The general gist of the book is that everything we've been taught about cleaning and organizing is wrong. You shouldn't organize or declutter corner by corner, one place at a time, chipping away at it. Nope, you need to do the entire house at once. That way you know exactly how much of everything you have and you can find a home for everything. But the key to being tidy, according to the author, is to first do a pretty ruthless declutter, keeping only what brings you joy. She claims that organizational experts are hoarders (ha!) and that you should only organize after you first declutter. She says you need to actually lay hands on every single item in your house to decided whether or not it brings you enough joy to justify keeping it.
I thought we were pretty tidy, especially considering we have 5 kids. I'm way better than I used to be. Yeah, our house can go from looking tidy to looking like a tornado passed through very, very quickly. But we make the kids pick up after themselves and it all comes back together pretty quickly, too. So, this said, I am very surprised at how long it is taking us to do this declutter.
Dan is home for the week and starting on Saturday, Dan and I have been spending at least 3 hours every day working together decluttering. You're supposed to declutter by category (clothes, books etc) but being the rebels we are, we're doing it room by room. Day 1 was our closets, bathrooom and bedroom, Day 2 was Iris' room which also houses my fabric, our hall closet, and our laundry room. Day 3 was our kitchen and today is our pantry. It's a much bigger undertaking than I was expecting and we are donating so much more than I expected. But it feels good, really good.
For the first three days we hired a neighbor girl who's 14 to come over to play with the kids for a couple of hours. We were able to get a lot of work done and the kids had so much fun playing with her! Today she wasn't available, so we decided to give Jude and Indigo the chance to earn some money and paid them $2/hour to 'babysit' Tia and Iris while we decluttered our pantry. They came up with the most imaginative games, had a lot of fun themselves and also learned some life skills - like that babysitting also includes cleaning up the mess you make!
But we definitely aren't a family of all work and no play. We save the afternoons and evenings for making special food, doing fun things together, and watching a family show together each night. On Friday when we (hopefully) finish the house-wide declutter, we are doing a 'Make Our House a Hotel' night. I'm not exactly sure what that will entail, but so far they're hatching plans for a fire in the fire pit, staying up late, and pretending we have room service.
I've also been spending about an hour per day doing something I love (um, sewing). This dress is another Ottobre pattern, from 4/2013, No 14. It's meant to be worn with a tshirt underneath, but Indigo didn't like that look, so I sewed a faux tshirt triangle instead.
This dress reminds me of the dresses Tea Collection used to make (still makes? not sure). The main fabric is an Anna Maria Horner knit - Mary Thistle in Plum. It's an interlock knit so it's stable and easy to work with.
Indigo is becoming such a little lady. She is so mature for her age and seems so grown up. Yet when we were walking together she literally stopped to smell the roses. She was enchanted with them. It's an example of her sweet innocence, how she's still very much a little girl, even when she seems so big in comparison to her younger sisters.
I'm so thankful for these moments. As my children grow, I am acutely aware of what a gift these moments are. Yeah, there's mess and there's fighting, too but it's these moments that really sparkle. They far outshine everything else.