A Minute for a Life
I bought my first book on simple living (this one) shortly after I became a stay-at-home mom in 2006. I loved the idea of voluntary simplicity, of living within your means in an intentional home. I loved it so much I bought this book and then this book and many, many other books. And then I did nothing.
Sometimes it’s easier for me to do nothing than to do something and fail. And by failing, I mean not do it perfectly. Not be the best.
It took five years, several books, countless blogs, numerous videos, and the sudden, horrible deaths of Helena’s parents for me to finally take the steps necessary to make our home intentional–useful, beautiful, sometimes both.
And even after all that, I’m still not sure I would have accomplished as much as I have if it wasn’t for Nester’s 31 Day Project. I jumped in with less than 48 hours to consider what I was doing. I’m not one to quit something I’ve started (unless it’s a diet) so I put my head down and charged ahead blindly.
In plowing ahead I discovered the first rule of the William Morris Project. It takes longer to procrastinate than it does to act.
Every project took less time than I anticipated. Most of my projects take about an hour. Some take more time than others, but that’s because I’ve let things get out of hand or because I’m dealing with outside issues. I dread the project until I start. Sometimes I hate it while I’m doing it, but most of the time it isn’t as horrible as I anticipated. Then, I finish and wonder what I was all worked up about in the first place.
If you are alive you already know the second rule of the William Morris Project. Nothing stays clean forever.
Once I accepted I didn’t need to do it perfectly, I had to accept that my imperfect results will look even less perfect in two weeks, two days, or two hours. Lived in rooms reflect signs of life. There is no denying it or avoiding it, so I no longer let the irrefutable keep me from living in the home of my dreams. Most of the time.
Yes, I get annoyed and discouraged. Yes, I wonder why on earth the boys always put their baseball uniforms or practice gear in the hamper instead of the laundry room so that when they need it–just 48 hours later!–they have to upend their hampers to find their sliding shorts.
It’s always the sliding shorts! How they make it to the bottom of the hamper in 48 hours is a mystery.
If it doesn’t have to be perfect and nothing stays clean forever, then it’s only fair that rule number three of The William Morris Project offers a ray of sunshine. After you simplify, it’s easier to clean.
Before this project, I could never clean the house top to bottom in a single day. Impossible. Now, toys take minutes to pick up. The family room can look presentable in as quick as 15 minutes.
Everything gets messed up all over again, but you won’t ever again see me spending twelve hours over the course of three weeks to clean up toys. And if I do, punch me.
Of course, that’s when everything is smooth sailing. Sometimes, life gets a little crazy, and you have no choice but to use rule number four of The William Morris Project. Screw it.
Two weeks ago the Mister went out of town. No big deal, he does that often. Except I got sick. Really, really sick. And the boys had baseball practices. And choir practice. And school. And homework. And it was all too much. I crawled to Target, bought a pack of paper plates and plastic utensils, and fed them random bits of food from the pantry or fast food. It was all I could do to get out of bed. I couldn’t clean or organize or cook and that’s okay. I don’t feel guilty about it and, to be honest, the boys were in heaven. Fast food again?! Life is grand, mama!
That week of sloth left us with a house in shambles. And again, having learned nothing it seems, I dreaded cleaning the house and put it off until it started to affect my mood. I don’t do well when the house is a wreck. That doesn’t mean that I’m whistling Dixie and skipping off to scrub toilets. To be perfectly honest, if we had the budget I would have someone clean the house for me. Hah! So there you go.
We don’t have the budget for a cleaning service, so it’s up to me and my crew to keep the house clean. It’s not always fun, the projects take us away from what we would rather be doing, and we never seem to have the money to do things we really want, but the end result is worth the effort.
Try it and see if you don’t agree.
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