Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Spillover Effect

It is amazing to me the spill over effect one small change can make.

Recently I purged my Littles' clothes. I have a couple of large bags of clothes ready to be given away. The Littles now each have seven outfits plus three pairs of pyjamas. That's it. All of their clothes fit into one load of laundry. This has simplified my life so much! One load - if every piece of clothes they own is dirty! I'm contemplating reducing even further, down to four outfits each since they tend to pick the same clothes over and over anyway.

I purged my dishes as well. I now have 4 dinner plates, 7 lunch plates and 7 bowls plus glasses and utensils. I got rid of my ancient, Teflon-flaking pots and bought a set of pots. They all fit together nicely in the cupboard. I purged my appliances and only kept what I use.  As a result we can actually get a pot or appliance out of the cupboard without risking a bruise or broken toe.

Two small actions. One huge result. Because all of the laundry can fit into one load I am staying on top of laundry. Because I'm staying on top of laundry I have more time. Because the dishes *have* to be done after every meal if we want plates to eat off of for the next meal then my dishes are done most of the time. No more overwhelming pile of crusted on dishes greet me in the morning. Because I'm staying on top of the dishes I have more time. More time to battle the clutter that life brings in, more time to spend with my kids and my friends, more time to read, more time to spend building a future, more time getting healthier. 
This time is such a gift to me. 

My entire parenting career has been marred by an overwhelming "need" for more hours in a day. I have realized I don't need more time. I need balance.

Balance is what I am striving for. I have never been good at balance. I have always been "all or nothing" about everything. There is no half-way. I go all out, give more than 100% and then, more often than not, I burn out and fail. This cycle sends me spiraling downward in depression. I have had enough of that. I want balance.

My new plan is 75%. If I can accomplish 75% of what I want, achieving 75% toward perfection, 75% of the time then that is good enough.

One small change, the purging of some kid clothes, has spilled over into other choices that have improved my life so much. It has help bring balance and perspective. It's amazing what a choice can do.