January 24, 2013

what i'm thinking about :: simplifying

When I first got married and registered for all of our kitchen and house needs, I had no idea what I liked.  I had no style.  I was just dirt poor and people were giving me things I needed.  Everything we bought and registered for was the cheapest possible, because we were fresh outa college (well, I was still in college).  This was also a time where my wardrobe consisted of college sweatshirts and jeans.  Trust me, my tank and cardigan look from today is a tremendous improvement.

My style screamed college student on a budget.

Somehow, this resulted in me having a mostly red living room.

I really don't like red.  I have no idea how my living room color became dominantly red.  Because I've never liked it.  But, we have a giant red rug in our living room.  It was the cheapest rug we could find, so there you have it.

As I've grown up a bit, and as we've become a bit more established career-wise and financially, I've started focusing on the type of atmosphere I want to create in my home.  A place that is peaceful, joyful, has walls filled with memories and scripture, and allows for my kids to be kids while still reflecting my grown-up style.  I can tell you it doesn't involve a red rug.

But, we plan to move soon.  So, I don't want to re-decorate a house I don't intend to live in for more than a year or two.  But I'm making slow changes and adding more me into the little things.

Such as, dishes.

I got some pretty white dishes from my Mama for Christmas.  The kind that go with everything and have a fresh clean look.  As opposed to the brown, tan, and red dishes I had before (seriously with the red!)  And truth be told, about 42% of my old dishes were broken, cracked, or chipped in some way.  I welcomed the replacement.  (And everyone in the household knows to be extra careful with these ones.)

But, I only received one set to begin with.  I had to wait a couple weeks for the rest.  Still, I eagerly packed away my old dishes and filled my cabinets with four new bowls, plates, and coffee mugs.

And let me tell you, those four little place settings taught me a lesson.

We don't have a dishwasher, so I don't know why this never crossed my mind before.  Having an unnecessary twelve place settings leaves room for a lot of dirty dishes and a lot of clutter.  Suddenly, only having four place settings, the clutter was gone.  I was forced to use less, wash more.  But the washing took almost no time at all.


I know this isn't rocket science.  But this little example hit it home to me that less is more.  Simplifying makes room for more peace.  Less chaos.

I've now decided that I'm going to take this approach as I think about creating the atmosphere of my home.  Simplify.  When the rest of the dishes came in, I left one set in storage.  A family of four with two who do not use Mama's favorite dishes do not need a set of twelve in the cabinet.

Also, when I choose my kids clothes for the next season.  Simplify.  There is absolutely no reason a two-year-old needs four pairs of jeans and 15 shirts.  If I do laundry daily or even every other day, we can get by with less.  Also, this means that my laundry piles aren't near as big and I'm more likely to tackle them when the task isn't so daunting.  Win-win?

More peace.  Less chaos.

More space.  Less clutter.

I'm going to allow this to be a theme in my life moving forward.  I can be queen of over-complication.  It's the little things that add up to the big thing.  The little moments of just doing the next thing that add up to the less chaos.  Just do those two dishes.  That one pile of laundry.  Take those 15 minutes and de-clutter your kitchen.  Or don't.  Maybe color with your kids instead.  Or have a dance party.  Whatev the moment calls for.

I don't want to let over-complication paralyze me, but instead look for ways to simplify my days.  I'm thinking somewhere in there is more peace and more joy.

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