Tuesday, April 19, 2011

My Long Road to Simplicity

 I come from a long, long line of  frugal women. My grandmothers both made incredible homes, loving through many difficult days, one in Africa, and one in America. I have learned from their example, and yet I am still learning their secrets. They used what they had on had in creative ways. I have had to learn to get rid of enough stuff to even see what I had to work with. Now, I have gotten rid of 75 huge bags countless large pieces of furniture and tons of stress from our 1225 sq foot duplex last year. As of this year, I have gotten rid of approximately 10 more bags and three huge pieces of furniture. We haven’t lacked anything and I have a new vision for being a minimalist on “stuff” and a maximist (my new word) on people and children. I literally have tons more room in my home for people to come since they don’t have to trip their way to the living room. Well, most days that is true but not always with my super-mess makers.

Running a household (as it is with the sport of running) is a tremendous physical undertaking. With both kinds of running, the most important key is not the “perfect situation” but the “perfect perspective” of contentment. Every day running for sport is a good day; it is a privilege. Every day running a household is privilege and joy, regardless of challenges.

How have you overcome the challenges of your household space? I always need more ideas!! Here are a few that have worked for our kitchen.

 I got rid of enough clothing that I moved my clothes to an under the bed storage tote and moved my antique dresser from my Grandmother Jane downstairs to the kitchen. I know that a dresser in the kitchen is a little unconventional but I am so pleased with it. I use it and enjoy the memory of my grandmother all day! We keep homeschool books and supplies in it since we do most of our schooling in the kitchen.
 I do have an antique cupboard that is the reason we bought this almost-condemned duplex to restore  8 years ago. This was the one redeeming feature. Floor to ceiling, it is not huge but tall. I got rid of tons of dishes and un-needed appliances that I have been given through the years. Instead, I use it now to store food. Let's get our priorities straight - food versus stuff. I think I'll choose food, don't you? As a family of runners, we eat for survival and that means we need a lot of food storage space. I even have food stashed in the living room under an end table. I enjoy www.foodstoragemadeeasy.com for creative ideas as an added resource for you.
This is my cupboard with stainless steel dishes on the bottom for the kids to set the table. Even my 22 month old little runner enjoys running back and forth to the table setting out the plates. No worries about breakage. I purchased mine from www.lifewithoutplastic.com. These have been well worth the investment.

I have found that having a few, extremely few, quality items is freeing. I feel less stressed and overwhelmed than I did a year ago when I started this journey. And I have more time for enjoying running with the small people I love the most!

Please share your kitchen strategies...do you run in the kitchen? Treadmill placement in small houses? I am always in need of major arranging inspiration! One of my last rooms to conquer has been the kitchen. The kitchen is truly the heart of our home. Since we have severe food allergies, we cook everything from scratch. I also use the kitchen to run in with the treadmill since it has reinforced flooring. It is amazing how many purposes one can accomplish in a small space. My kitchen is approximately 14X11 in dimension. Lest you think that I am kidding when I say I have 3 feet of counter space, I am including photo proof. So be encouraged to contentment in the space where God has placed you. Several wonderful women through Above Rubies magazine and their yahoo group have encouraged me in their creative arrangements of their households. I highly recommend checking out the resources and encouragment offered through Above Rubies.

1 comment:

  1. I am very encouraged by your post! We moved into a smaller house last year and now we are moving into another small house with literally 3 feet of counter space in the kitchen (and I cook A LOT)! I am up for the challenge though after reading your blog!