Last weekend I didn't write since we were busy working on sorting, organizing, purging, and cleaning. We have been actively working on simplification for over a month now. And I've also spent a lot of time thinking about why it is important that we do this work, especially right now. This has been a period of introspection and difficulty for me personally. Letting go of the clutter helped me gain clarity of mind. My favorite mantra lately is a Thich Nhat Hanh quote about being present "If we are not fully ourselves, truly in the present moment, we miss everything." I've allowed myself to be distracted by negativity. These daily acts of deliberate simplicity, non-self, and being in the moment have helped me prioritize what is important for our family. I've been able to slow down and just be...stop to enjoy a beautiful dragonfly with my daughter, laugh with an old friend, or enjoy the warm of my husband's arms. Slowly working on not always being on and choosing instead to be IN the now. It is constant work, but we are experiencing quality time as a family in new quantities and glimmers of happiness we haven't seen in a while.
One more quantifiable measure of our success so far is that we now have a large number of empty storage containers. One of the ideas Joe wanted to try (from 'The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up' by Kondo) was minimizing how much seasonal storage we rely on. Now all of our winter items (with the exception of hats, gloves, and some winter sports gear), remain in our closets and drawers. We have made room by reducing the amount of clothing we have in the first place (and we still have a lot!). We have gone through nearly every container of stored items and clothing purging what we don't need. What a change to go from buying storage containers to deal with the clutter to perhaps donating a stack of them as part of the clutter!
We also cleaned out our garage last weekend. It amazing how quickly the garage becomes the depository of items we don't use or don't use often enough. I wish I had taken some before pictures, but trust me when I say there is a dramatic change in our garage. We filled an entire Bagster with junk that couldn't be donated or recycled (although the scrappers had a hey day going through what we had tossed and probably found a few gems). Also brought many loads of donations to our local Goodwill. We are now known well by the fellows in the donation center as the crazy couple on bikes. It took a while, but one load after another was hauled by bike by either me or Joe, freeing up space in our home. Every load that left made our home feel lighter.