What are you trying to do right now? Besides the basics of feeding your family, keeping them clothed and preventing mildew from growing in the shower. What personal goal are you working toward with the limited time and energy that you find in the margins of your life? Think of something you want to make progress on in the next month. Got it? Okay: why?
I’m 6 months into a fresh attempt to declutter my home. Why?
It’s important to remember why (when you can it’s also good to start with why). I pulled out some notes I wrote in January while reading Organized Simplicity: The Clutter-Free Approach to Intentional Living by Tsh Oxenreider, notes about our family purpose and mission statement, and my goal for our home, the kind of environment I wanted to create in our house.
Quick note: my husband and I have four boys age 7, 5 1/2, 2 1/2, and 8 months. We live in the suburbs in a 2700 sqft home that we’ve been fixing up.
Here are my thoughts, tidied up a bit.
Goals for our home
Three words I want to describe our home are alive, nurturing and intentional. The right home environment for my family encourages good stewardship, growth, creativity, joy, productivity, and rest. My goals do not include expensive furniture or beautiful home decor, and formal sitting and guest rooms are not a priority; it will not be perfect but needs to be functional and welcoming. We did buy a larger table last summer because we wanted to be able to host our extended family for meals.
Our strengths and values
Some of the strengths of my family’s members are discernment, being creative, problem solving, work hard, play hard, analytical thinking. We exercise these in practical ways by playing sports, doing science experiments, drawing, making crafts, reading, gardening, carpentry, and going camping.Things that bring out the best in us include adventure, being outside, being creative or productive, and helping each other with projects. We’re at our worst when we’re idle, or lose focus or perspective, or spend to much time watching tv.
We value learning/growth, cooperation, hard work, rewards for hard work, adventure, creativity, productivity, excellence, and perseverance. Our core personal values as a family include Adventure/Journey, Financial Independence, Family, Leadership/Growth, Learning/Discovery, Fitness/Beauty, Creativity, Simplicity, and Balance.
Our Family Purpose
Our purpose as a family is raise strong, happy, healthy boys who balance work and play, and are equipped with strong character and diverse life skills, to be successful.
To accomplish this: We value creativity and productivity, excellence and perseverance. We emphasize character over rules and results. We will prioritize adventure and growth. We will interact with each other in a spirit of generosity, compassion, authenticity and teamwork. We are intelligent, wise and observant and always learning something new. We take time to be, and think, and listen. We will find balance between traditional wisdom and new methods and technology.
Why am I decluttering the house?
The art room was always messy so they couldn’t use the table and the environment didn’t foster creativity. Too much stuff gets disorganized quickly. Then it takes more time to clean the house, and you buy things you have because you can’t find them (I know I’m not the only one). We believe stuff is here to serve us, not vice versa. I’ve really had to work on believing that clutter was a problem, you can read more about my steps to conquer the clutter, which is still a work in progress. Disorganization makes it harder to pull things together to get out of the house for a camping trip over a weekend. I could give more examples; and I will once I’m living it out!
Removing clutter is a shallow victory if I don’t push through on the project and use the opportunity to focus us more on our values and the activities that really matter to us and will help us live the life that’s right for our family. This week I’m surrounded by everything I’ve pulled out or gotten from friends in preparation for a yard sale. I’m drowning just a bit in all the clutter and I felt the need to remember why I started decluttering in the first place. It’s not an end in and of itself, it is a strategic step toward a much larger and more inspiring goal: creating the right environment for my family for this next season of nurturing, growth and launching into the world. And it’s worth the pain of facing the clutter, but in the middle of hard tasks it’s really helpful to remember your goals and the values driving your actions so you can push through.
Once I get past the garage sale I can move on to the next step which is thinking about the purpose of each room in the house (like Tsh suggests in the book) and what else I need to do help our home be a place where we can feel alive, creative and nurtured, and where we can live our values.
Stay tuned for ‘before’ and ‘after’ photos, and I’d love to hear: what is the purpose of your home, what are 3 words you want to describe it?