You are currently browsing the daily archive for July 8, 2009.

*Disclaimer – I’m stepping out on a limb posting these before pictures.  I want to make it clear that all the important areas of the cabin are very clean including dishes, bathroom, and laundry.  I do those things on a daily basis, as well as cleaning the girls’ room.  With small children, and the healing that I’ve gone through the past year it has made big projects a slow go.  Please don’t judge me harshly.

Yesterday, I spent most of the day decluttering the two most troublesome spots of our cabin – the girls’ room and our little faux closet spot.

After a day of play... I clean this mess.

After a day of play... I clean this mess.

Here is the room after one full day of play.  There is simply too much stuff for the girls to manage in play and in picking up.  Deladis is going on 4 and should be able to help somewhat in clean-up, but the sheer amount of picking up makes her stall and eventually turn away from it.  I spent three hours cleaning and sorting.  I got several bags of clothes and two large boxes of toys to take to Goodwill.  This is even after doing this very thing a few months before.

Better, but needs more work...

Better, but needs more work...

Then, I dared pull out the stuff that has been quietly sitting in our little cubby in our tiny hall for a year now, mostly untouched.

Who knows what these bags and boxes might hold?

Who knows what these bags and boxes might hold?

This area didn’t take me nearly as long.  I was done with it in two thirty minute sessions.  Most of it got to go to Goodwill. 🙂

Much better, and still more to do here.

Much better, and still more to do here.

Along with these areas, I went through the Christmas decorations being stored in the kitchen of all places and parred them down to one Rubbermaid container and the Christmas tree (being stored in my bedroom).  I also went through one of our 3 CD storage areas and moved the CDs from the jewel cases and into an album type case with the inserts.  The jewel cases go to recycling.  The CD tower goes to Goodwill.

We got a whole truckload of stuff and donated it at the closest Goodwill in Hazard.  I’m on a roll here folks.  I’m improving.  I’ve taken pictures of all the troublesome areas and will post them as I finish flushing them out.  I still want to work on the two areas I worked yesterday.  My trouble is what to do with things like the quilted crib set that my mother-in-law handmade for Deladis (bumper pads, quilt, and pillow).  We no longer need them, but it is hard to say “get rid of it” because it is something special that Deladis might want someday.  Storage for those types of things are a real problem for us.  I’m trying to get ideas.

This is definitely a release. 🙂

Naw, I ain’t trying to write potty talk.  I’ve come to the conclusion that there is nothing valuable in things unused.  What to do with all that unused stuff John and I have collected over 31 years of life?  Flush it out.  Get rid of it.  Send it to new homes.

I wrote briefly here about how I am developing a yoga practice for myself.  I’m not taking up yoga simply for physical exercise and health, but I’m looking at all the Eight Limbs of yoga.  It is challenging me to change, and giving me a blueprint for finding a spiritual peace.  To surrender to God – as the second limb Niyama calls for in terms of treating oneself in an ethical way.  I am already seeing the benefits of yoga in my mothering and the way I am approaching my priorities and goals.  It has helped me to see that I am living a cluttered life both inwardly and outwardly.  I need to flush out the junk in both the literal and figurative sense.

I’m also thinking of the needs of my girls in this decision.  Right now, Deladis tries sometimes to clean up after herself, but is rarely successful.  Both girls are overwhelmed by the amount of stuff in there room as I am.  Ivy is a very energetic child who needs activity and freedom to explore.  I’ve called her “wildcat’s kitten” here before and rowdy.  I stand corrected, however, having been told by another mother that she is “spirited”.  (Though I still prefer “wildcat’s kitten” and “rowdy” to describe her behavior.  Every child is “spirited” just gifted differently. 😉 )  The amount of clutter in the cabin makes it hard for her to safely explore and be active in family life, and it makes it hard for me to constantly watch her and keep her safe.  I’ve never been good at anticipating my girls’ needs and catering the home environment to meet them because I’m too focused on the behavior I want to nurture in them instead of the process of nurturing.

I have to find a way to accomplish my top priorities of day to day living, which are providing an environment in which my girls can learn respect and thrive in peace and beauty and creating a literal place of cleanliness, order and serenity in our home.  I want a home where the girls are actively a part of the keeping of it, and where they can take pride in responsibility and see their work as meaningful.  At this time, play and imitation are their most important jobs.  They need a place where they are free.  I need a place where I am free and my housework is meaningful in order to have more moments of true creativity.

I have made several attempts in the last year to purge us of junk.  The first being in the move to our cabin.  We threw away and donated oodles of stuff.  More recently, I’ve worked on the girls’ room, trying to organize it.  I’ve taken many boxes and bags to Goodwill.

John and I are both collectors and have been since childhood.  We collect books, music, movies, rocks, knick-knacks, wick-wacks, art, quilts, etc…  I have come to the realization that many of these things are not necessary and most wouldn’t even be missed if I got rid of them completely.  It is taking up space in our lives and stifling true growth.  Growth that goes beyond accumulated possessions.  I’m not here to pass junk onto my girls.  They will have plenty of meaningful things to keep as mementos of me when I pass on – my iron skillets, my Appalachian book collection, my quilts, my dishes and cookbooks.  Those are useful things.  Unlike CDs that are rarely listened too, shelves of movies that collect dust, and clothes that I’ve had for a coon’s age but never wear.  It is hard to rid myself of these things because I’ve been putting some sort of monetary value to them.  I keep old clothes that don’t fit thinking at some point I might need them again and won’t be able to buy more.  I keep movies we no longer watch thinking I might someday have time to list them on ebay.  It’s silly, and I am ready to stop.

When I toured the old homesteads of the Cherokee on my recent trip researching my novel, I was so inspired by the simplicity.  My goal is to bring that to my home.  Everything taking up space will be useful and/or truly meaningful.  It is going to take some time and it won’t be easy for me, but I’m going to get there.  It’s not just cleaning… it’s a spiritual exercise.

In working toward a life of self-reliance and sustainability, I’m quickly learning that material goods… the stuff of consumer culture can get in the way.  We have to lose the mindset of work and buy… work and buy.  John and I live without a lot that most people in our society would consider necessary because we don’t place a high emphasis on money and therefore we don’t buy much of anything, but that doesn’t mean that we have put aside the thoughts of needing “things”.  You have probably noticed that I haven’t posted pictures of the inside of the cabin very often, but I have plenty of the outside.  It is because I’ve been embarrassed and have found little beauty inside our dwelling.  That is about to change.  It’s my responsibility.  I’m not embarrassed anymore.  In the coming weeks, I’m going to write about how I approach this project both on a spiritual level and the physical.  I will also post before and after pictures.  I’m ready to free my family.


About Me

An Appalachian woman born and raised, mothering two little girls in a place that is non-existent to AT&T or UPS. Happily working toward a sustainable lifestyle and writing on the demand of a loud muse.

July 2009

Please Ask

I ask that you please ask for permission before copying any pictures from this site. I don't mind using quotations in part from the text (please link to this site), but if you would like to use a whole text, please contact me. I want to be generous, but I would also like to know who is using this content. Thank you!