Thursday, September 8


Is it a season? I ask myself this as water pours off the roof and runs in wavy currents down the drive. I hear the "squilch-squelch" of the sump pump emptying the well room in our basement below my feet as I stand at the stove in the kitchen. It seems between summer and autumn we've been given a season simply called Pouring and here she is. Later, Sean and I trudge in mud deep enough to slip over the top of my rain boots as we slide our mischievous pig's house off its side and onto a pallet and out of the mud. My legs are leaden when I try to step and I try to talk sweet to the snorting, barking, skipping massive pig and convince her I'm not edible.


Was it only five days ago we soaked in the Atlantic sun and burrowed our toes in warm sand?


The little place we rent on this little island we're fond of is about 900 square feet. Maybe. I think I am being generous. Sean and I marveled at how well a family our size fits there and how well we can live in such a small space. I did point out that there were no closets but I suppose if we pared down our wardrobes to five outfits each, we'd be alright. The apartment size combo washer and dryer was working harder than it ever had before, I'm certain.


Then we came home. I feel like I came home to massive disorder and clutter - 4,000 square feet of sprawling old farmhouse is a stark difference to the minute cottage we occupy every Labor Day weekend. I immediately bagged up two more garbage bags of stuff and added them to the donate pile because I do not want my time to be owned by stuff.


While the rain beats down we sort summer clothes into keep and donate piles and a few very worn items find their way into the trash. Simplify. Get rid of. Purge. The words pulse in my head over and over. The rain hits in heavy drops "ping!" ping!" on a metal bucket under the downspout off the pantry. I hear the town trucks out on the road digging out the ditch as quickly as it fills with runoff from the field next door.


I ask myself if I am becoming neurotic. Perhaps instead of a show about hoarders, they should make one about people who compulsively get rid of things. I eye a pair of loved Mary Jane wedges briefly before slipping them into a quickly filling bag. I've had them for eleven years.


Counting the pillows in our living room, I stop at eleven. Eleven? Who could possible recline on eleven pillows? Or need eleven pillows? I spend more time than I care to mention asking kiddos to put the pillows back on the sofa, back on the chair, please don't use those pillows as skates, please don't cover your baby brother with the pillows, please take down your pillow blockade, please put the pillow in the wash because it has a footprint on it... and so on. Toss, toss. Into the bag.


Tomorrow I will work on filling my sixty-seventh donation bag. And smile while I do.


Momma Bug said...

Oh what a good feeling it is to purge!

I love your soft, bright, inviting photos this post. Lovely.

Shonni said...

I’m in one of those “getting rid of what we don’t need” moods also. I feel so much better when it’s all gone and we live simply...

~ Shannon said...

I've been doing the same thing these past few days! Perhaps it's the time of year? I really don't want my life to be ruled by clutter, and since we live in a small (but more than adequate) house, it becomes painfully obvious when it's time to start simplifying! The craft room is the hardest, though -- because you know, I just might need that tiny scrap of something for a project in ten years... ;-)

Your post is such an encouragement to me to keep at it!


Verna said...

I could be on that show. I haven't done quite as much as you are, but I've taken almost 10 bags to Goodwill. Our attic has a lot more space in it. A lot more organized space. And the living areas are a lot neater. I love it!! I love getting rid of stuff!! It's so freeing!

Tonya said...

You go! That sounds freeing, and if there was a show about compulsive purging, i would be on there as well! There is something so peaceful about simplicity....

Janelle said...

Oh how I love to clean out. It feels so good and new. This spring I went from 41 totes full of clothes that my five little ones have been through to 31 (I still have to get three kids through them) and I still feel happy at a job well done. It is so much easier to clean and do laundry when there just isn't as much "stuff".

Maya said...

Beautiful pictures! I am working on de-cluttering as well. Sounds like it's going better for you though! Good work!

Kim said...

I so agree with you that stuff can take our precious time.

I'm 44 and have 5 children. I learned years ago that I spent a lot of my time doing things that wouldn't amount to much in 50 years. I dusted far too many knick-nacks, stepped on one Lego to many, sorted way too many clothes we hardly ever wore, straightened and picked up piles of books, and fluffed pillows and folded numerous blankets that always ended up on the floor.

So.....I pared down everything so we only spent a fraction of time doing the above so we'd have time to cook, clean, sit and read, bake goodies, take nature walks, and go camping and still walk into an organized home at the end.

I'm do thankful to the Lord that he showed me what was more important that "treasures" here on earth.


Anonymous said...

Good on you! I'm a compulsive declutterer. It makes life so blissful and simple. You've inspired me to see what else I can find to give away today. There's just so much stuff we don't really need. There are some intersting minimalist blogs that are very inspiring too if you need any help to keep up the good work.

You're such a beautiful family. Thanks for all your blog entries. (Linda)

Bonnie said...

I do so love filling donation bags. And our house isn't huge (just over 1700 square feet), but I've often thought we could be just fine in a much smaller house.
Thanks for the hot dog and sausage info! I just got a home sausage making book from the library, and ordered the sausage stuffer attachment for my kitchenaid grinder that evening, I can't wait to try it.

Have a wonderful weekend Hannah!

Anonymous said...

I'm like that too- I complusively get rid of things. It makes me happy.

cw said...

I laughed when I read this because we live in 900 square feet with our six kids. And, yes, we are crowded (but the house is paid for!). I've been praying for a bigger place and filling bags of things to donate. Maybe if I give away enough, we'll fit a bit better.

Nic said...

mmmm.....slaves to stuff! Ain't it the truth? We often visit my parents's 600 sq. foot weekend cabin and our family of 7 + my parents + the occational guest seem perfectly comfortable. It is so amazing to me. Less is more...more face time while drying dishes.....more sharing (even it if it seats/beds/lounge charis!)....more togetherness....less stuff! Thanks for the encouragement to purge. The beginning of the school year is always a time I feel the need to let go of those things that bind my attention and work.
Nic @