(This post has been in draft form, slowly revised, for almost 6 months and I finally finished it after our month of May goals!)
This summer is year three in our home. And it’s also the longest we’ve ever stayed in a home. When we live in 4 new places in 7 years, we get used to things being in flux and being temporary. Never get too attached because we never know when we’ll move. Well, after I read The Nesting Place and Organized Simplicity, I realized I can embrace the home we live in no matter if we are renting or owning or staying for 1 year or 20 years.
The process? Ask two questions =
“What is the purpose of the room?” followed by an assessment of all the items “Is it useful? Is it beautiful? If yes, we’ll keep it. If not, ditch it.” We did this with every item, in every room, room by room. We’d take a room, empty it out, ask the questions and then redirect the room. We used and re-purposed what we already had, made minimal purchases, decreased clutter and excess, and embraced simplicity.
So here are our results!
- Purpose = We want our kids to learn and make a mess without worry or fuss, invite other kids to do the same, and encourage organization/clean up that was easy
- Useful Beautiful = Get rid of any toys that are one-use or non-creative thinking or just plain annoying/ugly/poorly-written-books. Arrange so they can be put away easily. Allow for rearrangement every month or so to promote new use and excitement. (ditch the extra toys or put in a bin downstairs to swap out later). (*realize this room could be re-purposed into a dinning room. or office. or anything else in the future).Living Room
- Purpose = We want a place for adults to sit and talk easily, and also somewhere to sit while watching kids play.
- Useful Beautiful = rearrange couches to promote conversation, simple homemade artwork to remember the world, boards with our sponsored kids to remember and also to involve our kids. (ditch odd colors walls and make neutral, ditch anything extra on shelves, keep only limited toys and books). (*this is an extra room. could be re-purposed to anything else in the future)Family Room
- Purpose = We want a place for dance-parties-puzzles-cuddles-wrestles-games with our family, place to celebrate with family and friends, another place to encourage learning with books/toys, guests can walk in and feel like they know our family
- Useful Beautiful = Get rid of orange walls and make neutral (also to promote photos), soft comfy rug for constant laying on, keep it open for play, ottoman to store blankets and extra seating, gallery wall that shows who we areMaster bedroom
- Purpose = We want peaceful sleep, a place to read/journal, and an overall peaceful environment to relax.
- Useful Beautiful = Neutral colors. Simple artwork. Darkening shades for naps. Open spaces for playing kids. Chair for journaling. (ditch the crazy mismatched colors, piles of random stuff).
- Purpose = A toddler place to sleep and read, also encourage him to get dressed on his own.
- Useful Beautiful = reading chair, move his clothes to the bottom drawers so he can pick them out himself each morning, place to keep books where he can reach/keep them, darkening shades and noise machine to promote sleep. (ditch all toys to avoid clutter/middle of the night tripping)
- Purpose = An infant/toddler place to sleep, nursing, diapers, storage of clothes
- Useful Beautiful = move rocking chair to the room, arrange room for easy access, keep only clothes that fit in draws with one extra age in the lower drawers, darkening shades and noise machine to promote sleep (*realize as the larger room, ethan and evy could share this room and allow for a guest room upstairs if needed)
We also did the Kitchen (ditch the extra 5 spatulas when I use the same 2 over and over, keep only the appliances I use more than once a season, etc). And the Entry Way (lower hooks for kids jackets, bins for him to dump his shoes into). And the Basement.
So we did it! And now I’m supposed to give it at least one year before making changes. Then we can reassess the “purpose” of the rooms again and adjust as our kid’s get older, changes in our activities, or hobbies, etc. And this can be all done without adding more “stuff” because it’s either 2nd hand or re-purposed or exchanged for something else. With young kids, stuff gets ruined and stained and messes galore, so it’s important to me that while we encourage our kids to be organized and pick-up and clean-up, they also need to be a kid and make mistakes and messes. I want guests to come to our home knowing that while we take care of our things, it’s just STUFF and it doesn’t need to be perfect….that their kids can be our home without fear of messing something up.
The process has been long and one-room-at-a-time, but the purging and cleaning has actually been so freeing! Even better, we’ve made our house OUR home now. And simultaneously allowed for an easier move if/when that time ever comes. So it fulfills both the desire to stay flexible, and also the deepening of our roots. I’m so thankful we have been given the means to provide a roof over our heads and a place for our kids to grow and learn. We are so blessed to have a house. This house (for however long it is ours) we now intentionally and simply call home.