I originally wrote this on February 20, 2008 on my personal blog, it is a cute story that illustrates that we hang onto items that we think should be valuable and we sacrafice time and space to keep these useless items :)
One of my favorite topics to discuss is home organization. This week I went to the website of a woman who is a professional organizer. The title on the top of her website read, “Get Organized Once and For All.” I couldn’t help but laugh! “Once and for all,” if only it were that easy—do it once and you are done! This woman obviously doesn’t have elementary age children that come home from school with a back pack full of papers every afternoon. What about the preschooler who colors hundreds pictures and insists on keeping each “work of art.” I won’t even mention the things that we accumulate on Birthdays and Holidays! Needless to say organization for me is a daily battle. Perhaps that is why I enjoy learning and talking about it because it is something I focus on every day.
My years of marriage and motherhood have taught me the need to be organized and I believe organization starts by cutting out the clutter. I must say that Justin has been very patient in my process of learning! Perhaps a story will illustrate his patients.
The Saga of the Blue Dishes
When we were married I accumulated a set of blue and white dishes that my mom, and sisters and I had found while living in Richmond, VA. There was a complete 12 place setting including everything from cups, saucers to matching serving bowls. With all the dishes wrapped and packed into boxes it took up a lot of space! Nevertheless, I love formal dinners and knew that I should haul the many boxes of blue dishes all the way to Ohio to keep in our first apartment. (I really should mention that I don’t like blue, I am a green person. I had the dishes because they were a great opportunity and not because I was in love with them. They were sentimental because they were from Virginia.) Imagine our tiny little two bedroom apartment cramped for space and I have Justin moving box after box of blue dishes into the only large closet in the house. . . .and then they sat. We didn’t even use them one time in that house, or the next, or the next, or the next, or the next. Yes, it took 5 moves and 5 years of marriage for me to come to my senses! I finally gave them to my mom who has 12 people to serve and enough room to keep them. The moral of the story is that those blue dishes took our time and space. The result of less stuff is freed-up space, less stress, and more energy for living a happier, richer life every day.
Oh, so many lesson can be learned from that one simple story about storing too much.
Emotionally I think we save so many things because they "should be valuable" or "have so many memories" or "we love the person that gave it." At some point we need to realize we can still keep our memories and loose the junk!
I believe that this lesson also applies to many objects that take our time and space. I am an art person, I spent hours drawing and coloring as a child. Now I love to see what our kids create, but I have also learned that most of the value is in the learning and doing. Throwing a picture away doesn't mean that it isn't amazing, we get to keep to knowledge we learned from creating the picture and the joy from accomplishing it. I love to take pictures of my kids artwork. Each child has a file on our computer of pictures and projects that they have done. I also keep the very best works of art. With less stuff there is more room to create.
I think we all need to look through our houses and find our own, "blue dishes!"