As I gradually packed our belongings in preparation for our move, I realized that despite my commitment to purging, donating, and tossing items we don't need, want, or use, my home was too full. Cabinets and baskets and drawers and shelves were brimming with things I thought I held so dear. So dear that I often forgot about them...
Less is more.
Our new house is nearly four times the size of our previous home. I love the openness. When you're a mom of two little ones, you are being touched, bumped into, wiped on, etc. all hours of the day, which especially happens in a small home. I joke with my husband that it wouldn't matter what space we were in, it could be a football field, my girls would literally be on top of me. However, this home does yield the space I craved so often. My once very clingy Baby E has gradually begun to venture into what we're calling the Art Room and playing by herself. The moments where she is discovering and happily chatting to herself gives me a few moments to get something done or to catch my breath or to pluck a cup of tea in the microwave to help get me through the day.
So, in my new found commitment to truly honoring my craving for space and simplicity, I've made a few decisions that have made my home a better place for all of us.
1: No coffee table. I LOVE our coffee table. It's large, sturdy, and beautiful. However, it eats up space and has corners making it a hazard for two very active little ladies. The poor table has been retired to the basement for now. It's replacement has long been an ottoman on wheels that is safe, easy to move around, and versatile.
2: Limited accessories. I LOVE accessories. :) Picture frames, little bird figurines, art books, wall art. But it requires dusting, careful placement, and space. So I'm eliminating many of these items---either by storing them or selling them.
3: More sunlight. In our great room, we have five windows and a sliding door to the screened in porch. I'm only covering the dining area windows for night time privacy. Curtains are a tripping hazard (drapes) and a dust collector. Sunshine is our friend. Plus, more sunlight equals less electricity needed to light the house.
4: More participation from the Littles. Now that Miss E is old enough (3.5), she's helping fold washcloths, put her clothes in the dirty laundry, put her dishes by the sink (she's been doing this for over a year), and pick up large amounts of toys. Even though my type A self wants to do these tasks for her, as I'm much more quick and thorough, I am taking the time to teach her to do these things for herself and not correct it when it's not done perfectly. I don't want to raise entitled, helpless children. :) Baby E (who is going to be 18 months in a few weeks) picks up toys (with A LOT of encouragement and reminders) and brings things to me when asked.
I see many, many more years of laundry piles, stacks of dirty dishes, and toy tornadoes----all of which comes with mothering kiddos. I can easily manage these tasks each day. What overwhelmed me in my previous home was, I kid you not, simply looking and recognizing all the things that were around me---on the walls, on the floor, in the drawers, even the decorations on top of my cabinetry. All of this was under-appreciated and created more work than pleasure.
I thought I did well with my purging process, but after moving, I realize how very little we need to be functional and happy. I still love my little bits of decor---but truly, less is more. What was holding me back before? My fear that less stuff would make my house feel less like home. But I was wrong. We've only been in our new home for a few weeks, and we've had no issue settling in and making it our own, without all the stuff.
As summer quickly approaches and you are no doubt outdoors more with your family, take some time to evaluate your home. What is around you that is hindering your peace and simplicity? What is taking more than giving? What isn't working? What can you give away, sell, recycle, re purpose, or toss? What accessories mean the most to you? (Perhaps give yourself a number that you are allowed to keep or display at one time---and figure out what to do with the rest).
You don't have to tackle simplicity all at once (too overwhelming!), but trust me that you will find yourself feeling more peaceful with less.