I had kind of a "DUH!" moment last weekend, as I was cleaning and unpacking from our trip to the beach. As I unpacked six, yes SIX pairs of flip-flops (3 were mine; 3 were C’s) and 4 suitcases full of clothes, it occurred to me that if we didn’t have so much
crap stuff, it wouldn’t be so hard to keep up with everything around here.
I like to consider myself somewhat of a minimalist. Yeah, yeah. Kindly contain your smirks and your guffaws. Really. I don’t like clutter. I don’t have a lot of knick-knacks sitting around. I get rid of clothes and toys and baby gear as soon as I’m done using it. I like my home to be neat and tidy, although that’s an uphill battle that I rarely win.
But as I was putting the house back together after being gone for a few days, I got to thinking about how we set ourselves up for this rat race. As I vacuumed my house, I thought, you know, it would be less work to clean this house if it were smaller. My house is not huge by today’s standards, but it could be configured differently to conserve space. I mean, who uses formal living and dining rooms anymore?
As I was unpacking clothes from our trip, I thought, you know, I wouldn’t have so much laundry to do if we didn’t have so many clothes. Again, I’m not one of those who has closets and drawers overflowing with clothes, believe it or not. I like to shop, but I’m quite organized. If we haven’t worn something in a year, it’s promptly given away. If it’s too small or out of season, it’s packed up or given away. We wear everything in our closets. And still, I feel inundated with laundry. In simpler times and places, people just don’t have so many clothes.
And the shoes. Am I ever done picking up the shoes!?
And as I was picking up what seems to be an endless array of toys strewn from one end of the house to the other, I thought, you know, I wouldn’t have so much to pick up if we didn’t have so many toys. Once again, we do not have one of those homes that looks like Toys-R-Us puked in here. I daresay we do not have even half the toys that most people with three children have. But still. We have too much. My kids don’t even appreciate what they have because they have so much. Who am I kidding, I don’t even appreciate what we have half the time.
I don’t know what the answer is. I’m not contemplating some drastic lifestyle change, although perhaps I should. It was just one of those "DUH!" moments when I realized that part of the reason I feel overwhelmed by housekeeping and why our culture feels so overwhelmed by keeping up with our busy lives is that we just have too much stuff!
Perhaps I can remember this the next time I’m at the mall and see that cute top that I just have to have. Or when I am tempted to buy one more toy for a pleading child. You’re not holding your breath, are you? Well, I don’t suppose I am either. But still, it’s something to contemplate.