My family of four is currently home together most of the time, Monday through Friday. With the exception of an occasional errand or random appointment, none of us currently leave the house much on weekdays.
Our home is no longer serving as just a place to live.
It has become my husband’s office. He doesn’t go to a separate building to work. It all happens from here.
It functions as my daughter’s school. She takes part in remote learning live meetings from a desk in the living room and completes the rest of her first-grade work in various spots throughout the house.
It serves as a preschool for my son. He learns letters and engages in sensory play on the floor in the living room while his sister writes sentences and does addition nearby. He practices sharing while playing with her in their playroom.
It has become a veterinary nursing home for our geriatric pug. She sleeps in a bed near the action.
It’s a cafeteria to feed four people and a dog multiple meals and snacks all day long.
Last year at this time our house felt empty. My husband was working long hours while renovating a rental property with any second he had off. My daughter started full-day kindergarten and was gone from 8 to 4. We had put our other dog, who was just shy of 15, to sleep. I missed him so much. The house felt cold and lonely. I didn’t want to be there.
Now our home feels fuller than ever. With this fullness, aliveness and energy comes mess. It brings chaos and more to manage. A lot more dirt. A lot more to clean. A lot more to put away.
When I think of last year at this time I’m embracing every second of our current life… but I’ve also fallen in love with minimalism all over again. If our home wasn’t decluttered at the start of this, we wouldn’t be thriving right now. We would simply be trying to make it through each day.
My biggest revelation on this journey to simplify our lives has been this. If you want to have less laundry to do, you have to have less clothing. If you want to have fewer dishes to wash, you need to have fewer dishes, and if you want to spend less time putting away the toys you need to reduce the number of toys you own.
That’s it. Minimalism magic. But not really. There isn’t anything magical about it. It’s very simple and easy. I just hadn’t been able to wrap my brain around it when our home was so full of stuff.
I’ve noticed if we set up systems in our house that allow us to be lazy, we will be lazy. If we own an excessive amount of dishes and cups we will continue to reach for another one from the cabinet instead of rinsing out the water glass we used an hour ago. We also don’t give them the care they deserve. Dishes don’t make it to the sink when we know we can just grab another out of the cupboard.
The systems that allow us to be lazy in the moment actually end up creating so much more work for us in the long run.
Our house is not picture perfect clean all the time. Absolutely 100 percent not. Quite the opposite really. But I’ve also learned to let go a bit and change the way I view the messes. Since we have less, it’s not going to take the time it once did to reset it. I know we can get things back to good quickly. This quote by Rachelle Crawford says it all, “Minimalism doesn’t mean always tidy, it just means easily tidied.”
I’ve also changed the way I view certain messes. Our playroom is messy, or through my adult eyes would be seen as such. But it’s not due to excessive toys mindlessly strewn everywhere. It’s a magical land that my son and daughter created using magnatiles, stuffed animals, figurines, legos, blocks, train tracks, pieces of cardboard, paper and felt. It’s a game setup they created and play happily for hours together with. The goal in all this. The end result in reducing their toys and being selective in what comes into our home to encourage creativity and collaborative play has happened. We’ve arrived.
I feel so blessed that we discovered this way of living and it’s allowing me to see this time when our nest is so full in such a positive way. Had our home been crammed with useless inventory for me to manage throughout all of this I might not be able to maintain a state of such gratitude for our life.
Our home is no longer full of unnecessary stuff. It’s full of incredible people and it’s wonderful.
About the Author: Nikki Cox is a mommy of two striving to clear away the clutter both physical and emotional so she can live life with intention and clarity. Find her at Lovelylucidlife.com.