Saturday, March 14, 2015

Decrapification: Perks

The decrapification is still going strong in the Huber household! The more I do it, the more I love it, and the more I want to do. Here are a few reasons I'm digging this so much:

Spending Less  
I declutter something every day. It's always on my mind. I'm constantly thinking about what space I can attack next or which areas I can scour through a second time. It's almost become a hobby. So, whenever I'm out shopping, I'm thinking through this new filter. Instead of thinking about what fun thing I could buy to make my life easier or cheer myself up, I now think harder about what I truly need versus what is just excess and will eventually become clutter. If it is on the list, if I have a place for it, if I know for sure I will use it, in the shopping cart it goes. If not, I hold off. ( an effort for full disclosure: I have an inborn weakness for lip gloss, so there may be a little excess there...) So not only am I saving money on what I'm not buying, but I've also sold a few things that I have gotten rid of, so I've scored us a couple dollars along the way too. A win/win!

Involving Kids
We've all done it. We've all popped our kids balloons while they were sleeping or thrown away something of theirs while they weren't looking in hopes that they'd forget about it. The likelihood is that I will always do this in some way. But, instead of throwing away the mounds of artwork my daughter brings home from preschool on my own, I've started including her in the process. She gets to pick one or two pictures to keep and display, and the rest get recycled. And when the dentist visits her school and gives everyone a new toothbrush? We follow our new "one in, one out" rule and throw away a toothbrush before breaking out the new one. My hope is for my kids to learn stuff-management along with me, both for my sake and for theirs. Ideally, as they grow they will gain some perspective about how to navigate a society dominated by consumerism.

Things Have Places 
Piles, and stacks, and bins, oh my! I have so much junk floating around that doesn't have a PLACE to live in my house. These things either need to be purged or they need to find a home. Some of the major offenders in my house are photos, papers, and kids art supplies. They just float from surface to surface without a place to land - and drive me crazy along the way. That basket full of old magazines that were thrown away? That basket is now the place where crayons, glitter glue, construction paper and the like get to live. Voila! They are easily accessible when we want them, and easily tossed back in when we're done. Simple and neat. Woah!

Using What I Already Have 
I am rediscovering things I had long forgotten. I've learned that I buy WAY too much smelly stuff. Namely, scented lotions. Yes, I have dry skin, and yes, I love the pampered feeling of moisturized, good smelling skin. But once I gathered it all in to one place from being scattered around, I saw exactly how much excess I had. Enough is enough! I tossed some that I were old or non-favorites and started (gasp!) USING others that I'd forgotten about. Now the trick is to not buy anymore until I've used up a bunch of what I already have. It may sound strange, but there is something liberating about letting myself actually RUN OUT of something before I buy more of it. I've done too much buying "just in case".

How about you? Anyone else going through 40 bags in 40 days with me? Here's to cleaning out, throwing away, and moving STUFF out to fit in more LIFE! Happy purging!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Decrapification: Bringing Order to the Chaos

During my pregnancy I got the "nesting" urge as many women do. We want to prepare our little nests for our impending new additions. For me this came in the form of trying to organize different areas of the house. I decluttered a few small areas, but focused most of my attention on perfecting the nursery. I accomplished what I wanted to: hitting the "reset" button on a perfectly clean and prepped baby's room for our second child. It was soft, delicate, welcoming, and well lit. (Lighting has turned out to be a key element of a good nursery for me: it needs a dimmer switch so I can have however much light I want in the wee hours, and it also needs a good window with natural light so I can see OUT of my four walls into the "real world.")

The nursery project awakened something in me. In order to get baby things back IN to that room, I had to go through what was already there and move some things OUT. I began wondering what other things I could move out of my house. After all, when I went through the stuff in that room, I was being deliberate about what stayed and what went. I got to be choosy and intentional about what exactly I allow to live in my home with me. I was empowered! Just by throwing things away!

Fast forward to today. We are in the season of Lent - a time leading up to the Easter holiday. I was browsing my Facebook feed one day and came across this post about one person's Lent practice. The author's habit is to purge 40 bags of STUFF from her home during the 40 days of Lent. The "40 Bags in 40 Days" title alone grabbed me. Before I'd even clicked the link to read her post I'd decided I wanted to jump on this.

We are about a third of the way through and I am L O V I N G it! It has awakened something in me - something that desperately needed waking. It is as if I can sense tingling in a part of my heart and mind that used to be asleep. I am slowly remembering what margin feels like. I am being reminded that though there is so much of life that is out of my control and influence, there are things I can do to push against that. 

I can bring order to the chaos.

I used to have a corner full of old magazines, now I have space. I used to have makeup and beauty products overflowing from my bathroom sink. Now I have a clear counter top and empty vanity drawers. And I haven't missed any of it for a hot second.

If you have ever had a baby or been close to someone who has, you know how chaotic that first adjustment period is. My family and I are in the process of rearranging the furniture of our lives to fit in another loud, beautiful, growing, cooing, needy, lovely human being. Much of this journey is chaotic. There are so many meaningful, significant things happening and yet so little of it is quantifiable. When my husband comes home and asks me how my day was, I stumble to answer. I did SO MUCH. I hardly had a moment to stop and breathe or think or pee or eat, but I don't know how to articulate it all. It all blurs together into a long, messy day. Every day. All the time. This is why I am finding so much significance in this purging project. Not only can I bring order to the chaos, but I can keep track of how many bags I've purged, what I've purged, and I can write about it. 

I plan to blog through this process - which I hope lasts me through Lent and beyond. It's not too late to join me if you're interested! Trust me, the time and energy you spend on it will be more than worth it.