I had a realisation in the car yesterday after experiencing what one can only describe as a frantic morning rush from bed to breakfast to getting dressed (no time for a shower) to breastfeeding (quick top-up) to in the car and out the driveway. Once we were moving and the classical music was playing (Percy's preferred radio station for a scream-free journey) I had the time and the space to think about the chaos that had just unfolded. It wasn't enjoyable, it had no positive effect on my mood or my mindset and to put it mildly, it was a terrible start to the day.
Mustering all kinds of optimism I decided it really was onwards and upwards and a takeaway coffee on the way home. And then? It was time to reinstate some semblance of order and organisation on the home front; because life is that much easier when I know where everything is.
A few years ago, the thought of organising my home would have caused all kinds of angst. After years of op-shopping and the subsequent collecting of bargains too good to leave behind, the house was cluttered and my cupboards were brimming. I literally couldn't keep on top of the cleaning or the sorting (so big was the problem that I had no idea where to begin) and so I resorted to the quick fix of putting things, all sorts of things, behind closed doors to be dealt with later. "Later" came when I realised that decluttering was soothing and calming and that the end result was genuinely pleasing (albeit slightly addictive).
Yesterday, after a few weeks of illness, winter laziness and general disinterest, I put things back in their place. And you know what? It really didn't take that long. Regardless of the state of my home on any given day, I know that tidying is achievable and not overly time-consuming; everything has a place and I know exactly where that place is.
As I picked things up and put them away I found myself thinking about the state of one's home; such a pertinent topic amongst mothers, don't you think? The eloquent Annabel Crabb recently wrote about her messy home in Lesson to my daughter: Don't clean your house and as a result she had many heads nodding. I enjoyed the argument she brought to her cluttered table; she lives amidst the mess and she has no intention of changing it. But me? I know myself well enough to admit that mess doesn't please me and disorganisation sends me into disarray. It has nothing to do with gender equality and everything to do with acknowledging my own truth.
If you're content in a ramshackle abode then by all means, revel in the glorious mess. But, if you feel calmer with less stuff and a clear path from the front door to the back...own it.
My simple home is rarely tidy. But since getting rid of the unnecessary I can safely say that cleaning it takes a lot less time. And when pinterest gets me all down about what I don't have? I take a look around, recognise that I'm surrounded by beauty (and practicality) and gain a new-found appreciation for the story of home*.
*But if you would like to replace my 1960s mint green kitchen with a contemporary alternative I'll take you up on that immediately. In the meantime I'll remind myself that it's my sacrifice for living on the beach. Perspective, perspective.