unfinishing the basement.


it was the tall, four-legged orange tool-thing he set on the table that made me laugh.  the bottom third of an orange giraffe.  what it does?  i still don’t know.  I was sitting on the couch reading, balancing a toddler holding a knitting needle, while the huz walked a steady stream of tools out of the garage & into the house, across the kitchen, & down the stairs.

you see, we live in a house too big for us.  we had planned to move, to downsize so we could spend our time on more important things than a big house.  but Jesus is crazy, & here we are.

our main level is where we live, where we do all our art & cooking & reading & running around.  we would be fine if this were all we had.  but.

we have an entire second floor beneath us, with another entire living room, another bathroom, & so on.  it feels just that:  & so on.  to our family of six, it is superfluous.

so, we decided to unfinish our basement.  to move andy’s t-shirt room out in the main living area, scootch what was there upstairs or out the door, & then bring down armloads of tools & set up a maker’s space.  we had wanted to build a workshop outside, but we built it inside instead.  (work in progress. always, right?)
we never could’ve done this five years ago.  at that time, before we stuck our toes in the waters of minimalism, we had a houseful, with books stumbling out of bookshelves & teetering stacks creeping up the living room walls like literature ivy.  we had large & antique pieces of furniture, plenty of them heirlooms.  we had toys tumbling out of every crevice, never having thought to release anything into the beyond.

& then, one evening, sitting among stacks in our office with a toddler, a 4-year-old, & a 7-year-old in & out knocking all this important-ness over, i said,

“this is enough.”

we started just with that office, with one small stack in the corner, decluttering one file folder of manuals to appliances we no longer owned.  carload after carload filtered out the door.  garage sales were set up & torn down, again & again & again.  good homes were found for many heirlooms on craigslist.  the ten or twelve bins of kids’ clothes were siphoned down to one.

we brought the kids in on this, too.  i’ll never forget the day i took out their toy boxes, stored heaps in the basement, & set up just a few most-loved toys on a small bookshelf.  i did it at night & expected to wake up to their disappointment with their possessions having been stripped away.

what happened was the utter opposite:  the kids walked around their room, eyeing their toys as though they were in a toy store gazing on brand new things.  to them, they sort of were, having been hiding at the bottom of bins & boxes, the whole myriad of what they’d accumulated on display at all times, until that morning.  suddenly, they could see their favorite things without being bogged down with hoards (literally) of superfluity.

instead of tears, i got glee.
(& eventually they whittled the stored toys down themselves.)

the other bounty i harvested from our going minimalist was a truckload less picking up & putting away.  with less mugs in the cupboard, there are fewer dishes to wash.  with fewer toys, there is less mess (not less creativity or imagination.  truth!).  with a streamlined closet there are streamlined bodies.  just kidding.  (but fewer clothes means far less decision-making every morning.)

which brings us to now, when we’ve essentially given away our basement to the business.  do we miss it?  nope.  andy has room to breathe for t-shirt printing, & i have half the house to clean.  maybe someday, when the house is full of gangly teenagers (OY. VEY.), we’ll repurpose this space again.  but for now, this is the tweak that works.

plus, we saved ourselves thousands  of dollars by converting the basement into a t-shirt shop & a maker’s space instead of building two additional outbuildings.


but what, really, does this matter to you?  maybe nothing, but maybe you’ve been frustrated with the volume of things you have to manage.  maybe you’ve been rethinking the layout of your home but are afraid to do something different because it’s unconventional.  (unconventional can be scary;  i get it.  i came home once with a hoop in my nose.  that was a little scary.)

but our spaces should be like our lives, full of intention.

minimalism only means removing the things in your life, whether it’s possessions or commitments or whatever, so there is more room for the most important things.  like this guy.
so, give it a whirl.  you don’t have to cancel whole floors in your house.  but you could repurpose a drawer or throw out all the mangled twisty ties that get tangled in the scissors in the junk drawer.  you could donate those jeans that don’t fit & haven’t for years.  it’s okay.  you’re fantastic just the way you are, & you don’t need old jeans telling you otherwise.

& if you need a little inspiration, i’ve had this song on repeat all week:

because the truth is, we are all enough, & neither our stuff nor our homes define us.

keep tweaking the machine, friends.
it’s getting good.

XO.
~jill.

we don’t have to do this.


i’ve got birthday party hangover.  you know what i’m talking about:  too much sugar, more coffee than necessary (such a gray area), the full feeling of having gathered your tribe to love on your kids for a few short hours over food & drinks & good conversation.

yesterday we celebrated my middle kids’ birthdays:  thalia turned 9 last week, kieran nails down 6 on friday.  i, because i am an american parent with a bit of means, had been fretting over this day for some time.  i do this every year.  am i the only who does this?  maybe.

it goes like this:  what food should i make?  who should come?  what present(s) should we get the kids?  what should we do for a theme?  we’ve always had a theme.  will the kids that come fit in our house, now that most of the basement isn’t play space anymore?  will they be bored with smaller space & far less toys?  am i doing enough?

then i roll these thoughts around in my head for a couple months, tacking up mental sticky notes to address them, crumpling up the bad ideas & scratching out new ones as the event gets closer.

but that’s just the problem.

event?  my kids don’t need an event, they need a birthday party.  (i use the term”need” loosely.  again, the privileged “problem” of our first world.)  in this day of pinterest, putting on just a simple gathering has suddenly become a hard road to navigate.

i was talking to my dear friend beth about this on the phone last week.

“come with low expectations.  we’re just doing a party.  no theme or anything.  just simple,” i said, a little sheepishly, putting it out there to see if that was socially acceptable.

“i love parties,” she said, meaning the kind without extra extraness.  just gather us together to celebrate.  enough. done. it’s okay to drop the guilt.

of course.  i felt myself relax out of the pressure i had let build up.  that kooky pressure we put on ourselves to perform superhuman feats of extravaganza for our children’s parties, or for any reason, really.  first tooth?  have a parade.  easter?  we’ll hire the bunny.  christmas?  let’s not even go there.  i’m joking, of course, but kind of not really.

i read an article a couple weeks ago about a mom who was skipping all the birthday fanfare for her only child this year, an 8-year-old.  instead of renting the venue & buying the gifts, the party supplies, the paper goods, the food (that was acceptable for each & every food allergy or sensitivity to all her little boy’s friends), & then entertaining all 30 (what?) kids for the afternoon (hold on.  i’m tired just thinking about this. . . .), she took her son & a friend to a posh hotel with room service & cushy bathrobes instead.  to her, that was the simpler solution.

which makes me think:  we don’t have to do this.

somewhere along the path of the last decade, childhood in this culture went from ordinary to super-ramped-up, high-input, all-in-all-the-time.  if you think back to your own childhood, it was not like this.  it was simple.  maybe even a little dull & boring (God bless you.  you’ve just proven the reason for your highly innovative spirit.).  as kids, we were not catered to.  our parents didn’t make up events for us.  our birthday parties didn’t have themes.

[caveat:  if you are the mom (or dad) who enjoys big events with fanfare & have the means to do it, don’t let me steal your thunder.  carry on;  as you were.  but if you’re like me & dread feeling like you have to perform to be a good mother or spend more to make an event “memorable,” let’s just drop this issue, shall we?  we can give each other permission.]

so this year, we sloughed off a little more cultural expectation, stepped a little further out of the standard american box, & had a simple, un-themed, no-games, slightly dull (perhaps) birthday party.  we blew up balloons & hung streamers & made food & served ice cream.  we invited family & friends, the kids received gifts, & my MIL brought a pinata (which we filled with fruit juice-sweetened treats & chocolate.  & homemade, personalized buttons.  okay, a little hoopla.)

my kids felt loved & celebrated.  done.

no complaints about our smaller space or fewer toys or theme-less party or that where the kids mostly played was 37 degrees & outside.

as i snuggled my six-year-old last night at 10:30pm do you know what he said?  i asked him, “so, was it a good birthday party, kier?”

one word.  “GREAT.”

i think we’re on to something here.

: : : :

if you enjoy reading here at jillinthebox, consider subscribing at the top of the page.  i’ll send each & every post directly to your email inbox, & you’ll never miss one.  i promise to revere this privilege & not abuse it.  or you. 

6 things i’ve learned by 38.

tomorrow (well, technically today now) is my birthday, & i’m really looking forward to it. i’m not even exactly sure why.  we’re not doing anything particularly remarkable, taking a weekend away & or buying me a big something.  no, my birthday will be a much gentler affair.  we’ve got church in the afternoon followed by a bonfire, so the day has it’s own activity.  but honestly, the older i get, the more each day i get to be here seems pretty remarkable.  anyone?

in the morning, we’ll take the kids to the farmer’s market first thing, like we do every saturday, for raised donuts from the kind amish lady. one of leif’s new words?  “new-nuh”.  donut.  welcome to the family, little buddy.  we’re really learning now!  then i’ll pick up some carrots & cilantro from Chia, the gentle-spirited young man who sells vegetables at his parents’ stand & always gives me an extra eggplant or some ground cherries.  we’ll walk by the banjo player & the gallons of maple syrup on our way back to the car.  then we’ll wander off into the day & see what it brings.

for the most part, as is our culled tradition of recent years, between andy & I at least, we celebrate small, monetarily speaking.  this isn’t shorthand for “not at all”.  on the contrary.  my kids gleam with anticipation & wonder on birthdays (theirs or ours), & andy is a master at making me feel loved.  we like taking time to go slow & to enjoy whatever there is, whatever we find in front of us, which will certainly include much homemadeness & plenty of attention.  turns out, it’s usually better than expecting a whole heap & withering under the weight of it.  for me, anyway. I like small.  (think blog title.)  andy & I haven’t actually bought each other birthday gifts (other than a few edible treats) in years.  because what do i want?  more things?  not likely.  not anymore.  my birthday wishlist reads like this:  a nap.  a cup of decaf with cream.  time to read awhile in the quiet, that elusive foreigner in this house.  & celebrating with a sweet treat to share with my sweet little ones & the huz.  because all of us together in happy mode is a day-maker.

so, sitting in the quiet of birthday eve, with all but me asleep (can I get an “amen”?) & pandora playing a mix of rend collective & the fray, I wanted to tell you what I’ve gleaned in the last little while.  seems like much has been brewing, with all the waiting we’ve been doing.  seems like the gleaned bits ought to be shared, yes?

1.  perspective is everything.  when I was in college, I walked by the student government office every day on my way from my (usually empty) p.o. box to the cafeteria.  every day I was paying attention, I read the quote pitched up on the door frame:  “I am convinced that life is 10 percent what happens to me and 90 percent how I react to it.”  (charles swindoll).  that math sure puts the odds for happiness heavily in my favor, if I choose it.  circumstances be darned, I get to adjust my vision however I want.  every dang day.

2.  rich is relative.  I have a quote on my fridge (okay, i’m one of those people.  collecting quotes.  it’s a thing.) that says, “there is a gigantic difference between having a great deal of money & being rich.”  I know (& you do, too.  look at any people magazine) plenty of people with hoards of money who aren’t happy.  & I know that money isn’t necessary (after our basic needs are met) to be happy.  I can increase my wealth in five minutes by taking a grateful look around me & tallying my goodnesses.  & they are many.  i don’t need cash to be rich.  (only to pay for parking.)
3.  there’s very little that music can’t cure.  for me, anyway.  for you it might be nature.  or people.  or solitude.  but for me (& my kids now, turns out.  apple, tree.), flip on a little rend collective or something kid-friendly from walk off the earth & we’ve got a whole new ballgame.  I just have to remember I can apply balm to my own soul & then take the initiative to do it.  kind of goes along with the attitude choosing.  we’re kind of powerful, we people.

4.  people really are the biggest deal.  a few years ago, I remember bob merritt saying the most important aspect of our lives is the people around us & the relationships we have with them.  at the time, that was not good news to me.  (I can feel you freaking out.)  I wasn’t very good at relationships.  i didn’t really like people much (not for very long or very often.  true.).  I was good at getting my kids to & from storytime.  I was good at getting my house clean. i was good at organizing the bins of toddler clothes in my basement.  I wasn’t good at digging deep into relationships.  but i’m learning.  i’ve got the most amazing people around me who load me up with grace & kindness.  i’m a slow study, but heaven help me, i’ll get there.  people are where the fullest life is (this includes Jesus for me. totally a Person.).

5.  living with less is actually living with more.  i don’t know how that math works, either, but the more i dig into this, the more it proves itself true.  we’ve given away more than 7000 things to date (more on this later, hopefully), & my life keeps expanding.  i have more room to think, more time to create, more space for all of us to play.  & the creativity & cooperation my kids glean from less!  oh, my.  that alone is worth the recommendation.  give it whirl.  I promise you won’t miss your stuff.

6.  taking care of myself is taking care of everyone else.  ahhh, this is complex!  i used to be good at self-care tactics, like showering (i’m beginning to get nervous about your impression of me. . . .what’s that you say?  way too late?  oh.), but four kids later, most days by 4pm i’m a train wreck.  it’s easier for me to wait until everything is done (what?) or I’ve met all the kids’ needs to take care of myself.  but it’s like the airplane crash analogy:  if i don’t put on my own oxygen mask, how can i help anyone else?  so i’m trying to do that more these days.  sometimes it amounts to reading a page of fiction leaning against the kitchen counter before i head into the dirty dishwater.  sometimes (like today) it’s kicking the kids outside so i can have a little quiet.  sometimes it’s a literal shower.  it’s always a bit of scripture in the morning & a word to the heavens.  but whatever it is, i’m communicating to myself that i in fact matter, too.  which somehow is easy to forget.

so there it is, my birthday montage.  i’m off to sleep now.
I’ve got a birthday to wake up to.
38 is going to rock.
& I know a slew of little kids who’ll be ready to party.

a garden & a bus

over the weekend, andy & i & the kids along with our good friends beth & henry put on a garage sale here in our actual garage.  which, if you’ve known us awhile, is kind of a big deal.  we’d gone a solid decade using garage space to store our house overflow, so our having room in the garage to set up tables & showcase our wares is new to us.  (heck, we even park the car in our garage sometimes, when we’re feeling saucy.)

we weren’t going to do a garage sale this year, had been saying it inside our heads & to anyone who asked that, “nope.  we don’t really have anything to sell.”  which, turns out, is a total lie.  somehow, andy sprouted eyes to see, & then mentioned that maybe we should actually throw together a quick sale.  (it’s our annual neighborhood garage sale weekend, this last was.)  so, all of last week was us walking through what looked like a war-torn house, scrounging items we didn’t even remember we had, & tagging them with blue painter’s tape & a sharpie.  we drug hundreds of things we no longer wanted to manage out onto plywood-on-saw-horse tables.  & then, we blew them into the wind.

what kept coming up for me, as i culled my possessions, was three-fold:  1.  i am a hoarder of memories (think photos, journals, the scrap of paper javin first wrote the letter “d” on.  i’m not even kidding.),  2. every single item i decided to release caused a pang in my heart, &  3.  BUT. as soon as i unclenched my grip from the (fill in the blank:  clown bank from kindergarten (see?  a little bizarro.  i told you.), balloon cross-stitch from my childhood babysitter, or other elderly miscellany from when i was 6), a gigantic cloud of relief descended on me & i felt my lungs expand into my chest.

no lie.

after the weekend, we added a few square feet of freedom & a hefty chunk to our decluttering count.  thank you, garage sale.  i love you.

so, on from there, today the kids & i started working in our garden.  we have just a bitty garden plot, but at this stage & in this place, gardening for us is really about getting the kids into the dirt & maybe, just maybe, some blessed green thing will poke through & feed us.
IMG_1519which, maybe you’re wondering why we sold our kitchen table (super bittersweet:  i LOVE(D) our table, the beautiful family that gave it to us a long time ago, & the fact that all four of my babies had sat there with me.  love love & a sniffle.  BUT, andy’s been gearing up to build us a table for years.  he’s dreamed up a sweet table plan, so we’re making space to do that, adding the mantra to our lives that if you’d like something to happen, you need to create a place for it in your life.  i truly believe this, & i’ll keep you posted.), why we’re downsizing ourselves like crazy, & why we’re still bothering to till the land (i can talk big about my bitty space.) when possibly we won’t be here to eat the tomatos.

honestly?  i don’t even know.  except that that’s the feeling i have in my belly.  which, if you don’t jive with my Jesus-ness, may sound a little loopy.  but as a girl who seeks, i’m following the path through today, the inclination i have deep down to do what i do.  & all the trails these days are leading me down into the basement to donate things.

or, like last weekend, to GO LOOK AT A BUS.  our first one!  a big, long white thing with thick blue stripes.  we called on the bus on saturday & made plans with the bus owner to go see it sunday after church.  we called for directions as promised at 2:35, told him we’d be there in 15 minutes. because we have four kids & a fair amount of unpredictability, we had to make a quick kid pit stop.  when we got to the guy’s house at 3:18, just 18 minutes after the appointed hour, he wasn’t there.  so andy & i & the kids walked across the street to take in our potential future home, one long-length of blue stripey-ness.  andy rang the guy while we peeked in windows.

“oh, sorry.  someone already bought the bus.”

what?  like, in the last 15 minutes?  yep.  that’s exactly what happened.  somehow in the divine plan for us, white-bus-with-blue-stripes was not for us.  we had been the only people to call about the craigslist ad since the guy posted it, until 10 minutes previous.  the kids were super disappointed (which also kind of surprised me;  i’d not been very sure where they fell on the this-is-awesome spectrum.  fairly high, i guess.), & andy & i were completely relieved.  the bus would have needed a solid chunk of work (which means money).  the whole dizzying half-an-hour that started with “this could be it!” & ended with  “huh?” was also a golden opportunity to talk with the kids about how our faith works.  we don’t hold the keys;  we just jump in the car (or bus) when it’s ready to go.

so, that was that, & we’re moving on to who-knows-what, holding out hope that someone will love our place & want it for their own, & that that will align perfectly with the big next-thing-to-do.

but we do know:  we’re here waiting & hoping, with a spacious garage, stacks of decluttered things to sort through, & a glint in our eyes (or is that just sleep-deprivation?). & all the while we’re growing our freedom, a garden, & our desire for a simple life on a bus.

 

the 3000-thing feast

amateurs:  regular people who get obsessed by something & spend a ton of time thinking out loud about it.  –austin kleon, “show your work!”

i like the idea of being an amateur when we’re talking about minimalism.  someone not proficient, certainly, but mildly obsessed with the idea of downsizing, of growing my freedom, of creating more time for what i really love to do.  that & i find myself talking about it ALL THE TIME.

for new year’s this year, i resolved to join the 2014 decluttering challenge, among other things.  i figured we may as well give it a roll.  in the spacious boundaries of a 2500 sq. ft. house, we had acquired a fair heap (understatement.), even after being on somewhat of a downsizing train for awhile.  we began bearing down further on the piles, with a future move hovering in our subconscious.  we don’t want to move all this C.R.A.P., we kept muttering to each other.  & we scribbled our give-aways on a chalkboard wall of the kitchen, as a visual incentive (nothing like a photo of a skinny chick on the fridge to gently nudge a body in the right direction, so to speak.).
yesterday, my poor children were subject to another decluttering project:  take everything they own, every lego, hotwheels, or zooble, & move it from the basement into their rooms upstairs.  i wanted them to have move through their hands every possession they owned.  i notice in my own wares that much lies dormant in the corners, in the closets, in the bottom drawers of my desk & when i pick it up again, i wonder whattheheck i was thinking to let it take up space, in my head & in my life.

today we continued, tromping through drawers of paintbrushes & staples.  as always, the kids resisted, just like i do, when asked to consider their stuff.  they get daunted by the sheer volume of it.  i get it;  so do i.  but once they get into the throws of skimming the fat, they enjoy the new space they’re creating.  it feels amazing to have your margin back.  to not have the drawers too full they don’t shut.  to not have so darn much to clean up at the end of the day.  to not have so many clothes to fold in the laundry basket.
& the fun parts?  we found all kinds of things the kids had forgotten they had because it had been jammed in the back of a drawer, down behind something else.
by noon, after we’d said a hundred more times, “plus one it!” (our phrase for “yes, we CAN donate/sell/recycle that thing we thought we loved & needed.”)  we were done, the kids were all restored to a peaceful state, we had a full box to donate, & we had contributed sizeably to the recycling bin.
& really, one of the greatest by-products of downsizing is the sense of gratefulness i always come away with after rooting through my stuff.  my word, do i have resources!  fantastic, i have so many awesome shirts left!  i had no idea how many great books i still have!  look at my wealth!  wahoo!

i think, though i am not certain, the kids caught a whiff of that, too.
we had promised the kids that when we got to 2014 things, we’d celebrate.  i didn’t realize we’d hit that mark in march, just three months into the challenge.  i should clarify, too:  everything that left the house, whether in a box, a recycling bin or a garbage bag (unless it was food related) counted.  a broken crayon?  plus one it.  a straw?  plus one it.  a filing cabinet, pair of boots, or a blender?  plus one it, each one.  a 160 sq. ft. antique rug that took up our entire living room?  plus one it.  the way i see it, the number doesn’t matter at all, but the motivation does.  if the kids get excited because they’re counting a drawing recycled, one measly piece of paper, pass the chalk & add it on.  we all get jazzed seeing that number inch up every day.

after hitting 2014 things in march, then, we couldn’t stop.  we didn’t want to.  the margin we were creating felt too good.  the piles we weren’t having to put away every night was such a relief.  looking into my closet & not being overwhelmed by choices but seeing clothes i actually enjoyedfelt good in was a deep breath every morning.

so we kept going, & yesterday we hit 3000 things.
today’s tally, actually, after the day’s work in the art cabinets.

three thousand things gone warranted another celebration!  i promised to make them whatever they wanted to eat again, & we could watch whatever movie they all could agree on.  they didn’t want me to cook, though.  they wanted sandwiches.  (the simple joy of a family who hasn’t eaten many sandwiches in good conscience since going gluten-free-ish in january.)  of course, we obliged them, adding apple sodas & chocolate, too.  if you’re going to go down, go down big, i say.  just kidding.  kind of.

we feasted, we watched “brother bear” again on netflix, & we were proud, all of us.  maybe they can’t articulate it yet, but the kids are content when they lay down in their beds at night with rooms not overflowing.  they are proud of their closets & the tops of their dressers.  i am superfantastically proud of them.

so, now we’re shooting for 4000.  because, really, why not?

belonging, at a garage sale.

this weekend has been about two words:  GARAGE and SALE.  (well, this & three kids running around playing with duct-taped helmets, opening the “hi-ho cherry-o” box in the middle of the driveway to play a quick game, coming to ask me for a soda, going out to jump on the trampoline, asking for candy, finding a gun in the sale pile, & coming to ask me for a soda.  or candy.  or a popscicle.  again.  🙂  apparently GARAGE SALE equates with TREATS.  i didin’t know that:  excuse me while i have some skittles. . . .)

since christmas (& quite probably because of the christmas onslaught) thalia & i have been pricing backpacks & bandanas, star wars bobble heads & magnifying glasses.  (& let me tell you, this girl is a voracious pricer;  her enthusiasm kept us plowing through the house, roguely in search of “what else we can sell”.  ).  our house is for sale, & unless the apocalypse beats us, packing all our worldly goods into liquor boxes one more time is inevitable.

SO.  i am bound & determined to take less (& HOPEFULLY progressively less & less & less & less. . . .you get the idea) with us.  which means a’purging we will go.

thursday morning was the beginning of our sale, & as we hauled boxes out of the garage & into towers on the driveway, as we began setting out every piece of clothing the kids no longer need, every craft gone undone, every candle in excess, i was STAGGERED by the amount of “stuff” rolled out in front of our house like a walkway to clutterdom.  & i kept saying so to anyone who would listen.  HOLY MALONEY.  andy said, “this looks like a multi-family garage sale.”  we are five people.  going on six.  no reason for this.

but, as much as i wanted to declutter, as much as i want a simple, tidy home, as much as i don’t want to keep kicking hot wheels & stepping on legos in the night, there are some things i JUST HAD A HARD TIME GETTING RID OF.

exhibit A:

vintage dresser from my grandmother’s old farm house. the house i played in every summer day as a child, where i went for peanut butter captain crunch & sewing lessons.

& i love everything about this dresser except the truth of it.  the drawers are too hard to open.  they stick when you attempt to shove them back in.  (more than once i’ve side-punched one end of the dresser, and then the other, like a whacked-out teeter totter you have to finagle yourself.)  & truthfullly, having this dresser & her sister in our house only allowed me to house more “treasures” that weren’t.

so the dresser had to go.  &  it did, after i marked it down three times & came to the heart-filling realization that the only reason i WANTED that dresser was for the connection with my grandma, & my dad.  quite possibly, my grandmother hated those dressers.  i have no idea.  but to hang onto something for purely emotional reasons just fills ME with clutter. just as i need space in my house, on my desk, around me, i need margin & empty edges in my own belly.

so the dresser went.  & ya know what?  since i took her picture & waved goodbye in my heart, i’ve been noticing the other true treasures i have from my grandma that i love:  vintage vases to put wildflowers from my daughter in.  the old typewriter i poked at that now sits in my living room where thalia is transcribing a shel silverstein poem.  the dressing table with big round mirror that waits for her to grow a bit & own herself.

these are the things i love;  these are the things that add meaning to my life, that root me in the past while inspiring me now.  these are the pieces that are authentic treasures, & that i look forward to passing on as heirlooms to my kiddos.  by allowing myself to dismiss those i don’t need or like, those that just don’t work for us, i open up a big meadow of space for what does belong.

& that feels right.

a little help here (with Larry Boy & such).

alright, folks. i need a little help here. i didn’t realize that when i started in this place, i’d CHERISH the feedback i get so very much. i LOVE the conversations that have sprung up (sometimes in my own head!) with you all, &, of course, i absolutely LOVE the comments & encouragement.  thank you, thank you!!

so today, i need some get-out-of-sentimental-mom mode help. you see, we’re doing a garage sale next weekend (do i hear an amen?) because our house is for sale, & it’s looking like where we go next will have less space than where we are now. and even if it doesn’t, i’d like to lose some of the dross, if you know what i mean. we are a family coming up on 6 this july, & andy, my huz, has run as many as two businesses out of our garage. one currently resides there. oh, yes – & we homeschool. all things that tend to generate an extraordinary amount of *things*. lots & lots of potential here in these walls.  lots & lots of, well, stuff.

{insert cute picture of purple & green Larry Boy plush toy (Veggietales) with super-suction ears that says things like “hasta la vista, weedy!” when you pull the pull-string.  i’m working on the photography segment of this here blog;  bear with me!}

so, you can imagine Larry Boy, right??

but seriously, who wants to move all that? not i, said the duck. (“the little red hen” is on my 3-year-old’s fave book list. sorry, i digress.)  i’m astounded by the piles that accrue, EVEN AS I BATTLE THEM.  & teach my children to battle them.  what if i weren’t fighting for the right to have open space?  we’d be avalanched by our own possessions, arms poking out in solemn surrender.

SO, here’s my dilemma: how do you unattach yourself from the sentimentality that clings under your armpits & around your heart about the things your kids own/owned that they are done with?

this is my aspiring minimalist achilles’ heel. & i’m asking for help.

how do you address the sticky, gooey sentimental piece of your own heart?  or don’t you?  how do you move into the future while keeping bits of the past?  i’d love to know. . . .!