Organized Simplicity

2020 has started out with a bang. There’s always something deafening about hitting a new decade. I’m not sure if it’s the realization that everything and everyone is aging (for the better) or that it’s another year of uncertainties. The past five years have taught me many valuable lessons, including having complete faith in God. (Easily said than done some days.) But as this year started with several life-altering events, I have taken each one with stride while learning that God desires for me to be in this place and at this time.

With the beginning of a new year and the desire to organize, as organizing tends to be more of a hobby for me than scrap-booking, I decided to jump in on The Organized Simplicity Challenge with Kathryn Whitaker and Stephanie Weinert. (I saved a few of my Instastories if you desire to see me suffer through the challenge.) Yes, I love to organize and this is the third time I undertook the challenge, but this was the first time attempting such a demanding task while homeschooling three children, with two other little ones running around. Let’s just say that my organization times were late into the evenings and into the weekends as our schoolwork always comes first. But it was a good lesson for me. Maybe several good lessons.

I have learned that no matter how much we have become comfortable with a task, there will always be unforeseen circumstances that slow out progress. But that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Teaching my children, caring for my family, and running people to activities has it’s importance. And as much as I would absolutely love a perfectly organized house that isn’t my season in life right now.

So, I completed the Organized Simplicity Challenge. Maybe not to the level of my person expectations, but I tried my best in my season of life. And it is better to have tried, pushed through the tasks, than not to try at all. Those of you who desire to undertake an intense purging challenge, this is for you! Even if you don’t believe you have the time or energy, you may prove yourself wrong – while potentially teaching yourself a very valuable lesson in the process. Purchase the book, Organized Simplicity by Tsh Oxenreider, here!.

A Whirlwind of Transitions

The past year has been a continue stream of transitions for our family. From the decision to prepare our house to sell last spring to now being in the final stages of building, it has been a total whirlwind. I am grateful for the many, many ups and several downs (as every situation is a learning experience), but through the entire process, I have come to one very concrete and meaningful conclusion for me. It was something that I knew all along, but sometimes (and only sometimes… kidding…) I need a refresher.

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Credit: DMHeckenkamp

Do you want to know my eye-opening experience? It’s really very eye-opening, but after learning to adjust our living style during the purging/packing process, the selling & “staging” process of our home, to the moving, and now the second purging/packing attempt before we move into our almost built home – yes, there has been a ridiculous amount of time spent “getting rid of stuff”. I have come to really dislike unnecessary “stuff” – the things that hold us back from what truly matters, our family and friends.  I have come to truly appreciate the time I have with my family and friends – shamefully, I took that for granted. I am grateful for the time we spend together as we laugh, play games, read, or even clean together. These memories make the days worthwhile even if it’s while we accomplish the most meaningless tasks.

I did have to laugh today as I was listening to the Jennifer Fulwiler Show on Sirius XM while she briefly spoke with Rachel Balducci about organizing and dealing with the “hoarders” within a  family. There are definitely a few hoarders within my family too. In fact, when my daughter was young we would call her the “bag lady”, because she would carry bags of clothes and toys around for fun. She even had a specific bag for her tissues, just in case her nose needed to be wiped (that was her idea, not mine…).  My children have reached a point that if they can’t find a toy, then they assume “mom gave it away”. (I honestly can’t remember everything I give away versus toys they misplace…) At first their comment made me sad, but they quickly moved onto another toy, just as adults move from “toy” to “toy”.

The moral to my rant is rather short and sweet. Through these many “transitional phases” I have experienced over the past 12 months, nothing in life is worth its’ value, except the hearts and souls of the people placed in our lives – particularly of our family and close friends. The purging and hoarding doesn’t mean anything if we continue to purchase more items to fill a void. Happiness cannot be found in this life among these growing piles of “junk”, the piles only encourage us to purchase books about cleaning, organizing, and purging. Then we end up with a mini library of such related books.

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Credit: DMHeckenkamp

 

Our society has become so absorbed with organizational skills, yet we honestly don’t have much to show for the past several years of these Best Selling books attempting to give advice. Instead of focusing solely on items, we need to focus on ourselves and what we are lacking – not in a material sense, but in a spiritual sense. Do we find solace in material goods due to our loss of personal relationships? Or maybe we search so long for comfort and peace that we fail to look inside ourselves. In a culture that is so self-absorbed, we have failed to examine ourselves in the most crucial way – within the confines of faith, hope, truth, and charity. I think it’s time that we put down the countless advice books relating to emptying our homes and start by reading a book that will let us open our hearts to those around us. For this world will continue to suffer if each one of us chooses to focus on our material items rather than our interior lives. So let’s agree to “purge” for the last time and instead, let’s create a home where we can grow together as a family and open our hearts to our neighbors and friends who search to fill a void with the useless “treasures” of this earth – for no everlasting can be found here.