I used to be scared of empty shelves. Got a shelf, fill it up. If I don't
fill it up, it means I don't have. So for years, I have filled my shelves (and I
have many of them) with clothes, pictures, my kids' toys, books - even some
duplicates because Josh and I each had one when we got married. Clutter was my
friend, it meant that we were okay, we had enough. Perhaps this is because I am
a grandchild of Holocaust survivors, wonderful and inspiring people who
literally had nothing but the clothes on their backs (and a large contraband
violin which did not make it through Ellis Island because there was no where to
hide it), which brings us full circle to the whole clothes on their backs thing.
I'm not trying to sound flippant, I just am not sure where this obsession
came from but it's been bothering me and I have been exploring many different angles.
Right about now you might be thinking, hey, I come here for art projects
and cookies, not philosophy, but bear with me. This just might be your new project.
Don't worry, we'll still make cookies.
I have been reading a book called The Happiness Project
. I haven't finished
it yet, but I already feel like this is the book that I have been waiting for.
Like me, Gretchen Rubin, the author, is a mom in her thirties with (thank G-d) a
wonderful life of a husband, kids, home ownership and creativity. But something
was missing for Gretchen and she couldn't put her finger on it. I've been having
the same issues lately. I cannot, for the life of me, begin to tell you what the
problem is, but something, something is missing, something is off. And I wish I
knew what it was. It's not about anyone else in my life, just me.
From the first page of the book, I have felt like Gretchen is talking to
me. I keep nodding my head and saying, "oh my gosh, me too". And then I look
around and see that I am alone in the room and I am talking to myself. Gretchen
is happy with her life, but she wants to be happier, hence the name of her
And I think I might need a Happiness Project too. As I mentioned before, I
have not finished the book yet, but I hope to over the weekend, at which time
the plan is to give a lot of thought as to how I can implement my own happiness
project, which I will be so happy (see I'm happier already) to share with you.
So what does this have to do with empty shelves? One part of The Happiness
Project talks about creating more energy for yourself by knocking off the tasks
on your never-ending to-do list (you know you have one), specifically the tasks
that are draining your mental energy because they keep knocking around in your
head all day. A huge one for me is the toy situation in my living room. Because
I don't have a playroom (yet - basement, you're next!) my living room is the
catchall for all the toys in the house and I have been finding lately (and
especially since the kids' Chanukah presents have been thrown into the mix) that
I am being boxed out of my own living room. There is literally no where to sit.
Today was the day. We're having company this weekend, I haven't cooked or
cleaned anything yet, but today was the day. Baby and I spent the better part of
the morning purging, sorting and making piles. Now that she is napping, I am
trying to finish this off so I can look around my living room and smile.
Here are some before pictures of unsorted toys crammed into drawers and
boxes, plus some that my mom will be horrified to see, such as behind the
couches. But I am here to bare all and share all, in the hopes that I will
inspire some other mom to take control of her home and maybe even her life.
I do have to say, if nothing else, I have recovered the majority of the Clics
we have been missing. Do you have Clics? It's an awesome toy, the kids played with
them everyday until we just couldn't find most of them. Welcome back Clics.
There will be some after pictures coming soon.