If you know me, you know that I love a good excuse to declutter. I have been thinking over the past few days about whether I would gear up for the now-traditional 40 bags in 40 days, a major Lenten decluttering project. As I looked around my closet this morning, I realized that I need to take this in a slightly different direction. After 4 years of valiant decluttering (and a fun basement flood to help us along), I think that we have moved past the point of needing to pitch the things that we don’t use, and now instead we could do a better job of caring for and making use of the things that we have in our home. I thought about having a 40 days of clean up and contain, intense organization, giving a day over to one little area of my house at a time, but I actually think that at this point I need to dig a little deeper and be very thoughtful, so I am going to give myself more time and do fewer projects with more consideration and even some prayer. During Lent I will tackle 5 important areas of my home and life to organize, meditate and improve. Each project will be given about a week.
1. My closet:
As I spend about a week organizing my closet, I am going to think hard about what I wear and how it reflects who I am, how it works (or doesn’t) for my life as a mother of seven now that I am out of the house more. How does it impact my growing children’s idea of a woman? Do I store my clothing in a way that will extend its wear? Do I have a plan for cleaning/repairing/replacing things, including shoes and jewelry? Do I buy things that I don’t really need or do I make a list and buy intentionally?
2. My schoolroom:
Do the bookshelves meet the needs of the family, or are they just filled with things that have been there for 4 years? Does the furniture arrangement suit the way that the children are learning now? Is our time in the school room cheerful and productive? Do the children have the tools they need, and are they accessible? Do they feel ownership over the space? Can we finish the year efficiently and joyfully, and work well so that we have lots of time to play when the weather improves?
3. My pantry and kitchen:
Do we have a plan for how we eat and buy our food? Do we use most of the food that we buy? Is it healthy? Is it convenient? How can the children help more with menu planning and meal preparation? How can meals be more joyful for our family and less of a chore? Do any simple tools need replacement?
4. The Garage:
With spring approaching, do we have a system for the kids to get toys and bikes out, and then back in to the garage? Do any bikes need repair? Are any bikes outgrown, do those children have time to save up for a new bike? What about helmets? Why can we never find them when we need them? What garden chores will need to be done in early spring? Do we need to repair or maintain the lawnmower, sharpen or clean trimmers, etc? Are there old chemicals in the garage, and how do we safely dispose of them?
5. The Laundry Room:
Do we have a laundry system that is working for us? Why do we lose so many socks? Do the kids wear the clothes they have, and take care of them? What do they need for the next season? What about sheets and towels? Do we have a system for washing them and getting them put away? How can the children take more responsibility in this area?