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Our Temporary Chaos

Our life has been a bit chaotic this past month.

We started the first phase of our home renovation on August 22. (And, when I say we, I really mean my husband, my role in all of this is to serve as the cleaning crew and do some painting!)

We put in a wall between our kitchen and hallway, are replacing floors in the hall, kitchen and dining area, plan to take down a partial wall in the kitchen, rearrange our cabinets, put in a gas oven and redo the backsplash.

We’re over a month in and it’s just been a hall renovation so far. We’ve ripped out the tile in the hall. Doing that caused us to find that at some point our return air unit had leaked so there was moisture in the sub floor. This caused the flooring to temporarily come to a halt and we had to bring in an HVAC professional. We’re thankful it doesn’t have to be entirely replaced but it’s currently sitting in our carport, waiting to be re-installed.

Cecilia's Room

Our home has been a bit unsettled these past few weeks. Cecilia’s room holds the entire contents of one of the hall closets and other things from the other two smaller ones. We also have some of the new hardwood flooring in her room and a box of miscellaneous home improvement items.

Hall

Our hall is half painted, mostly floored and we’ve been shuffling tools and other flooring items around in the hall.

Bathroom

The bathroom that is right off of the hall is serving as extra storage space.

Carport

Now, add to this chaos a carport that is half full of flooring, sub flooring, some ripped out tile and a table saw.

Yard Sale Stuff

The other half of the carport contains yard sale items. I’ve been decluttering like crazy over the past couple of months and have decided to have a yard sale so our boys can raise money for a giving initiative at our church. Plus, our boys typically park their bikes in the carport so we’ve literally had to cut out a path just to get to our vehicles some days.

Backyard

Our riding mower is in the shop and our push mower is currently needing repair so our yard looks like a hayfield. (The picture doesn’t look so bad but trust me, it’s tall!)

And, to top all of this off, my husband was sick ALL weekend Friday-Monday. Really sick. He attempted to do some flooring Friday afternoon which I’m convinced made everything worse. And, let’s be honest, lawn mower repair and flooring fall entirely on him because I lack those skills.

So, things are currently quite messy, cluttered and the yard looks awful.

However, I am at peace with the current situation because I know it’s temporary.

This is a huge step for me. My natural bent is perfectionism. In the past, tall grass, a carport full of junk and a house in the midst of home renovation would have made me miserable and absolutely unpleasant to be around.

While I have to admit, most of it is visually unsettling to me (clutter/chaos causes me to feel a bit stressed), I am able to move beyond my feelings in regards to the mess. In those moments it starts to bother me, I remember that a home renovation is a temporary time of chaos, we’re having a yard sale this Saturday and what doesn’t sell will immediately be donated and we soon shall have our mower back and the grass will be cut.

This past Sunday, our pastor talked over some current bad cultural lessons and one of those lessons we believe is that life is a performance.

My perfectionism has been driven by this.

I was trying to please and be found worthy by being perfect. As an adult, it shifted from grades and extracurricular performance to trying to keep my home and yard perfect and appear to have things all together.

Thankfully, the desire to perform has been identified and no longer drives me.

Perfect doesn’t exist. Life is messy, life is cluttered, life is imperfect.

And, while it may be hazardous (ha, ha) to have anyone in our home during this season of temporary chaos, I’m not embarrassed by what anyone may think of the mess and disorder that is currently our home.

Don’t be so caught up in trying to perform and be found worthy that you live your life for other people. Life is not a performance. 

Cloth Christmas Bags

Trying to have a ‘green’ Christmas isn’t easy.  Over the past few years, I’ve been taking steps towards using green wrapping. I try to use recycled materials like newspapers and paper that comes in packages as well as reusing gift bags we’ve been given the previous year.

One of my favorite ways to wrap presents is using cloth Christmas bags which can be reused over and over, making them very ‘green’.

Making cloth Christmas bags is so simple. Mine are not super fancy and the edges aren’t serged but they’re adorable and I love that they’ll be reused over and over in our family.

The best part, they cost nothing but about an hour of time – I had several different Christmas fabrics in my fabric stash.

Cloth Christmas Bag Fabric

Step 1: Cut out your fabric in a rectangular shape. The size doesn’t matter, just base it upon how big you want your finished bags. I made several bags of varying sizes to hold both large and small gifts.

Hem Fabric

Step 2: Hem the edges of the fabric that will become the top of the bag. This step makes them look much neater.

Fold Fabric

Step 3: Fold your rectangle over with the hemmed edges touching and sew up the sides.

Cloth Christmas Bag

Step 4: You’ve sewn a cloth Christmas bag! All that’s left now is finding the perfect gift to place in your bag and tying it up with a ribbon.

Gift in Cloth Christmas Bag

Isn’t this cute? I used scrap ribbon (mostly ‘recycled’ from gifts I’ve received in the past) to tie up my bags.

Unwrapping Presents

We’ve been using cloth Christmas bags a few years now and love that they help prevent waste.

Are you taking any steps towards a ‘green’ Christmas? If so, what are you doing? 

I’ve been busy during the month of October working through 31 Days to Living Intentionally Simple which was written and worked through originally last October. My home was in desperate need of some attention, decluttering and cleaning so I’ve been working on the daily projects.

One thing about simplifying over 31 days is the daily projects really are manageable. Most projects have been completed in 30 minutes and a few of the more involved ones have all taken less than 2 hours!

Here are some results from my efforts to simplify:

Clean Fridge

The project from Day 2 was Simplifying in the Kitchen. This involved cleaning out the fridge, freezer and pantry. Let me tell you, those spaces needed some work. The biggest area of improvement was the refrigerator. I love a clean, well organized fridge, it really helps to prevent food waste and it’s nice opening it up and not seeing a jumbled mess!

Messy Master

My master bedroom had once again become a clutter zone. It needed help and 3 days (day 5, 6 & 8) were spent in the master. The first project was simply to remove everything that didn’t belong in the master. This meant all the folded laundry was put away, toys and children’s books were removed, the storage tote with clothes that no longer fit our boys was removed, along with other random stuff that was in our room. By the time everything that didn’t belong was gone, the difference was amazing! I could have ignored the next 2 projects and the room would have seemed clean but I went ahead and purged the closet and dresser and tidied the room even more over the next 2 project days.

Tidy Master

The result of my 3 days of work in the master is a nice, tidy room that is relaxing and not cluttered with all kinds of random stuff. I’ve been removing everything that doesn’t belong in this room daily which has really helped me to maintain the neatness in our master. If you do nothing else in your master, just try removing the things that don’t belong there and you’ll see it makes a huge difference!

Decluttered Stuff

This is a pile of everything that has been decluttered so far in October. That laundry hamper and bag are both full of random stuff but it’s all leaving my house forever!

Problem Zone

I shared on my Facebook page a few weeks ago this problem zone. This sewing desk has been sitting in a corner in our dining room for a couple of months and anytime we have an empty, purposeless space, it attracts stuff. So, things had been accumulating.  I’ve put several things back where they belong, broke down the large box to recycle and returned a few borrowed items back to their owners.

Improving Problem Zone

Here is the space now, not completely clutter free just yet but I’m definitely making progress. Some of what remains is just because of laziness – we haven’t taken the time to put the items where they belong. An example, that white sign, which says ‘Splish Splash’ was painted for our bathroom and we just haven’t taken the time to hang it up!

I hope this scene reminds you that while we do live simply, we’re not perfect and still have problem areas! But, baby steps are the key in conquering the clutter.

Have you been doing any of the 31 Days to Living Intentionally Simple projects? Are you noticing a difference in your home? 

The past few months, I’ve been slowing down with blogging, social media and time spent on the Internet in general. I’ve posted sporadically a few times these past two months but mostly have taken a break from this space.

It’s been nice to have a break, to take all pressure off of myself that I have to write something and just focus on being a mama.

The nice things about breaks, they leave you refreshed and excited! While, I don’t plan on jumping in and posting multiple times a week, I am excited to start posting a bit more regularly and have all kinds of topics to write about swirling around in my head.

One of the things I’m most excited about for October is revisiting 31 Days to Living Intentionally Simple which I wrote last October. There’s a small project each day to help you declutter, simplify and organize your life. The changing of the seasons has me desiring to go through my home and simplify more in preparation for the holidays.  I plan to share about my progress on my Intentionally Simple Facebook page (and maybe a blog post or two!)

If you’re desiring a simpler home, join me! It’s amazing how a small project each day really adds up to a simplified home by the end of the month. If you’re curious what the projects are, here’s the link to a list of all of them: 31 Days to Living Intentionally Simple.

And, I’m interested in what topics would you like to see me writing about?