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Connecting in the Chaos: Happy “Just Enough” To You!..

We are into the new year and for the few who have not fallen off whatever wagon you vowed to stay on for 2021 I salute you! I am not very good at staying on wagons to be honest. I have been known to start a diet in the morning and completely forget (like total memory loss) that I was dieting by lunch. This year I only made one resolution… to play more board games. Knowing me, that is still a risky bet.  

Our family as a whole is not really big on yearly resolutions. I think it is because we have too many realists in the family who are more than willing to squash any pipedream goals the optimists may have about the coming year.

That being said, I did choose a “life goal” for my two youngest children this year. That goal is to keep their room clean. It sounds so simple… and it should be. Unfortunately, at our house it most certainly has not been simple – or pleasant – in any way whatsoever. What it has been is a constant battle and source of conflict between me and my precious children. What I failed to realize for the last two years is that it is mostly mine and my husband’s fault.  

Now, my two youngest without a doubt are old enough and physically capable enough to clean their room. That’s on them. The part that falls fully in the adults’ laps is how much we allowed (and oftentimes gave) them to bring in. There was SO MUCH STUFF. They did not have the physical space nor the high level of organizational skills required to maintain all that had accumulated in their room. A room that once I sat down to start the “makeover” we decided to do for them, I realized, was full of junk. And I mean full of junk.  

As I filled up multiple trash bags of broken bits of toys, random game pieces, and actual trash, I realized that most of the stuff I was throwing away had at one time been a good and useful thing. I hadn’t given them bad things… I had just given them way too many of those good things.  That overwhelming excess hadn’t led to happy, grateful children thanking God every night for all their little kingdom contained. What it had led to was anxious tears as they tried to clear the mountains in their room after an argument with one or both parents. It was awful… and I was the one who had allowed the cycle to continue.

Once I realized that, I made a decision that was, initially, just as hard as I thought it would be. I decided to get rid of about 30-40% of their stuff. While they were at their grandparents for the week, we redecorated the room with bunk beds, fun storage, and decor. However, the real difference was how much less there was in the room that wasn’t furniture.  We had asked them to make a list of their very favorite things so that no sentimental treasures went to the trash or Goodwill and then everything else was up for grabs. I chose storage options for the room and made the non-negotiable rule that everything had to have a place. Each item had to have a “home” that it actually fit in or we would not keep that item. This was harder than I thought.  Some of those things had been around since they were toddlers. Some of those things had been expensive. I found myself wanting to keep more than was on their list. But we stuck to the rule.  

I was so nervous about how they would react. Would they miss all of the things now gone? Nope. Not one bit. (Ok… they missed one stuffed animal, but we retrieved it out of the Goodwill bag.) They LOVED everything else about their new space. They could now actually enjoy and care for what they had because it was not more than they could manage. Since the remodel there has not been a single argument over their room. What was once the sorest of subjects is now a favorite spot in our home.

It’s not just little ones’ rooms overcrowded with toys that bring feelings of anxiety and frustration. We overcrowd and overwhelm lots of things in our lives. We see something that is good and often don’t ask ourselves “am I able to manage well another thing right now?”…even a really good thing. Our life is very full right now. We have a houseful of people and all the activities and commitments that come with them. Maybe that is why I decided to stay away from the resolutions this year. Cramming too much into our life, no matter how good the latest thing we find ourselves trying to stuff into the schedule, is probably not good for us. Here is to a Goldilocks of a year! May you find the amount of good things in your life to be “just right.”

About The Author

Jessica Morgan

Jessica Morgan is a Central Mississippi native. She and her husband Step locked eyes at Twin Lakes Camp and Conference Center 20 years ago and haven’t blinked yet. She is a former teacher and current homeschooling mom to her five children. She enjoys writing about the sweet adventure and sometimes runaway train that is their life together.

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