Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Right now...

...I am knee deep in this book and this quote is being applied to everything under our roof.

Do not keep anything in your home that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful. —WILLIAM MORRIS

Everything in our house is currently being questioned for its usefulness.
I always seem to be involved in some state of "purge" around our house . I usually start strong, ruthlessly pulling things from shelves and out of drawers and manically cramming it all into any bag that will hold up to the rigors of my bag-closing methods. This typically involves jumping on the bag to squish all of the air out and then quickly tying off the bag so the air I just squished out does not try to regain entry. In the end it looks a bit like I just wrestled down a pot bellied pig and wrapped it in spandex. Why would anyone do this? One of the many questions I might ask myself. I do not know.

But no matter how strong I start with this [she puts her fist in the air and yells] "get rid of it all" idea, I never end in quite the same way. I get to a certain point and then one of two things happen. One, the feeling of waste not want not begins to swell inside and suddenly I begin to feel as though I need everything. The old work shirt should be cut up into rags. That little shirt should be repurposed into a dress for Addie or Carmel. The emblem on that t-shirt would really work well for a pirate costume for Owen. I begin to say things like, "Certainly I'll get around to reading that book sometime soon." Or, "waffles sound good. Maybe I will use that waffle maker." And on and on it goes until I have managed to pull everything back out of my spandexed pig.

The other thing that happens is this incredibly unreasonable feeling of sentiment and by unreasonable I mean, outrageous. Really! I want to know who is more sentimental than me. I have saved everything that holds meaning to me and everything holds meaning when you're me. There's the usual, ticket stubs from the family trip to the museum center or zoo. Reasonable. Then there are things like Owen's first bandaid or, wait for it...his first tick...I know [she holds her head in shame] . So tell me, who else in the entire world saves their child's first blood sucking insect? Mosquitoes? Anyone? Anyone? No, I thought not.

And so the question is, what am I learning from all of this and my new book? Well I am slowly, but often reluctantly, coming to believe that my life holds no more meaning with or without these things. These things are taking up space and creating clutter all around us. Our lives will be no richer if we continue to keep the waffle maker, the extra end table, the books we aren't reading, the clothes we aren't wearing or the three additional soup ladles littering the kitchen. If I can push past all the feelings that keep me holding onto things then I believe it will bring more peace to our lives as we move through our days together in this tiny little house of ours.

But if you think for a minute that I'm getting rid of those ticks, you are wrong. Did I say ticks? Ah yes, I have Carmel's first tick too [she laughs a scary spooky laugh]...I know. Useful? Beautiful? Well beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. The spandexed hog can go but the ticks are stayin' people!


  1. Oh Jaime... you never cease to amaze (amuse) me. Your blog is packed full of useful information, thoughts and ideas and then it's funny and entertaining too!

    My thoughts on this particular post... well I was thinking that luckily a tick doesn't take up much space - how lucky for you!!!

    Love reading your blog. Today I really needed some cheering up. Keep up the good work my dear friend.


  2. I like waffles.

  3. Love the post! Your pictures are always beautiful to view, but I have to say that I really enjoy hearing more words from you this time. You have that distinctly "Jaime voice" that is irreplaceable.

    Also love the topic. As you know, simplifying and organizing is one of my pet projects as well. And I relate to the feeling of conflict when deciding whether to get rid of something that might come in handy for another purpose, but have to agree that the freedom from too much stuff is priceless. You point out that "our lives are no more richer with all the stuff" and I agree and would even go as far as to say that without all the stuff our lives can potentially be MORE. It seems to free the spirit and allow more expansion of ourselves outward. For me, it has allowed me to touch the lives of others and do more outside of my home when I am not so weighed down by what is in my home and all of the stuff I have to take care of.

    Keep writing! Love it!