a lot of chaos, frustration, and hurt feelings. (Like when MW can't find her other shoe and we are already running late and then her sweater isn't where it's supposed to be...of course, I am always gracious and patient and never get frustrated or speak without thinking or make her cry or feel like she might get left...) There's a struggle with order, but also with general cleanliness...bathrooms and the like. (A two year old boy is rough on a bathroom, but you already knew that.) I mean, 24 hours can only be divided in so many ways by so many people.

I'm in the process of the great seasonal clothing switch-aroo...and the grands, as well as some very kind friends, have sent over bags of new clothes for the kiddos, for which we are GRATEFUL! The tubs are out and the piles are stacking (but mostly falling over). MW's closet is so full of clothes I can't jam another thing in there. (What a great problem to have!)

Okay. So, my point is this. I'm struggling to keep my house clean (I joined FLY Lady this weekend) and it is overrun with stuff. We have a lot.

Last night, I did something crazy. A mini, non-permanent purge. I pulled every item out of MW's closet that I wasn't just crazy about. I figured if I got her down to 15 outfits, that would be plenty. Do you hear me people? 15 outfits. That's a GRACIOUS plenty. I'm embarrassed for you to read this. (Most has been given, by very generous family and friends - THANK YOU!)

So I purged and counted...more than 15, but it's a start. I hung the extras in a closet we don't use often. I just want to see how our lives change if we simplify. It can be undone, but for now, her closet feels so much better...not to mention I can SEE what's in there! (And I'm crazy about every outfit!!!) I also felt a great weight lifted.

All of this got me thinking. What if I simplified all around? You know, less stuff. By all means, keep that which we use and that which is special or sentimental, but the other stuff...what if I let it go? (Like, how MW had TWO pink furry coats in the same size, both given to us. I held onto both in case, well, just in case...I guess just in case one got dirty or ruined or lost or something?!) I mean, is that really being a good steward with the blessings we've received? Or is that considered HOARDING. I'm thinking the latter. (And the worst part is, she can only wear one at a time.)

I just want to live a little more simply. Less choices.

I have a feeling we aren't going to miss those outfits that have been exiled.

Sometimes less is more.

And sometimes letting go is hard.

Please, don't misunderstand me. I am so thankful for the abundance God has richly provided for us. The generosity of friends and family has been amazing and humbling. In the same ways that they have been so generous to us, I'd like to be generous towards others, as well. With MC standing to inherit those items MW outgrows, and with the grands having such fun picking out clothes for the kiddos, I've prayed about it and feel convicted. We need to begin passing on the things we aren't totally in love with. We need to be generous givers, just as we've been generously given to. Like, we'll be passing on a pink furry coat in a size 4(Katie, let me know if MT wants it).

I hope this all makes sense. I feel like I rambled and I want you to read my heart on this. We are so thankful. And to the fam, don't worry, we're holding on to those special outfits that get passed around. :)


  1. Okay, this post was just what I needed to hear. You know how I blogged recently about all the sin in my life? Well, a LOT of it has to do w/ my OCD and ridiculous expectations for my home. I can related to everything you said's so hard to "let it go." Oh, the hours I spend picking up and cleaning and organizing. I am sore by the end of the day from all my work! And, for what?! I'm encouraged. Thanks for sharing!

  2. J, you and I are so on the same wave length it's starting to scare me. More than once we've been dealing with issues in our home and family and I log on here and you've blogged about the same thing! It's weird...but refreshing that I'm not the only one who deals with these issues!

    I think you're right on track and that simple is wonderful!

  3. I think that is a very wonderful thing to do. Emma just got a HUGE bag of hand me downs from a neighbor-all name brand, nice, newish stuff! But, so much stuff, I don't have room in her dresser or closet-this coupled with the fact that she already had TONS of stuff since she is our first child and the first grandchild. I don't really need all of that, not when others have so little. Great post, very inspiring, as usual! You have such a good heart! Your children will certainly see this and mimic it. Way to Go!

  4. Go for it! You are doing great!! SIMPLIFY is my motto...for EVERYTHING!! I love reading your posts...they are inspiring and real...I feel like you are becoming a friend. :)


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  6. J -
    I heard this tip in line at Belk and thought I'd pass it along, since I'm oh-so-organized and I collect tips like dust. When you change seasonal clothes, hang them backwards or fold them differently from the way you usually fold them. Then, at the end of the season (or other specified time period), what's still hanging backwards or folded differently gets given away b/c you haven't worn it in a season. You can't argue with it. We're in process, but I'm realizing how little I really wear. Good for you!
    love you,

  7. I love purging. I never regret having less and really appreciating the things we keep.

    Great job this week!

  8. Yay J! I am kind of prompted to clean out my things every time we move, but sometimes I think that I could do it more. I think the same thing: "i might use it someday" or "just in case". There's a song that says, "Tis a gift to be simple, 'tis a gift to be free" and it's so true! I'm excited to see what you're doing, and am noticing more and more with all these typhoons just how much I have that others don't.
    As for cleaning your house, I think that our God is a God of order so I wouldn't be too stressed with that. :) I understand how excessive cleaning can get, but I think when a house is clean, the family members are happier, more obedient, and energized. I have noticed when our house is cleaner, people aren't as grumpy... :) So it's not as bad as everyone says (in my opinion.) Anyways, now I'm rambling. Miss you, J! Keep up the good work on purging. Love ya!