Shortly before Christmas we had a sippy cup dilemma. The one sippy cup I had for Silas was beyond yuck. We don’t have a dishwasher, so after a while, sippy cups seem to get to the point where they just have to be thrown away.
In a quick, not thinking clearly moment, I grabbed a pack of zip lock sippy cups at Walmart. Five sippy cups. For one child. I’ve always maintained the one sippy cup per child and that’s the rule. But these were cheap and I figured since they are intended to be disposable I wouldn’t feel bad throwing them out when they got gross.
I hate the idea of having a sippy cup in the fridge, and one in the diaper bag, and one in the sink, and one possibly under the couch, and one in the church nursery, and one…
No. I hate that. When we have only one, we instinctively keep really good tabs of it, because we know it’s the only one we have.
But in another unthinking moment, I opened the pack and dropped them all in the drawer of plastic dishes. All of them. We don’t need all of them.
Of course, as soon as the older two spotted new sippy cups they had to use them. Never mind that they typically drink out of a regular cup. And when Silas woke up and wanted milk, I didn’t bother to go get the cup out of the dish drainer, I just grabbed another sippy cup out of the drawer. And at breakfast, I didn’t bother to wash the cup I had used earlier, so I got another one out of the drawer.
And just as quickly as I dropped the cups into the drawer, every last one of them was used and strewn all. over. the. house.
Am not I the one that has said, “Have only what you need or love in your house”? And what about renting for free? Clearly these were being used, but they weren’t needed and they were actually complicating my life.
Now I had five cups to wash instead of one. And I needed to make sure I found them all before I smelled rotten milk behind my couch.
Have only what you need.
When we have only what we need available, we keep better track of it and we eliminate excess use.
I didn’t throw out the sippy cups. I just got the one we needed and hid the other ones in a cupboard until the original one needs thrown out. [For other items, I would have made sure they left my house, but I knew I would eventually need sippy cups so they warranted some space in my cabinet.]
Now when Silas needs a drink, we find his sippy cup just like we always have. And if it needs washed, I quickly wash it. But none of this having a dozen sippy cups spilling out of my dish drainer.That simply creates more work for myself.
I’ve known this concept and have seen it in my own household routines ever since I made an intentional effort to simplify a couple of years ago. But it’s amazing how quickly I fall right back into the trap.
It reminded me of another thing, too.
Simplifying and de-cluttering is an ongoing process.
Just as soon as I think I have the house de-cluttered, I open up another drawer or cabinet and am overwhelmed at the stuff.
Didn’t I just go through this? Oh, my bad. I guess it’s been a year already.
A once-a-year challenge is really helpful. But oh how I am feeling like my house is overloaded again. Aren’t we all feeling that way, especially after Christmas?
Whether it is visible on your kitchen counter, or tucked away in the back of a closet, clutter wastes our time. I would much rather be spending time doing stuff I love than running around tracking down loose sippy cups under couches and beds. Just sayin’.
You may have noticed that I had as one of my goals to do one small (sometimes very, very small) de-clutter project a week. That’s simply to keep things well maintained. I love simple living and have seen the value of it over and over in my home. But I’ve realized that I have to keep at it. I can’t just do it once and expect it to stay that way.
So with that in mind, I will be doing small projects throughout the year to keep up with it. And I’ll be sharing some of those small projects with YOU! I won’t be posting every single week, but I will post them fairly regularly and it will always be on Monday.
Clutter Free in 2013
How about it? Are you all with me on this? It’s all about maintaining. If I don’t do something small regularly, it will end up being a bigger job later.
So next Monday we’ll kick it off with toys. I figure if your house is anything like mine, the toys need a good bit of de-cluttering or re-organizing after Christmas.
Have you found yourself wasting time simply because you have too much stuff?