making space

A subject of much frustration to me is the state of my home.

As I have mentioned before I live in a one room “apartment” above my parents 2 stall garage. If you can imagine how large the second floor of a garage might be and then cancel some of that space out with a sloped ceiling over half of that space, that is the amount of space our family of four has to reside in. Granted, we share space with my parents during the day, and spend time outside. But all of our possessions are either crammed in a small space with us (kitchen/dining, bathroom, and bedroom complete with beds and dressers) or in a store shed in the yard.

Currently construction is making its way to completion, when finished will give our family 2 actual bedrooms which makes me super super happy. No more having to leave the house as soon as bedtime comes around so we don’t keep the kids awake!

In the meantime though, I am faced with making space where none exists. This means when friends give us gifts, or pass things on to us (ever so sweet and kind of them) that is another item desperately desperately searching for a home. In fact, half of the girls’ toys hang out at my parents’ because we simply cannot fit them in our home. This means finding creative places to store our food. This means entertaining friends outside or at my parents’ house, or not entertaining friends at all.

Most of my recent studies on dominion and stewardship have only made my desire for space all the more fierce! I don’t have control over where I live, so I should practice control and responsibility over what I live in or among. In some ways this is much easier than I expected and I find myself wondering why I haven’t purged my possessions before! In other ways I find it so hard. Though I have so much more space than I did just last week, I still look around and think to myself, “Why do I still have so much stuff?!

Stuff.

I don’t want to have stuff.

I want the things I own to reflect Joe and me, our family, and our values. The things we own should have a purpose and not just be really cute/awesome clutter.

I even gave away yarn. I threw away pens. I have 3-4 trash bags of clothing and toys to give to charity. I recycled empty cardboard boxes and gift bags.

Then I had a yard sale.

I was so proud of myself. I had filled the truck  we are trying to sell full full full of items I deemed worthy to sell. Then finally I thought I was ready to have a huge yard sale. I was super bummed out when my items only filled 2 tables. In my defense I didn’t have any large furniture items to sell, but it doesn’t really draw a huge crowd when you don’t look like you’ve got a whole lot to get rid of.

I know I must have more to get rid of! Why can’t I seem to figure out what it is instead of letting it be there suffocating me!?

Are you a minimalist? How do you recognize the things you want out of your life?

on being minimalist

Let me start off by saying that this post, contrary to what the title states, is not a how-to on being a minimalist. Nor will this be a post on my decision to become a minimalist. While I respect minimalism, and I also respect people who have a natural inclination toward minimalism, I am not that person. I don’t wish to become that person either.

I do wish to unclutter my life though. I wish to unclutter my brain, my heart, my home, and my storage space.

With Joe in barber school we are posed with the challenge to find creative sources of revenue. Obviously our garden and home-grown meat will supplement our food budget nicely. We have a little bit of savings to work with, so that is a great blessing. But we also don’t have a whole lot of wiggle room for the unexpected hiccups that come our way financially.

Recently we have had to get some unexpected car repairs. Nothing major, but still pricey.

Reflecting on my recent posts and studies on dominion, I am considering all the things we have hanging around taking up space and rarely (or never) being used. Maybe I have some things to sell. Maybe I have things to toss. Maybe we need less “stuff” and more simplicity. I need to be a responsible keeper of my home, not constantly collecting “stuff” that I don’t need, use, or can’t fit into my space (which happens to be super tiny).

As I said, I am not a minimalist, nor do I wish to be. I am a realist with children. I want my children to have imaginations and learn to play on their own. But I also wish for them to have lots of books, art, music, and whatever outlet for creativity their personalities direct them. Which means that I will need to have important clutter in my life sometimes. But I need to learn the difference between what is important and what is just clutter.

Which brings me to minimalism. I love how the minimalist thinks!

I have been online looking for examples of questions the minimalist asks him/herself. At this very short season of my life I need to think like one if I am to rid my life of all my clutter. These are the questions I plan to ask myself:

  • Do I use it?
  • Do I need it?
  • Do I love it?
  • Will I miss it?
  • Does it have a home?
  • Is it broken?
  • Can it/will it ever be fixed?
  • Can someone else use this?

I am only working on my mess and my kids’ mess. I am hoping that by doing this Joe will at least be able to figure out what he owns as it tends to get buried in the rest of the family’s mess (sorry honey!).

Getting rid of the things that are taking up space and not being used is part of being a good steward of my home. My home is not my own space, but a space I share with my family. My family should be able to enjoy that space and not be crammed or cramped inside of it (if it can be helped). I don’t want to be embarrassed by my “stuff” or ashamed to have friends over because I can’t keep my mind off my own clutter.

It’s still a work in progress. I’m chipping away a little bit at a time. I pray that eventually I am pleased and God is pleased with the condition I am keeping the home He has loaned to me for the time being. I pray I will learn to be faithful with the little he has given me.