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Declutter part 2, and a new FHE

October 12, 2010

So my plan to completely declutter the entire house this summer was an abject failure.  I guess you could say I got interested in genealogy again (massive understatement there!) and well…there went the summer.

I tend to be rather single-minded about projects.  I sometimes wish I weren’t.  Sometimes I would like to have lots of different projects going on at once and be able to spend a little bit of time on all of them in any given week.  There are just so many things I want to do!  But I just don’t work that way, or don’t work well that way.  And maybe that’s for the best.  Maybe it’s better to really focus my energy and thought processes on one big thing at a time.  Lately, that big thing has been school.

And the house looks it.

For once the planets aligned and D’s Kindermusik class and all of my cello students are on fall break at once.  So we are too, we’re taking this entire week off.  The only place I have to go in the next 5 days is orchestra tonight.  So we’re going to clean.

I really did have good intentions this summer to declutter, but I never really made a plan beyond “declutter the house.”  I never broke it down and that one big plan was just so overwhelming that I didn’t know where to start.  So now I’ve broken that big plan into some smaller, more manageable goals for this week.  I know that there is no way I can get through the whole house.  Maybe if the kids went away for a week and I didn’t have a nursing baby…

But I’ve identified about fourteen hot spots and I think maybe I can take care of those.  I suppose I could post before and after pictures, but the befores would be way too embarrassing right now.  Just trust me when I say it’s bad.  How do we accumulate this much stuff anyway???  I ask this every year, at least once, and I feel like I’ve been much more vigilant about what comes into the house.  But the fact still remains that it does come in and starts to add up over time.

So, that’s my plan for the week.

Hopefully the rest of the week won’t go like yesterday did.  I signed up to feed the missionaries last night, forgetting that DH had to go to work at 6 p.m.  He called them and they agreed to come at 4:45 instead of 5:00 and we’d have a quick dinner.  So then we had to get the dining room (also school, computer, and music room) presentable for company, and it was far from it.  That was not at the top of my to-do list and somehow it seemed to take the entire day just to clean off the table and work out something for dinner.  DH was also home all day and somehow we distract each other and don’t accomplish as much.

At 3:30 DH was called and asked to come in at 5:00 instead of 6:00 so he arranged with the missionaries to just drop by at 4:45 and we’d send plates of food home with them.  He hadn’t yet showered so he proceeded to get ready for work and I had to quit cleaning to focus on finishing the dinner by myself, barely in time to send home with the missionaries.  Then we ate our own dinner and even though it was quite an early dinner time for us, I spent the rest of the evening taking care of children, and the dining room table still isn’t clean.  It’s a lot cleaner though, and we did clean up the entire kitchen together after dinner.

My new goal there is to not go to bed with dishes in the sink.  Without a dishwasher and even with very helpful children who wash their own dishes, there is always something left in the sink almost every single night.  This counts as clutter to my mind and clutter begets clutter.  So as tired as I may be after feeding, bathing, and getting to bed a baby and three other children by myself if DH is working, I will wash all the dishes every night.  That’s been a challenge the last few months.

Also challenging is doing Family Home Evening without DH.  I really hate it when he’s gone on Monday nights.  You’d think we could work out FHE at an alternate time or day, but we never do.  But I think we’ve hit upon a winning strategy.  After singing an opening song and reviewing all of our memory scriptures for this year, we all took turns sharing something we’d read in our scriptures recently.  It turned out so well!  Everyone had something to say, the Spirit was there, and it was wonderful.  We tried this a few weeks back by taking turns telling our favorite scripture story and it was wonderful then too, although we were outside and had to keep E from eating the grass which was what he really wanted to do.

I remember hearing my dad in a stake conference several years back recommending a marvelous way to do family home evening.  That is having everyone read a general conference talk and then come together to discuss it for family home evening.  I think when he said that, our boys were too young to read and so we didn’t put that into practice at the time, but I’ve always remembered that counsel and I think we’re about to the point we could get everyone their own copy of the conference Ensign and put that into practice.  I’ve loved seeing how each of the boys enjoys contributing when they know that their thoughts and comments will be listened to and valued.  Not to mention that it amazes me to hear what comes out of their mouths when asked to share gospel insights.  It humbles me sometimes to look at these boys I’m raising and see what they’re becoming.

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