I have posted a lot about how overwhelmed I felt (and sometimes still!) before the big purge in our home, with all of our crazy chaotic clutter! At the time, that was our normal. That was our every day…not only was it overwhelming, but it was also just the way it was. We grew kind of…used to it…
Then we had the bin and did an enormous purge to get rid of almost half of our stuff. We had been used to living with more, living full. It took a while to be ok with an empty shelf, or a half-filled drawer. It was strange. We had to create a new normal. We had to alter our minds and redefine how the new normal would look and what it would be like to live with less. Sometimes rooms would echo, and I used to hate it. Now, when some of my rooms are no longer echoing, I know it’s time to go through stuff again. I came to start expecting the echo and finding peace with the echoing walls and emptyish rooms.
The thing to keep in mind is that it was OUR new normal. No one else’s! To other people coming into the house, it may still seem or feel too full. But our house definitely changed after the purge! We changed! And like most changes, it happens incrementally. Even after our big purge the change still felt small somehow. I, in particular, had to keep reminding myself of how far we had come, because I still felt like we had an overflowing home. I still felt the pressure to get rid of a bunch of stuff because I could start to see the potential once again of how easy our lives could seem. How simple it would be to pull out the vacuum and quickly do the floors WITHOUT needing to pick up or move a bunch of stuff first.
Yet, now, a number of years after the bin, I find myself trying to create another new normal.
I want to get rid of even more!
It’s time for another shift. I now feel like I am overwhelmed all over again. Things are in my way, we have furniture that we are not really using, and I feel like I am back to picking up a bunch of random stuff to get the cleaning done – doubling or tripling my hard work! It’s not really that we have accumulated a whole new bunch of stuff, we haven’t really. Now the problem is more clear. Now we need more organized spaces. We need to start creating homes for the stuff we own to make the stuff more useable.
Sometimes you need to live in a certain state or normal long enough to be able to identify the real issues, so that you can find good solutions. You need to get sick of living a certain way, or in a certain kind of mess before you can make a big change. The kids are older now too which helps in that we can get rid of some of the bulky toys like play houses or play kitchens.
All of these new normals take a long time to create. They take a long time to even have the energy to WANT to create it. It requires ongoing effort after getting sick of the way the clutter takes over. You need the time to come to terms with the idea that you really could live with less, then figure out how to downsize, then figure out how to organize the stuff you’ve kept. Once you have figured out what works, you can start to get rid of even more.
It’s worth a check in every couple of years. Sit down with the household or go through the house and talk about what works and what doesn’t. Sometimes it’s easier to do it on your own, but getting the rest of the people in the home to help can be very encouraging. It can create a family bond by working together to continue making life in the house easier and more functional for the moment or stage of life you are currently in.
If you’re sick of a certain space, or feel like it’s messy or cluttered, take some time. Create a new normal for that space. It doesn’t have to stay the same! Move furniture, or get rid of furniture, or get rid of stuff. It will quickly take on new life!