About this time of year, I start missing the extra daylight, feeling a little restless, and I have the need to recenter. We make it through the holidays and there's no recovery time to organize the house, my thoughts, and the new year. This weekend, instead of traveling about the country side in a snow storm (which we like to do), we're staying home.
We have wanderlust spirits. It's hard to keep us in a place for too long. But, to be able to just pick up and go requires that the things are in order back home. Right now, amidst the actual snowstorm, life in general feels a little stormy because "there's just too much to do" is looming around the corner. Thankfully it's a four day weekend!
I call this time, when I feel like I need to break free from the mountain on top of me, a time when I can feel the wind blowing. I know that I need to get in to gear, so I can reset the things that are overwhelming, but I haven't hit the clutch just yet.
It's time to recenter, to reset the crazy - in my mind, in my heart, in my house. Flip that order.
. We collect SO many things during the holidays by way of wonderful gifts. Now that the littles aren't little, it's hard to find a perfect gift for them. What we're learning is that the perfect gift is an adventure, an experience, rather than a thing. Life's a work in progress, right?
Donations help us clean out the closets, both our actual closet disasters and our the proverbial skeleton type ones. There's no time for new year's resolutions until you can clear the clutter and muck. Not only are we adventurers, we tend to be collectors of things. Maybe someday that'll make the resolution list, but not this year. Because of this, we have to be intentional about what we're going to keep and what just isn't working for us. (This is quite a challenge when the better half is a farmer at heart and he likes to keep all of the things, because we may need it someday for a project...sometimes he's right). In short - we have to make ourselves reset when things feel too crazy and cluttered.
Rule of thumb? If you haven't used it in a year and it is not packed with memories that you will reminisce over with your grandchildren, you don't need it. (Whoa mama, the stare downs involved in this process - you may need a helper, like I do, to do this). There are great things with so much more life in them, that others will find fabulous uses for. Where you bring new life to your things is up to you - garage sale, donate
, gift to someone. The key is to get those things out - don't let them sit waiting to leave for very long.
Next up - paper. Put a hold on the paper insanity. Keep what you can't find digitally, get rid of the rest. Our refrigerator is a paper hoarder! Declutter. Reset. Throw things in to your calendar that are sitting around on post-it notes and handouts, so you don't forget the kids' deadlines, that kind of thing. I did not make time to do this with the school calendar this year. I cannot tell you how many surprise (to me) no school days we've had. It's January. I have now figured this out! We're about keeping it simple and baby steps over here, friends!
. Here in the midwest, it's been about four months since we could keep the windows open and let the breeze in. It gets a bit frosty in here when we open things up in January, so I do a little deep clean to get the dust out instead. Deep clean the places that you don't usually go. This is also a great time to toss expired and out of use things in the bathroom. Oh the products we buy and ditch, that take up residence under the bathroom sink! Buh-bye dirt that gets there somehow and its clutter, too.
Now, let's be real. I do not deep clean my entire house in one day. I choose one place that's been bothering me and get it done. Most often, this seems to be the hallway closet and under the sink - anywhere that's going to give you a sense of accomplishment and increased space will do it!
Once you get down to simple, those things you absolutely need, the hardest part is not filling the space with more. This is also a work in progress, so I haven't any brilliant nuggets to share, except that I must ask myself daily - do I absolutely need this? The answer is usually no, even when I really want to go to Target and just fill my cart in peace!
Take a day
. There's something to be said about feng shui. When the things are in order and the energy is flowing in your space, it gives you a sense of peace and motivation to allow that work for yourself. When our space is cluttered and busy, chaos tends to set in. If there's less around to make a mess, there are less messes. (Our teenager's bedroom is a prime example of this!)
In our house this means go through all the little trinkets, things we thought we'd use, ideas we thought would be good but meh, extra emails we don't need to receive, activities that stress us out, saying no to things that there just aren't time for - all the things. Reduce the things until it feels manageable to you personally. You'll know you've hit this point, because your spirit will start to wiggle into this little space of freedom and spread its wings. You'll actually start to feel lighter and I can promise you, you're going to want more of this!
Take a day to just be. It may not be a whole day, but you need a good amount of time to allow your body and brain to relax. I find that I need at least four hours. Two to goof around and kid myself, the other two to actually get down to it. A whole day by yourself is best, but is often like finding a four leaf clover.
You cannot do the day to just be until you've kicked some of the stuff, things, over-commitments, junk you don't need, things that do not serve you, people who bring you angst, out the door. Why? Your mind will continue to go back to those things and you will feel like you just can't find the time. Still, don't wait. There is no perfection in resetting. The goal is to make yourself a little space, so you can allow yourself the time to take a day.
Reflect on the work you want to do for you. These are also the things that bring you joy that you want more of. Celebrate your wonderful. It's so easy to get caught up in trying to be as good as or better than the next person. You yourself, you are enough. You are brilliant and accomplished just by being you! I promise. It's our own wacky that makes us an incredible piece of the life puzzle.
A little thought about the next person:
We don't usually see each other's imperfections and tribulations. We work really hard as a society to be perfect and to keep those imperfections stored away neatly (closet cleaning needed on 5th Street!) Not one of us is perfect. Trying to be perfect alone will make you crazy. So many of struggle with this. If you're fighting this battle right now, start small. Choose one thing to let go. Just one. Be graceful with yourself, you won't let it go perfectly. It's a continuum - some days you will rock it and other days, let's face it, you're just going to have to hit reset and start letting it go anew. Let it go a little at a time until it's gone. Then select another. Slowly the freedom, joy, peace factor will fill the spaces where the thing you let go used to be.
Here's one that's hard for me, but oh so important. When I forget to do this, I get in a rut. To restart myself, I go through the process. Donate. Organize. Find a little peace. Then...schedule one thing in a week for you. You are as important as the other things on your calendar!
Some weeks, the one little thing is a cup of coffee in the morning while the rest of the house is sleeping. It's tromping about in the yard barefoot. It's spending fifteen minutes to just feel the sunshine on my face and warm my bones (they are getting older, they need more warmth!) It's taking all the post-it notes and putting the many things we do into my calendar. It's making candles. It's taking a nap. It's whatever slows life down a bit, connects me to the earth, and allows me to come back to - I got this.
What works over here may not work for you. Take any small step that feels good to you today. You got this!