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The years teach much
which the days never knew.

-RalphWaldoEmerson


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Intentional DeCluttering

Over the last month or so, living with less clutter, I’ve experienced some unintended benefits of my intentional decluttering project. Not the least of which has been ease of housekeeping and/or ease of moving from one daily activity to another with very little preparation or tidying. Having been the mother of many children for decades, home organization has been paramount. But even with all my planning and organizing, I still had clutter.

In this process of decluttering over the last couple of months, I’ve mulled over some of the “clutter factors” and how they came to be. One of the reasons, which I discovered quite by accident, was that I’ve had a “country farmhouse” decor for the last thirty five years or so. And, while I’ve loved all the decorations – baskets, candles, bears and geese and whatever else was showing up in my Country Woman, Taste of Home, or other related magazines, they’d become clutter. Cute stuff. Everywhere, cute stuff. When I gave away some books and stacks of magazines, it dawned on me, I no longer have the longing to accumulate and decorate in that way and magazines showing me all my favourite things weren’t necessary to keep anymore– I clipped my favourite pictures to keep for memorabilia. While some country farmhouse decor remains, the time had come to move on from there. And the more I moved on, the easier it was to keep moving on.

Another reason for a good deal of the clutter has been the shear number of people in our home and the volume of furniture, bedding, possessions, clothing & shoes, jackets, purses, backpacks, toys, hobbies, etc. Homeschooling eleven children has necessitated the gathering of all sorts of books, materials, equipment, supplies, etc., for all the studies and projects. Seasons change and I needed settle into this next season.

But, as I mentioned in my last post (Tidying. You’re Still You), I’m still me, I’m exceedingly sentimental, we still live in a farmhouse, because we’re a big family, big things regularly happen. So, I’ve kept things to accommodate our life/family. But! There’s a place for everything and everything’s in its place.

That’s where the intentional part of this decluttering project comes in. What I’ve learned is that it was good to have a clear plan and be willing to work until the plan was complete. As I wrote earlier, it took weeks. For the sake of brevity, I’ll share a part of the plan. I decided to get rid of the large oak corner desk and shelves of our school/craft room. There were dozens of bins, towers of plastic drawers, plastic shoe boxes, and the myriad of supplies each contained. The next, and parallel part of the plan, was to set up a craft and sewing room upstairs. This is a luxury that was never an option prior to this season. Now that most all our kids are married and have homes and families of their own, we had an ’empty room’.

Intentional decluttering requires ♥ having a plan for freed up space and how/where the new set-up will look and function.
Intentional decluttering also requires ♥ thinking of, and planning for, the immediate disposal, give-away, etc., etc., of no longer needed/wanted items.
Intentional decluttering also requires ♥ the resolve to stay with the plan until it’s complete.
Intentional decluttering means ♥ keeping an eye on the prize: a peaceful home.
Intentional decluttering means ♥ intentionally maintaining the new way of living/thinking.

As I sorted every single thing, I immediately took things upstairs to their landing spots. I set up the room and filled the spaces as I intended. It became easier with each passing day — one area was getting all cleaned up and another all set up. I also immediately took boxes of giveaways out to my car, furniture out to the porch, bags of trash to the bins. Each activity fueled the completion of the project(s).

Finally, I’ve allowed this intentional decluttering to flow into other areas of our home and my life. Eliminating and concentrating in other areas, drawers, cabinets, etc., etc. And then, going back over and over again to eliminate and concentrate further. Honestly, it’s been a very encouraging process to a peaceful home. There’s no ‘clutter police’ so the process can just continue to evolve over time and the simplicity will continue to be refreshing as time allows for projects to be undertaken. I recognize it will take practiced “intentionality” to maintain this peaceful home.

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