Since coming back from a wonderful camping holiday in early February I’ve been completely overwhelmed by life.
We walked through our front door and into a blissfully clean house that we’d taken the time to tidy before leaving (because there’s nothing worse than returning home to a huge mess!) but within 3 hours we were back in chaos.
Bags that needed unpacking, toys that had been instantly spread throughout the house, piles of holiday washing, the reality of returning to the real world. Cupboards were bare of food, lunch boxes that needed filling for kindergarten the following day, gardens overrun by weeds and plants dying a slow death in the heat. It was pretty clear to me within a day of returning that the relaxation that was achieved on holiday (minus the 10 hours a day that weren’t relaxing, such as the hours of the day my children weren’t sleeping!) that something’s gotta give.
I can’t keep on top of this without driving myself to further insanity.
I need to fix this.
I bought a book just before I went away called The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying by Marie Kondo.
The plan was to read it while I was on holiday. I had visions of relaxing back in my deck chair outside my tent, the book in one hand and a bottle of beer in the other (I momentarily gave up on the no alcohol policy because HOLIDAY) but that of course (duh!) never happened! In fact the book never even left my bag. In between the chasing children down the beach, carting them back under my arm while they screamed because the sand burnt their feet, the cooking, bug control and socialising, I just never got the chance!
Since I’ve been home the reality of home life has hit.
Too. Much. Stuff.
On top of that: Kids who won’t eat anything except carbs and processed food. Lunch boxes that quite frankly would appall anyone with a judgmental bone in their body because they don’t contain fruit nor vegetables in any capacity (sue me). So many freakin toys my children don’t play with ANY of them. Literally. No home baking because quite frankly I can’t be assed. In fact, I would quite like to curl up in my lazy boy chair and go on strike!
And I know for a fact I’m not alone.
Mums everywhere are exhausted and hot and at the end of their tether. I know this because I’m reading it all over social media!
Yesterday I finally found the opportunity to sit down and open this book that promises to change my life and I’m ready to take a crack at it. Charlene at Teacher by Trade, Mother by Nature (who I initially heard about this book from) is blogging her way through the book. Thankfully I can follow her journey and inspire myself to get through it! Because it’s pretty full on.
KonMari (the method she teaches in the book) promises to change your entire life. By removing the excess in your home and only keeping those things that you love your whole life will be renewed. It’s an interesting and provocative concept!
Let’s be honest, throwing out shit that cost money is hard! If you’re anything like me you can’t let go of the cost factor. You hate waste. I hate waste! I always think to myself that there are people who would get use from this, that or the other and so I load all my unwanted goods into shopping bags ready to donate, only to then find them piled in the corner of my bedroom for months on end! I need to just toss it out. Out of sight, out of mind right? If only I had a garage I’d have a garage sale! But I don’t. So I need to stop with the ‘but that cost me $20!’ even if it’s an item of clothing that no longer fits, looks terrible or just something that has never been comfortable and I never wear. Or an ornament that someone gifted me long ago that I don’t love, jewelry that hurts my ears, a candle I’ve never lit, a book I’ll never read (or one I’ll never read again), a toy that has never been played with, a blanket never used, clothes that are too small for the boys anymore and furniture that doesn’t fit in our house.
I want to make way for the NEW. For tastes that are my own.
And I want less shit so I don’t have to tidy up ALL DAY LONG. Ok, with kids I’ll still be tidying up all day long! Who am I kidding?! But at least it will be less to tidy.
Part of my problem (and probably the beginning of my clutter issue) is that when my mum died 13 years ago I ended up with tons and tons of her things. Clothes, books, ornaments, make up, furniture and piles of paper. Scrapbooks of her gardening, her crafts, her ideas, her yearly planner diaries, two novels she wrote (can you imagine the sheaf of paper that is?!), her tapes (yes, the old cassette tape type!), books full of poetry and artwork. She was an amazing artist so the pictures grace my walls with pleasure but a lot of the rest of it is just taking up space in drawers. Egyptian cotton pillowcases (the kind that you would never actually use because they’re adorned with delicate hand embroidery and probably cost an arm and a leg). Antique tea sets (I don’t drink tea!) and beautiful bowls and crockery. Don’t get me wrong, it’s beautiful stuff. Gorgeous even. But it’s not me. She loved things of beauty and she spent hours seeking things out. She went to antique shops like you and I would visit Kmart, endlessly searching for her next treasure. Of course, given the sentimental value attached I held onto it all. And some of it is likely worth a bit but I wouldn’t even know where to start attempting to sell it though I do feel her treasures deserve to be in a home where they are appreciated and loved. As a consequence I never really decorated my house with my OWN stuff and I don’t even really know what my own style would be because I’m surrounded by stuff that isn’t my own, so much so I have no space to put my own personal touch to it.
It’s apt that I decided I need to do this on her birthday.
For anyone who has lost a parent and gained possessions, it is a hard road to go down. First sorting and accepting ownership of things at a time when emotion is raw. Then realising years later that you have so many things that are not your own. That you don’t love like they did. But because they loved it it can be incredibly difficult to part with such items because in many ways, their energy is still attached to that item and you relate that item to them. And because you loved them, you hold onto the item.
For this reason I’m about to start the tackle on my own mountain of belongings first before moving on to her stuff. It’s a shame I quit alcohol because I’m pretty sure that would come in handy (alcohol lowers the inhibitions and I’m sure would encourage me to be ruthless!). I like the motto this book offers though. To hold each item in your hands and ask yourself ‘Does this inspire joy?’. If not, throw it out.
There is an order to the madness of KonMari tidying starting with clothes. Clothes will be easier … right?! One can hope!