Wednesday, March 9, 2016

How Tearing Our House Apart is Helping Put it Back Together

We're ripping up our carpet, and this process requires us to move floor items out of the house.  So far I have loved everything about this situation: the opportunity to swing a hammer daily after toddler tantrums(at nails, not toddlers), removing many of our possessions and storing them somewhere else, the overall lack of things in our home.  I believe this opportunity is finally going to be the push I need to finish the tidying project.

My plan is to remove everything and just not bring most of it back in the house.  At first I thought this would be hard. Surely the kids are going to notice that almost all of their toys are gone and ask about them, right?  We're four days in, and Sam has been to the garage looking for a toy exactly once.  No one else has noticed.  The house is cluttered from the overall process of pulling up carpet, but the new solution is to throw the clutter in the garage to be sorted at a later date.  If no one has asked for or missed an item, then that item will be gone.  Easy peasy.

In the beginning I felt guilty about this plan.  It's true that D and I will also be getting rid of items we don't need, but we already choose to live fairly simply.  The majority of mess in our house on a regular basis comes from kids' clothes and toys, which means the items not making their way back into the house will primarily be the kids' items.  After talking it over, we decided we're moving forward with this plan anyway.

We talk to our kids a ton about living simply and being grateful you have what you need.  They receive an allowance, and they are allowed to spend a portion of it on items they desire.  One of my proudest parenting moments came a couple of weeks ago when Wren decided to spend both her giving and half of her spending money to support missions through AWANAS.  I think Jesus was the motivation behind this decision, but there is also a competition between the boys and girls to see who can bring the most money.  The winners get popsicles.  So the motivation was Jesus or popsicles.  Anyway, this was awesome and makes me think they may be grasping the message that they already have enough, more than enough to share.  However, they don't particularly take great care of what they have.  They are givers but could just as easily go down the road of constant consumerism given how blessed they are and how surrounded we are by things, especially since we live in an area putting in a $15 billion dollar stretch of retail in the next few years.  I think talking may not be enough.  It's time they live with less and just take really good care of what they have, because I think they will enjoy what they have more and understand truly that they are not, and have never been, in true need.

We're not being legalist about this, but we are trying to be practical.  Why keep items you neither need or take joy in?  Why hoard?  Our house holds six people, and after we get the floors done, I plan on moving never.  That means it's important to sift through possessions to make sure space is being used wisely.  It's important to learn that things aren't the source of true happiness.  It's important for me to stop stepping on small plastic toys in the middle of the night and then having to bite my tongue to avoid using profanity.  All of this is necessary.

I'll post updates on how successful this plan is.  D recommended last night that we throw everything away except the furniture and just see how that goes for a couple of weeks.  In a strange switch of roles, I was the one who told him that seemed a bit extreme.  However, I'm not ruling his plan out completely.

Hall destruction

Bedroom destruction
In between floor duty, books I'm reading.

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