Last time, I wrote about how I chose my ‘Word of the Year’... and even gave one example of how I was making PROGRESS with my reading goals. I was surprised afterward, how writing about it gave me even more motivation to move forward in another area…
… purging and organizing the basement…
When you grow up as an Air Force BRAT, you can get used to the cycle of packing/unpacking every 2/3/4 years. ( I mean, maybe some people don’t, but I did.) It is a forced event that is built into that life. It definitely made it easier to go through my belongings… since I was able to see all-the-things, while I put them away in my new room. But, for me, there was a side effect to living that kind of nomadic existence. It began when I was a child and I continue to struggle with it as an adult…
I hate to get rid of things.
And, more specifically, I hate to get rid of things tied to memories. (I’ve joked with a few people that I’m a ‘Hoarder of Memories’ and it’s kinda true.)
I’ve talked with my best friend (also an Air Force BRAT) about this phenomenon before… how military members, dependents, or anyone who moves regularly can (though, not always) associate more attachment/feeling with their “things” because the “things” are what helped every new place feel like “home”. They were the constant when everything else changed.
Let me interject here and say… I’ve been “Marie Kondo-ing” my house since 2016, a couple of years after her first 2 books were translated into English (before the Netflix special came out). (Read about that here.) An over-simplified summary is that you surround yourself with things that bring you joy… and get rid of the rest. (This process has often been confused with the minimalism movement, but that is a topic for another day.) The trouble is… LOTS of things bring me joy. Too many things. Sometimes, it feels almost impossible to begin, because emotionally, I know it is going to be painful to let go. I’m not saying I can’t get rid of things… I have successfully de-cluttered/purged many, many, many times…. I just don’t look forward to navigating all of the emotions tied to the things. That is the draining part.
We have now lived in our current house for 13 years… (which, I STILL can’t believe is a sentence I actually get to write.) We have had our seasons of a clean and well organized basement… and other seasons that are the complete opposite of that. (The latter being the season we are currently in.) More Christmases and birthdays pass, the kids outgrow their clothes/books/toys… and the clutter sneaks up on you.
SO, yes, the things bring joy…but a clean and organized house ALSO brings me joy… and that ‘clean-house-joy’ outweighs the ‘stuff-joy’ EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. (I can be resolute when I want to be.)
It still doesn’t make it any easier to start. The whole basement… (which has a playroom, storage room, my husband’s home office, my craft room, a tiny movie ‘theater’ room, the laundry room, our gym (another small room with our treadmill, elliptical, and stationary bike), and overflow pantry) is a mess. It is an overwhelming project. I feel as prepared to go through it all, as I would be ready to hike Mt. Everest.
This week, despite so many things (like weather changes, kids being affected by the weather changes, other things that are TMI for this blog…) that drained more of my energy than normal… I took a deep breath, tightened my PROGRESS bracelet (more about that later), set a timer for 10 minutes, turned on some 80’s music, and with my husband’s encouragement and support, the whole family went downstairs to begin going through the playroom. We made it 20 minutes! The next night, we set the timer for 30 minutes… and made it an hour! After 2 more days of multiple 20 minute timers… the play room was done!! My best friend even celebrated with us by sending funny memes as a reward for completion (which I knew about beforehand, and were incredibly encouraging… P.S. get yourself a friend who will be your cheerleader, no matter what your goals are!!) That success motivated me to go through all of the kid books, which then motivated me to begin clearing out the storage room! It is like a snowball of motivation that keeps growing!
Two of my projects from this week aren’t completely finished (yet, but they will be soon!) and they definitely weren’t executed perfectly. Yet, the momentum I gained from the success of this week is encouraging me forward… Little by little… PROGRESS.