I spoke in my last post about beginning the course Your Uncluttered Home with Allie Casazza and since the two weeks of time in August that my kids will be gone isn't really that long, and I need to throw a garage sale in there somewhere, I have begun to surface clear now. Surfaces and some accessible deeper areas too. Places that are obvious centers of overwhelm and clutter. Places like the kids art, craft and puzzles shelves in the kitchen and my craft room. The laundry room. And even some bins of kids stuff in the garage. Honestly I keep pushing just where I can so that when the time comes to go though the course lesson by lesson and room by room. I may have gotten a bit of a jump start.I have been ruthless in my purging of these spaces. I keep finding so much clutter and just stuff I bought because "I could". Stuff that now just gives me a rush of anxiety when I think of cleaning it. As opposed to the rush that it all gave me when I bought it in the first place!
My future vision for my home, is the vision I actually had in the past before our life changed to a lot of stress and anxiety. I want our home to be a place of peace. To get away from the stress of the world outside. A safe place where were can be, and love and rest. But also a place of friends, creativity, and joy. We are blessed and I want that to be the core of our life. Remembering that and being thankful that we are here. That we are all alive and together. And that Christ is the center of our home, not our stuff.
When I say I want a home for us to get away from the stress of the world, I say it because the home is usually the stress I am trying to get away from. The overwhelm of it all would cause me such anxiety that I was a better mom when not at home with the kids. Often I find myself yelling and being so unsettled. So out we would go. And we were out a lot! Avoiding the issue at its core and inevitably also bringing more "stuff" home. Which, has also been expensive!
You know that your kids have picked up on your shopping habit when their norm is to always get something when we are out. To the point of now, as I am saying no, it's hard for them. BUT, I have to start somewhere and show them there is more to life than new toys and the next "treat". I have enabled them to a life of too much while using it to feed my addiction for more. And to a certain degree I have created some entitled monsters in them too. So day by day, I am trying to be very careful where I take them and standing firm in my no means no when it comes to "treats" and sometimes explaining why and sometimes not. In the end I am the parent and I make the decisions. I am the one making the purchases. And I am so thankful that I am in a better head space now to want handle the consequences of giving them every little thing for far too long! Not to say I am handling all of this perfectly everyday. And to be very honest, most days I screw it up! I over react. I yell. I throw my own tantrum! BUT, I am trying, which is more than I can say for myself a year ago.
A few ways that I have curbed the spending and the "treats":
1.Not taking the kids grocery shopping.
2.If I do have to take them to the store, giving them a job of "the list". This list, nothing fancy, all words, gives them a job and involves them. (I do try to keep major shopping trips to kid free. But sometimes you have to take them due to a mid-week fruit shortage emergency!)
3.I also pre-load them. What to expect, is helpful. I know it is for me and I'm an adult! So why wouldn't it be a good idea to give them some sort of heads up.
5.When I say no-it means no....I stand firm and don't back down. If they start in on an outburst, when I am at my best, I will get down at their level and tell them, that if they would like to keep coming on shopping errands with me, they have to show me they can be respectful of my words. And no means no. I get that this may feel like a "yeah right, that works" answer but over time they expect it and the more reliable I am with my response, the quicker they get over it and they would rather be able to come with me again than have the "treat".
6. When it comes to my own shopping, I have started having those little talks with myself, internally of course! Asking myself, why i would buy the thing that wasn't on my list. Do I actually need it or will it end up being on the extra things that moves me away from my vision for my home.
7. I have gotten over the fear of returning things I buy.
8. I am more mindful of the stores I visit. My self control can go out the window at some of them. And if I do go in, it's to look for something specific and I prepare myself for that. Just like with the kids. I'm not joking it works!
9. I take the kids on outings that don't involve a store or an option to buy stuff. Like the park, beach, free events and friends houses. Paid things we have been going to this summer are educational and we skip the gift shop!
10. LISTS!!! I always take a list for grocery shops now! It has truly transformed the experience of going! And the total that I find on my way out!
11. Meal planning and prepping are huge too! This comes before my list making as I am trying to work my way through our huge store of a pantry...it's stupid how much is there, and I have been doing so much better with the grocery budget and shops when I make conscious decisions about what I need to get verses what I already have at home.
I am not saying rewards and treats are a bad thing. Or that I will never buy anything ever again. I just know that for me and mine, that way of shopping became the norm. They weren't the once in a while things. They were every trip out things! And that is NOT reality! And in the end, it just caused more tension in our house. From our finances to our space. Longterm it gave us nothing. If anything it took from us. But I allowed it.
And so these are just a few new "ways" I have been holding onto to, to begin dealing with the root of the issues while I begin to unclutter the house.
So far, I think it's going quite well!