Happy New Year Farmgirl sisters!
I hope this finds you all well and enjoying these days of growing sunshine. I just read Dori and Nicole’s posts from the last two weeks and they are so inspiring. Their outlooks, commitment and encouragement are infectious.
I might not be quite as inspiring, but I feel like my story might help those of you who maybe haven’t acted on your inspirations and motivations. I stand here in solidarity with you. Plans are easy, execution of plans is hard. We are not in this alone, sisters!
Anyway, this story begins with Opal’s third (!!!) birthday. We have many January birthdays amongst our friends and family, so January is a month of celebration. What a joyous way to begin the new year. For her birthday celebration, Opal requested only a few things: A chocolate cake with blue frosting, blueberries, blue O’s for Opal, and a pink elephant on top; and to have a few friends over to enjoy the cake with her.
Unfortunately, whenever we have people over I/we have to frantically clean…or at least I feel like we have to because of social norms and gender biases and fear of judgment and all of those bothersome things. This time was no different save for the fact that it felt like we had even more clutter than usual as a result of post-holiday stuff.
A sad fact of life (or at least my life) is that “piles happen.” And I HATE piles. They are energy blocks, they are distracting and messy and they make me want to burn them in a barrel fire. I know, I know–a bit extreme. I am very fortunate that some of the most stressful things in my life are piles of things that we own. Maybe it’s the English major in me, but I am a believer that the appearance of one’s home is a metaphorical depiction of what goes on in one’s head and psyche.
In the days before Opal’s birthday I planned on tackling cleaning projects one by one. However, as many days go with three young children, most things beyond the day-to-day take much longer to accomplish than they “should.” So, come the day of her birthday there were still piles of stuff around, laundry to be tended to, bathrooms to be scrubbed, fluffs of dog hair and who-knows-what collected in corners, general stuff everywhere–Oh, and of course Opal’s birthday cake to be made!
In a mad caffeine-fueled rush to get the common spaces presentable I gathered our piles and cleaned up hot spots where stuff collects and confirmed something that I already knew–we have an inordinate amount of “outside” objects inside our home. We have pounds and pounds and pounds and pounds of rocks! We have enough pine cones (we actually don’t have pine trees in Alaska…but saying “spruce cone” or “alder cone” is weird for most people) to start a new forest grove. I found several tufts of moss, countless sticks, dried flowers, intricate pieces of lichen, huge hunks of dried shelf fungus, curled reams of birch bark, and plenty of other organic materials. I’m sure all of these things were super special when we found them. I actually do limit what we bring back on our individual outdoor ventures, but it all adds up over time.
Guess what I did with all of these things that I could have just brought out into the woods and bid adieu? I brought them all upstairs…into our BEDROOM. What the heck? I’m a crazy woman! Am I a hoarder? Are we hoarders? I think we are…We are hoarders of natural objects.
I wish I could tell you that I have found a solution to these caches of rocks and pine cones, but I cannot because I have not. They are still in boxes and containers…in our bedroom. The solution is a simple one, really–walk into woods, empty boxes, walk back into home and put boxes in recycling. Too bad simplicity can be easier said than done. What if we want to build that fairy city? What if we need to paint rocks for everyone we’ve ever met? What if we actually do start and complete those myriad art projects and home improvement projects that involve said found objects? What if we never find another awesome stick again? What if? What if? It’s not like we can just go to Home Depot and find that perfect piece of drift wood that’s been leaning in the corner for months.
Like I said–the inside of one’s home is a reflection of one’s inner most workings. Just imagine what my inner most self is like.
While these sticks and stones and rocks and pine cones collect dust and get in our way, we are in the beginning stages of simplifying our home. We have begun to remove the excess, to keep that which we want to bring into our future…to hang on to that which “sparks joy.” We are loosely following the tidying up process touted by a certain someone who has a book and a new motivational Netflix show. Since I’m inherently a skeptic and a rebel (some of my favorite Farmgirl qualities!), we are not wholly following her guidelines. There’s no way we are going down to thirty books…how about 300? Plus, I’m pretty sure she doesn’t have guidelines for farmers. I like to use some of my clothes that no longer “spark joy” to work in the wind and mud and sun. She also offers no tips for Mason jar storage…I’m just hoping that we come out of this in a more manageable home with domestic responsibilities that are shared a bit more equally among the family. I have a dream that one day the other people in my home will be able to find things without my help. A Farmgirl can dream, can’t she?
Have you been sucked up into the tidying craze? Perhaps you are already organized and tidy or have a way to manage all of your things-if so, share your secrets with us! What do you do with those prized rocks? those sentimental sticks? those unique tufts of moss?
Perhaps next time I will be writing from my newly minimized home…but I think this project will take longer than that!
Until Next Time, Farmgirl Friends, Take it easy and be kind to yourselves!
Sending peace and love from Alaska,
Alex, the Rural Farmgirl
p.s. it is my SEVEN year blog-iversary! How amazing it has been to share these years with you all. Thank you