Many a time when I have put together the Monday Mini Mission posts I have included a mission about adjusting your possession to reflect your current situation. I mostly relate this to changes in locality, particularly ones that includes a climate change. For example thick winter jackets become clutter were you move to a warmer climate. I am very familiar with this concept having been through this process several time during the somewhat transient nature of my twenty five years of marriage.
There is another perhaps even more radical change that families go through that warrants some serious decluttering and that is when the children leave home. Yet in my experience no such transformation takes place in many households. Ten years, twenty years or even more later the home is still containing sufficient equipment to constantly cater to a full household. This isn’t so bad if there were originally just two children in the family but if there were four or five what was once constantly useful has become clutter 90% of the time.
This post relates closely to Tuesday’s post about over catering for guest except that it often stretches further than just the linen closet, pantry and kitchen cupboards. Some grandparents houses contain enough toys, children’s books, board games, televisions, luggage, old unused sporting equipment, toiletries, stationery and even space than is sensible to maintain. This is especially so as age creeps up on us. It is simply a fact that as we get older keeping cleanliness and order just gets harder.
Now back to the concept of ~ “…what was once constantly useful has become clutter 90% of the time.” Once the children leave home there is a good chance that if they haven’t moved somewhere just down the street or across town they are going to want to come home to visit. Even with the possibility that they will eventually have your grandchildren in tow that doesn’t mean you need to have a houseful of stuff all year while most of it is only being used occasionally when family arrive to visit. With three or four adults in the home during visits to maintain order the household can run efficiently with less stuff for short periods of time.
Here are some examples ~
- You don’t need a ten seat dining suite. When the guests arrive sit the adults around the ~ smaller more appropriate for you ~ table and let the kids eat in front of the TV or bring in the outdoor setting in for them to sit at. This will probably become one of the things the grandchildren love about coming to grandmas.
- You only need enough cutlery and crockery to cater to yourselves and your visitors at one sitting. They can be washed and dried before the next meal. If something needs reusing in the same sitting then give it a quick rinse.
- When the grandchildren come to visit I will almost guarantee they will bring plenty of entertainment with them. iPods, PSPs, Nintendo DS’s, perhaps a book to read and maybe even iPads or laptops. So there is really no need to stock enough toys to cater for them living there permanently. I remember visiting my grandparents when I was young and we always managed to entertain ourselves with the few toys they had to offer. We mostly made our own fun, digging in the dirt, pottering around discovering what was in the back sheds, helping bake, visiting other relatives, playing with the kids next door who we only saw two or three times a year and going to the local park to play on the swings.
- We discussed towels, sheets and other bedding on Tuesday so we should be savvy about that now. In the event that lots of visitors converge at once they can always bring sleeping bags for the kids who can then camp out together on the lounge room floor or the sofas.
- One pot cooking is a great way to cater for guests with the odd roast dinner thrown in and a takeout meal every now and again to relieve the pressure of a kitchen that isn’t overflowing with equipment.
- People generally bring their own toiletries so there is no need to be overstocked in this area. An extra bar of soap or two should be all you need.
- When you had a houseful of kids attending school it always paid to carry a good stock of stationery items However those days are gone and now this equipment rarely leaves the home so just the few items you use all the time and a couple of spare pens is all you will likely need.
So if you are in this position ~ where the kids have left home or even if the kids have just moved to another stage in life within the home~ take a look around you home and determine what you really need 90% of the time and minimise the rest.
Today’s Mini Mission
Declutter tools or equipment you rarely if ever use. Consider that you could borrow these items when you are in need from those who do actually use theirs. In some cases these items are so expensive that it would be cheaper to pay someone to do the job for you when the rare occasion arrises rather than maintain ownership.
Today’s Declutter Item
Let’s face in the unlikely event that we were to have so many guests that we didn’t have enough wine glasses I am sure no one would mind drinking from our water glasses. These two glass are odd ones out and excess to our usual requirement so they are off to the thrift store.
Eco Tip For The day
Consider online magazine subscription rather than wasting paper.
“In daily life we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy.” Brother David Steindl-Rast