|Good grief . . . where do I begin? . . .|
I can't believe it has been nearly two months since my last post. So much has happened since then . . . when last we talked, we were still in the midst of our flooring disaster. Since then, we have, happily, got all the flooring and carpeting installed, the house back in order, have been vendors in the large antique show here in Spokane, The Farm Chicks and have had our youngest son graduate high school, while he was fighting a serious case of mono. It has been a series of ups and downs, highs and lows, exhaustion and exhilaration.
During all of this, as we tore up one room and prepared to move to the next, we would have to gather up the belongings of each room and put them somewhere else. It became overwhelming . . . not just a little, but . . . if there is such a thing, it was "overwhelmingly overwhelming!" Where did all this stuff come from? How had our house become so . . . shall we say . . . obese?!
Then, after The Farm Chicks, we decided to take some of our earnings from the show and finally fix our truck . . . it has been sitting for over a year waiting for us to have the resources to get it fixed. Our oldest son is in the diesel mechanics program, and his best buddy, Woody, is also a mechanic. So we agreed it would be great to have them fix it for us . . . which meant they would need a place in our shop to work. So once again, we decided to move things and get it cleaned up . . . only to notice our shop had also become disgustingly obese. It seemed, between all the stuff in the house and all the stuff in the shop, we were being overtaken by stuff. When I get overwhelmed, I get the fight or flight mentality . . . it was so tempting to opt for flight . . . to panic and just leave the mess . . . perhaps go shopping for more stuff, rather than stay home and deal with the immensity of the problem.
But instead, I took a deep breath and began to buckle down . . . and put our house . . . and our entire farm on a diet. I wish there was a way to weigh the house before and after . . . along with the shop, garage and outbuildings. I am sure it must have been thousands of pounds lost! At first, I was very selective about what would go . . . and then, as I gave away more and more, I realized a freedom was being gained with less stuff. We made so many trips to Goodwill, it became an embarrassment . . . so we would sometimes drive a bit further to go to a different "drop" center so they would not marvel that we were back yet again.
In our bedroom, I managed to get rid of a dresser and probably half the contents in our armoire and closet. In the keeping room, I traded out our large china cabinet for a smaller, more fitting sized one and I also lost another cupboard that was overwhelming our dining room. This, of course, meant much of the contents of these cupboards also needed to go away. In our laundry room, I decided to get rid of our much loved set of retro gym lockers . . . while they were very cool looking, they simply dwarfed the room and made it feel crowded. Finding a place for 24 gym locker drawers worth of stuff proved interesting and in the end, probably 75 percent of it went to Goodwill. The lockers were a hit item at The Farm Chicks and my dresser will be for sale in our "Pickin' on the Prairie" Antique Show, here on the farm in August.
|If you happen to be in the Spokane area|
August 17th and 18th, be sure to come pay us
a visit at our "Pickin' on the Prairie"Antique Show
here at Past Blessings Farm
In the living room, we decided we could get rid of a chest, get a smaller cabinet for our stereo and lose a lot of the nick-knacks and trinkets. These too, will be being sold at "Pickin' on the Prairie." The more of this I removed, the more motivated I was to get rid of more . . . in our shop, we lost another chest, another dresser, old skis and ski boots, bikes and so much more.
I did an estate sale in April and as I went through box after box of "stuff" and drawer after drawer of unneeded items, I realized what a burden I would someday be leaving for my children. I want to save for my kids heirlooms and keepsakes . . . not messes and chaos. Soon after this, I went to an estate sale put on by the overwhelmed son of a hoarder . . . set on over an acre, the property was stuffed with tons of old tools, corrugated sheet metal, boxes, bins, buckets and so much more. As a "picker" who loves rusty old stuff, this was great fun and I found some amazing things for The Farm Chicks . . . but I had a real sympathy for the poor man dealing with the chaos his father had left for him as an inheritance. Once again, I was convicted to not do this to my children.
We are still in the process, though the light at the end of the tunnel is getting very close and bright. I am now down to one last room . . . the most overwhelming room yet . . . but having moved forward this far, I am not intimidated. It is . . . drum roll, please . . . my "Hoarders Room." This is what was supposed to be my studio . . . an organized spot where my creative juices could flow and people would go into this room and "Ooo" and "Ahh" at my creations . . . but, three years after moving in, it had instead become the catch all room. The room where anything you don't know what it is or where it belongs goes. The room that holds everything from tools, china, things in need of repair, keepsake and "what the heck is that?!" I get on Pinterest or read magazines and think . . . "Oh, I could make that" and end up keeping so many things I could never possibly use in one lifetime. I float from one creative idea to another . . . I can do scrapbooking . . . I can do collage . . . and quilting . . . and painting . . . and sculpting . . . and carving . . . and . . . and . . .
Well, you get the picture . . . I was becoming the woman on TV . . . you know, the pathetic woman on "Hoarding: Buried Alive" who tries desperately to explain why she NEEDS 500 magazines from 1976 and 200 golf balls. So maybe my problem wasn't golf balls, but could I really justify the thousands of pieces of fabric I had . . . or the countless old books, sheet music and glitter . . . for the collages I had never made. So this room will be conquered next. Already, I have went through and donated tons of fabric to our church for a ladies group that makes quilts for missions. And the sheet music and old books will become someone else's treasure at "Pickin' on the Prairie" . . . and so much more will find it's way to Goodwill and the dump.
I have an incredibly cool piece in my hoarders room . . . er, studio . . . that has 27 drawers . . . it looks like something that Ike Godsey might have had in his store on the Walton's. It needs some work . . . well, truth be known, a lot of work . . . but it is way too cool to ever let it go. So over the next couple weeks, my goal is to conquer my disaster and make each of these drawers usable and fill them with only things I will use. I have a nice storage armoire in this room, that I hope to empty over the course of this "extreme diet" I am putting my room on. It too, will be going to "Pickin' on the Prairie." As a reward, I will purchase an amazing wood art table I have been dreaming of from World Market . . . a piece with no storage, but that will work great for making my signs . . . projects that I actually DO complete, as opposed to all the projects I had imagined myself doing all these years. I am purposely choosing a piece without storage, because I want a look that is clean and simple and does not give me the chance to become a hoarder once again . . .
As I sit here typing my blog, my husband is contentedly snoozing on our new living room carpet . . . before drifting off, he looked up and told me happily, "I love being home when our house is clean." I realize that keeping a home that is neat and orderly brings to fruition a life that is neat and orderly. If we want a life that is filled with peace, we need to live in a peaceful space. As I look around, I do not miss the extra trinkets . . . in fact, I have to search my mind to remember what they even were. Instead, I see only my hand chosen, carefully edited pieces . . . things that have passed the "If you don't love it, get rid of it" test. And, I think of the peace I have brought to my children . . . the ability to find a roll of tape or a stapler right off the bat . . . the sense of "a place for everything and everything in it's place." And, I think of the days to come, when my husband and I are dead and gone . . . they won't have to take load after load to the dump . . . or complain about the disaster we left them. Instead, they can simply choose what they want to keep, sell the rest, sweep up and move on. And the Buckingham family will never have to gain it's claim to fame from being on "Hoarding: Buried Alive."
Girlfriends, I have repeatedly told you how important it is to make our homes a haven. I have always believed that . . . but I have been the overweight woman telling you the importance of eating right. Now, I come to you from the other side . . . the side of seeing the peace and basking in the calm that it brings. Loving and serving the Lord brings me an inner peace that can compare to nothing else. And having peaceful surroundings only adds to this peace . . . it clears my mind and allows me to be more aware of and focus on the blessings God has given me. So today, I challenge each of you to clear your life of the excess so instead you can focus on the things that matter . . . your family, your friends and above all else, your daily walk with the Lord.
Wishing you a happy heart, filled with peace and order . . .
P.S. I will post pictures of our home soon . . . I am really quite proud of how it looks . . . but we have a bit more molding to finish up! Can't wait to show you!