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.

13 comments:

  1. This is a great post, Andra! I'm going to share it.

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  2. Best quote I've remembered is "Practice makes Progress" not Perfect. I think you've got it right with 75% is just fine. I love that you had the willpower to pare down their clothes! I'm more attached to my kids stuff than they are, so purging is difficult here.

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  3. Thanks for sharing it Sheila!

    Julia - I find myself way too attached to the Littles' toys. That will be the next purge if I can get brave enough!

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  4. I was sent over by Sheila, and my oh my .. has this post inspired me to do the very same! Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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  5. Very inspiring! I love the idea of purging the kids clothes. Mine don't have a lot, but it's probably still too much. We certainly don't need it all!

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  7. I came here courtesy of Sheila too. I go through periodic purges, but with 6 people plus frequent others in a 5 bdrm house, there is ALWAYS too much stuff - and still not always enough necessities for everybody! I'm not sure where to start simplifying... we can't downsize the family, but I guess we should be saving for a bigger house. Your post gave me a brainwave though! I will put away the extra dishes (usually have 6 at dinner) so I must do dishes immediately. I can always pull out extras when company comes. :) Thanks for the encouragement.

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  8. I have too much stuff in my house. I know it saps time and energy. I have been slowly purging and am encouraged every time I read of someone's success.

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  9. "I need balance"... no truer words were said... Thank you for your thought inspiring post.

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  10. Thanks for sharing this! I just spent the afternoon cleaning out our upstairs. A lot of it was just trash or recycle, and once that was out of the way, I could see the actual possessions. I was able to sort out some old puzzles and board games and get rid of things that were no longer working. I feel more calm every time I go up there. Now to tackle my own bedroom...

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  11. this is great!!!! Less is so much more. It is counter cultural but so essential if you dont want to loose your mind keeping up with "everyone else"

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  12. What a great philosophy! My second child has just turned one and I'm trying to get back in control of my time and energy. This has definitely given me some food for thought and just what I needed to read right now. Thanks!

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