…so this isn’t so much of a tale, as a lesson.
A while back, I purged my kitchen of anything I felt was excessive. I mean in a house with 2 kids, did I honestly need 16 small plastic bowls. After the clean out, my kitchen was easier to manage & dishes didn’t get as out of control because we needed dishes to eat off of before I had the dishes packing the counter.
The other day, I started getting frustrated because there was stuff everywhere I turned. Clutter makes me a little manic, so I started to wig out. As I was walking through my house, with sleeping kiddos, I started asking…do we really need this much crap? Clearly the answer is no. But I didn’t want to just throw stuff out for the sake of declutting. So I started by picking up junk mail, half colored pieces of paper, dirty dishes, random socks in the hallway & pushed the question to the back of my mind.
Yesterday morning, I was planning to make some biscuits for breakfast & to pack in my kids lunches, but when I opened up my cupboard I noticed I didn’t have enough flour. The thought caught me a little off guard…I didn’t have enough flour for biscuits, yet I had 3 partially used bags of different types of flour that serve different purposes.
********How in the world is it possible to have so much stuff & still not have what you need?********
After dropping the kids off at school, I met a good friend for smoothies. We talked about life & kids & husbands & kale & natural deodorant, but then our conversation took on a more questions of life kind of feel. We talked about the excess that Americans live in & what we think is normal that actually isn’t. I told her about my frustration with the stuff & then I said…”there’s not enough of anything, but we have too much of everything”. We talked about how kids in absolute, destitute poverty have smiles on their faces eating tortillas made out of water & dirt, because they don’t know any different. They don’t know the excess, so they are happy with what they have, even though to us it is sad & disgusting.
That conversation stayed with me all day long & into the night. After the kids where asleep, I walked around the house surveying the scene. The stuff. The amount of build up. Now, I am pretty good about cleaning out. I am the exact opposite of a pack rat; but somehow stuff just keeps happening.
A few weeks ago, I had heard about Jenn Hatmaker’s book, 7, so I downloaded a preview & absolutely loved the direction she went in. Reducing things in life. Getting rid of the stuff, in order to focus on the more important things. Having less & giving more. The premise of the book is that her family looked at 7 areas of excess in their life. For the next 7 months, they took one area at a time & pared it down to just 7 things… 7 pieces of clothing one month, 7 foods the next, etc.
As I cleaned my kitchen, I thought about 7 & flour & dirt tortillas. How often does stuff or things or busyness or activities take our eyes off of the really good things in life or the opportunities to reach outside of our personal bubble & get involved in someone else’s life? How often does our pre-occupation with social media or our cellphone or tablets or ourselves in general cause us to miss moments we would never want to forget? How does it make the people in our lives feel when we can’t take our eyes off of everyone else’s life, long enough to focus on our own [mommy look at this]?
What if we changed things a little at a time? What if we limited our personal screen time to when we are alone or just 10 minutes here & there? How much more valued would our kids feel if we weren’t staring at our phones most of the time & only looking up for a second or two when they want to show us something? What if we decided to stop feeding our bellies expensive meals in excess & instead put that money aside to do something for someone else? What if we went through our house & gave 5 of our 7 black t-shirts to a family that could really use them & not just take it to Goodwill because we are ready to buy more? What if we doubled our dinner recipe & gave half to a family friend just because we thought about them & not just because they have a new baby or someone is sick?
So today I went & bought just one flour, so I have enough of what we needed but no more than what we need. What if we didn’t have some much of everything & just enough of one thing?