Simple, Serene Summer Haven

Books

I’ve been feeling pretty itchy this summer and not only due to it being full on mosquito season here. Intuitively I know that this subtle underlying anxiousness is a symptom of a need for some decluttering and organizing to happen in the Happy House. Truth be told it’s not too crazy but I’m kind of a minimalist when it comes to ‘stuff’ and I believe the kids function more optimally and imaginatively with less distraction around and, let’s face it, clean up happens way smoother when there’s less things to contend with and there are designated places to place such things. Less clean up time equals more knitting. Right?

If you want to jump on this bandwagon with me you should check out this beautiful post in the Parenting Passageway, part of Carrie’s Serene Summer Series. This article led me to her recommendation of a book called “The Well Ordered Home – Inviting Serenity to Your Life” that’s now on my wishlist. That’s one of the magic words; serenity! That is what I’m inviting, requesting and envisioning here.

Around the same time I was presented with Goddess Leonie’s Creating Your Goddess Haven e-course . Mmmm… haven. I actually started with it but I only got so far as making the table chart for rooms on one side and what to keep, toss etc on the other. Unfortunately I got side railed with some pressing summer projects to complete but will be revisiting this beautiful offering from the Goddess once some of these endeavours are put to bed. I believe there will be a study group of this course next month that will probably fun to participate in.

Finally I picked up my copy of Simplicity Parenting again got really inspired to make less more.   The author, Kim John Payne suggests to start with toys and books. The books, both the kids’ and grown ups’, were driving me particularly cuckoo so I started there. I decided to challenge myself to actually tackle this task by doing at least ten minutes of clearing each time Craig whisks the kids away for Daddy fun time so they won’t have the opportunity to offer protest or cramp my toss out style. Simple! Because, really, they honestly have never noticed anything missing when they come back. Rest assured contentiously precious items are never fully expelled to never ever land – they just go away on a little holiday to this exotic destination known as “La Shangri Shed”. This weekend, right after I waved bye bye to them as went on their exciting adventure to the dump and right before I dove into my Mommy time projects, I threw every single kid book in the house into a pile and made four piles out of that; keepers, seasonal, to be stored and to be donated.

I only kept about three books out for each child (the ones they seem particularly into these days) along with all the summer themed books and kept all of these (about twelve books all together) in a basket kept in the play area. The seasonal books I keep in totes marked with the appropriate seasons and that is where they’ll be kept until fall, winter or spring rolls around again. Then there is big tote bin that I put the keepers in and that will be lugged out whenever the book stash needs refreshing or if a couple of super rainy/snowy days happen all in a row, or whining needs to be put to a quick stop before Mommy loses it.

The donated pile is pretty self-explanatory and damn, that pile feels good.

Actually, that whole thing feels pretty darn tootin’ good. And no one has even noticed anything has happened yet. Funny! The next dump trip I’m going to to apply the same process with the toy situation.

 

Bookshelf

And then I suppose I should plug through Craig and my unruly book collection. Please note this picture was taken when we first moved here about four years ago. I don’t want to hurt your monitor with the monstrosity that is the state of it today. It’s still colour coded but there’s some serious squishing going on. It’s either cull time or get a new book shelf time. We don’t have room for the latter so cull time it is. Especially white books – why are there so many white spined books out there?!

Updated to add I’m offering a whole ecourse devoted to simplifying your family’s environment October 2012 ~ check it out!!!

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19 Responses

  1. Tiffanie says:

    geez!! i’m RIGHT there with you on the de-cluttering! we are preparing to move (again, after a year, and then to move again three months after that!) and so we have so many piles ~ to take here, to take there, to keep, to give away, etc.! ~ and the house is OUTTA CONTROL!!!! with so many piles, and summer heat, I can’t keep up with all tumble-cat-hair-tufts. and i don’t wanna be inside anyway, with the nice weather outside! i’m going nuts-o in the house-o! whew! you nailed it.

  2. Amanda O says:

    Thanks for this oh-so-timely post. I’m going to check out “The Well-Ordered Home” and the e-course you mentioned. As I prepare for moving in August and homeschooling in the fall I’ve returned to Karen Kingston’s book “Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui.” It was my gateway drug to clearing, and I need inspiration and renewal by the season. Culling the toy herd, the book pile, the art and craft supply closet… it’s so difficult to do, but once I get in the right frame of mind (freedom! serenity! health for all!) it’s liberating, and my kids really don’t miss the stuff that’s gone.

  3. Irina says:

    I have to clean up our lumber-room, but still can’t find time. I think after your post cleaning will occur in a very nearest future.
    As for book shelf, we have another kind of problem. We have enough room for the second book shelf, but unfortunately we can’t find the suitable one.

  4. Cassandra says:

    Mmmmmm, I love a good regular house purging. I admire your tenacity in the book department though. That seems to be one thing I can’t get rid of. Favorites, books I like to re-read, books I found inspiring but will never read again, classics that I feel I should just have “on hand”. I don’t know what my problem is – but I can’t get rid of any that have any sort of “reason” to stay. Maybe it’s ingrained in my brain that “book-filled bookshelves = smart well-to-do folks”? But I personally was never a money sort of person, and we’re smart cookies around here anyway so…? Dunno.

  5. karen says:

    hilarious! We are always on the same track with these things. I just cleaned our clothes closet and the books are next. One tip for closets I got somewhere is to turn the hangers around on the questionable items and if the hanger is still like that after a while, maybe it should leave. This has really helped me realize what I need to get rid of! Some clothes went in the memory clothes box, because sometimes you just want to remember something by what you wore, within reason of course. Some ended up in the costume/burningman box. The rest I offered to friends or took to the thrift! It is so nice in there now, I can’t believe it. It’s the very first time I’ve had a closet of clothes I wear. I approached the garage yesterday and it is already better too, Scott’s office is up after the garage if I am still standing… heehee

  6. Mama Minou says:

    I’ve been working away at this process for all the very same reasons! I have to say two things though….I LOVE your color-coded bookshelves; they’re beautiful! And, it is nice for kids to have lots of different books around…do you have access to a good library where you live so you can rotate without having to own?

  7. Moving is the perfect decluttering opportunity! Lucky you ;) Lucky me that our cat tends to eat his own hair tufts. Kind of disgusting to watch tho.

  8. Yes, health for all! Soon I’ll be tackling our grownup book shelf and I’m sure I’ll come across our copy of Clear your Clutter with Feng Shui book. Thank you for the reminder!

  9. Lumber room – that sounds so European ;) I have no idea what it is but I have the feeling I want one! I love our bookshelf. We found it at an antique store and when visiting there I while back they have another set up exactly like ours for sale. But, alas, we have no wall space to put it.

  10. I know, my husband and I are both book buying addicts. I personally like to re-read books a few years after the first go round (or at least think I might return to them one day). I feel like I’m reading it with a new slightly enhanced with life experiences brain or slightly more advanced consciousness and interpreting the content differently. Whoa, that’s kind of a heavy comment so early in the morning!

  11. Man, I wish we had a burning man box! Maybe when the kids are a bit older… If I was more on top of hanging up clothing this would be genius. Unfortunately right now my technique is more fold and stuff. Sometimes just stuff :)

  12. You know, we just got library access but still the library is 40 minutes away and our trips to town are always so rushed (many errands to run). I should try to get more organized and reserve online my amazon wish list so I can at least check out the books before I commit. Oh! You mean the kids! See, it’s always about me, me, me. Yes, I should try that sometime. Great suggestion!

  13. Valerie says:

    Timely post indeed! Books and toys are taking over our house too. Love the idea of grouping books by season and storing them in totes!

  14. I like where you’re headed here…to goddess haven! Funny, I’m actually reading Simplicity Parenting right now, too. So many piles, so little time! ; )

  15. karen says:

    It got me to hang stuff up, and it never really comes off the hanger if I’m not wearing it! heehee

  16. caitlin says:

    simplicity is not so simple, i find. it is a habit you have to get into, a way of thinking. decluttering makes everything feel so light and clear, but it takes motivation to get started. i find that rhythm, groundedness and persistence are the keys to keeping life nice and simple down my way. when i delve too deeply into emotional ruts and ideas that just keep circling, i get itchy on the inside, like cabin fever. then, if i do something grounding or out of the ordinary to break the cycle, life gets back on track. “live lightly, think deeply” is a nice motto to remember.
    haha, sorry for my little excited jumble of thoughts.
    love the bookshelf! good luck

  17. karen says:

    And since L was born, no more burning man for us. He’s going to have to be a lot older before we take him out there!

  18. heather says:

    you are so cool. i really like coming here every time i do. you are inspiring me to smile more. what better inspiration could there be? thank you miss tangerine.

  19. Oh! I spy “A Pattern Language” ! One of our great inspirations….