trying to live simply in a big house
A year ago we moved out of a 3 bedroom, 1 car garage townhouse that had one tiny little closet for storage. I absolutely loved that house. We made it work by living simply and giving away anything we were not currently using. We moved, not to give the seven of us more space, but to have space for more. More friends and family coming to visit. More helping those who needed a place to rest. More children to become part of our team. More people, not more material possessions.
Our new, larger home was pretty empty when we moved in. We heard the same line over and over.
"Oh, just wait. Your house will be full of stuff before you know it."
I determined that wasn't going to be true of us. We were going to be different. A year into this adventure I can say that goal is much easier said than done. When there is more space for the extra you don't notice it as much. Things can hide. Rooms that are not often used can become a holding ground for all sorts of madness. Things that you once would have immediately given away you now say instead, "I better hang onto this, we might need it someday."
One room in our home had particularly become a monster pit of chaos. A family room in our basement started as just an empty room but slowly morphed into a toy dumping ground. I tried to organize it by giving the children multiple bins and storage solutions to put things away. But here is the truth: It was just too much. Too many material items along with too much space to spread them out. It was too much for them to manage.
I walked into this room about two months ago and saw it with fresh eyes. It had become something I did not want in my home. A room full of children's toys that were being tossed and thrown about into piles of disaster. There was no value in this room just the outcome of overabundance and a lack of gratitude. This was not my goal for this house. This was not contributing at all to how I desired to raise my children. And so, I took it away.
We went through all the toys that had landed in that room. Many went to other homes to other children who actually needed them. The toys that were kept found a new landing place, a place where they fit, could be put away neatly and found again when my children wanted to play with them. They also rediscovered some items that had gone "missing" and brought life back to toys that had been buried for months. I would like to add this is not about having a perfectly organized and decorated home. I am not against having a home that looks like children live there. And any of you who have been to our home know this to be true. My "formal dining room" is full of kids craft and school items, my "formal office" is for all the children's books and games and music, I even have a large pink princess kitchen set in our main living space. But there is a rhyme and a purpose to these spaces. They create life and family bonding moments not just a disastrous mess. And now, thanks to the purging, the room in the basement is now fulfilling that same purpose. Once the heap was removed, I began to see all sorts of potential. The room is now the home of a shop for gifts that give back. Something that we are all excited about and can build together. Something that would not have been possible a few months ago. Simplicity truly is about a greater appreciation for the things that really matter.