Living small in the city with a family of five as I do, often means that our household can look well, ‘fairly lived in’. Cluttered, is another term that comes to mind, and rather consistently so I might add. Julie from Country Living by the Sea recently did a post on clutter and living simply, and just what it all meant to her. This got me thinking…Does leading a simple life really mean less clutter?
I too strive for a simple uncluttered life and yet, I never, ever seem to achieve it.
Despite being careful with what comes through our doors, constant reassessing of what is needed and wanted, ample op-shop giving away, secondhand selling and generally just being mindful of ‘stuff’ levels. It still seems to mount up.
So what makes up the bulk of our household clutter?
My kids play– that’s what they do best. Lego pieces, craft projects, cubbies of various blankets and cushions. It’s a steady stream that really is an indication of them having fun and using their imagination. Fun, it really can be cluttered.
I cook– my bench tops are full of proofing bread, fermenting foods, and seasonal foods ready to be turned into family meals for the day. In a small kitchen, of course this amount of activity is going to make things look cluttered. I don’t have a dishwasher, or cleaner…actually or an internal laundry. I make bread over a washing machine. Yep, things are going to look a little cluttered in the kitchen too.
Things need to be repaired– sometimes things break and need fixing, mending, a good looking over. Sometimes there isn’t enough hours in the day and these things slowly pile up. It doesn’t mean I want to throw it out, it means I will get to it when I can. Fixing piles can look cluttered.
No dryer– we don’t have a clothes dryer, that’s a conscious choice we have made. Our dryer is the clothes line so if it rains for consecutive days, well the clothing comes inside to dry. In a small unit this can get reminiscent of a commercial laundry, (actually no, a commercial laundry I’m sure would be more ordered…and the kids probably wouldn’t have turned the clothes rack into a cubby.)
Books– every book on our shelves holds a reason, a story, a purpose and a right. A right to be there. Books will always happily clutter up our household.
Extra stuff– Then there are the extras, the things that accumulate in order to be ready when they are needed. Things like glass jars and jam. I don’t make jam regularly, I make it in batches when the season tells me too, this means they have to be collected, and stored. Stacks of empty glass jars are incredibly useful but they can make things look cluttered.
Now if I’m painting a blissful existence of excepting my small living clutter and embracing my full corners in our household, fear not. No it drives me crazy regularly, BUT I know that (after having a long hard think- thank you Julie) everything I’m surrounded by is part of living a life that I want to be doing, and I’m simply choosing to do.
I want my kids to have fun and play, sure sitting at a screen would be keep things neater but pffft to that. I want to keep cooking, baking, preserving, and no I don’t want a dishwasher. That all means the kitchen will remain ‘busy’ looking. The clothes rack will continue to be dragged out, the mending pile will surely grow and you might occasionally hear some whispered words coming from my lips.
Words to remind myself… that leading a simple life, really might not mean less clutter.