A shift is happening. It is happening quietly, but I can feel it.
The air feels different. My spirit feels calm…lighter. My house feels like a person who has lost weight who one day runs up the stairs and thinks, “I’m not out of breath!” Last night as I slipped into bed I had one of those lightbulb moments. “My house is clean,” I thought, “really clean, and I didn’t scramble.” It’s not that my house was never clean in the past, it is that cleaning it consumed me. Every waking moment I’d clean and my end result was,” almost”. I definitely never, ever felt done. So what has changed?
In the past I have always felt like if only I had more I would be where I wanted to be.
I wanted more storage, more organization containers, new rugs, new towels, new clothes, new furniture, more to do lists, more time. Earlier this year I hit the frustration point that often has to break before real change can be discovered. Tired of never having enough of anything and constantly chasing tornados to keep my house picked up I decided it was time quit striving for more and I started a new mantra….
“Less, less, less.” Less in all things.
I was inspired by Jennifer Scott’s “Madame Chic” book series to try out a “capsule wardrobe.” I’ve not quite embraced her “10 piece wardrobe”, but I have followed her advice of only wearing quality clothes that I love. Everything else left my closet. The magic of this is that instead of feeling like I have less, I love everything I have and I feel as if I have gained a beautiful wardrobe. I no longer sift past things that are tired, out of style, or don’t fit. I just reach in and ask myself,
“What beautiful thing would I like to wear today?”
This step encouraged me to keep going. I recognized that I have to be the manager for every object and every surface of my home. When I looked at it this way stuff all around me started to feel really, really heavy and I thought,
“My house needs to go on a D-I-E-T!”
That is where Skinny House was born. I had a dream of living free from the weight of all of the stuff. I was tired of being a slave to the constant straighten up, clean up that was my life.The more I work through and study this process of getting my house in true order the more I realize the spiritual, and emotional connection that exists between our environment and our inner self.
Things around me either feed my soul or frustrate my soul. I am setting free all that doesn’t nourish my inner self.
This journey isn’t just about stuff, it is also about all of the cleaning.
I have joked in the past that my tombstone was going to read, “Michelle, The woman who wiped things”.
I feel like I am constantly wiping down counters, bathrooms and floors. I was expressing this frustration to our exchange student from Sweden and she said, “You know cleaning up with kids in the house is like trying to shovel in a snow storm.” “Yes!” I said, “that’s it!” The trouble is that I desperately want a clean driveway, or rather a clean house. I stepped back and was really honest with myself. The truth is that house work is never really done. When it comes to cleaning I am not a good multitasker, and I have Attention Deficit Disorder of cleaning. For example, when I am cleaning the kitchen I find something that belongs in the bedroom, so I run that up and see that the bathroom never got picked up after the morning rush. I pick up the bathroom and find something that belongs in the kids room, before I know it, it is time to leave for work and I am scrambling and hustle around frantically lest I be late.
I took the time to sit down and make a very simple plan. It needed to be so simple that I could memorize it.
One job per day. The beauty of this is that I can focus and I can get it done and then I am well…done. Free.
Rather than looking around and seeing what needs do be done I just do that days job. If the floors look bad on Tuesday I don’t worry because I know that they will get done on Thursday and that’s OK. I have a plan. Also a big part of the Skinny House way of living is the “T” in D-I-E-T, it stands for Team. So not only do I have a plan, but my kids have a plan. A simple plan. We’ve done chore charts, and ticket systems, and job cards, all of these systems fail eventually because they are complicated and they take so much hands on work. Ask my kids what job they need to do today. They know, and if they forget there is a simple chart on the bathroom mirror.
So here I am, with time to do one of my favorite things, write.
I’ve had a good breakfast and my kitchen counters are all clean. I’ve got the laundry rolling (because it is wash day) and I am going to enjoy a mug of tea and dive into my Bible study book. I recently joined a group of other self declared “creative” women, we met on Instagram. (That’s a great story I’ll save for another day.)