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Tidying the Homestead, part three

It was Christmas and my nephew was up visiting for the holidays. We were looking at the decorations and he said “You know, I guess I should start going through some of the stuff I have up here.”

I was thinking “Oh wow, it’s finally happening!” But I just said, “Sure.”

The next day, we pulled out a bunch of plastic totes and went through them. Out of 8 totes, Chris consolidated the contents of  6 of them in to 2 smaller ones, tossing the rest into the trash. The other two totes were to donate. I was amazed. It took about 30 minutes and I now had a huge empty space in the shed.  Wow.

We talked a little bit about what else he might want.  There were just a few  special things: a Chinese trunk that needed repair, 2 Asian vases, and a couple other things. That was it. Nothing that had to do with the tons of other family heirlooms I had stored, moved and schlepped hither and yon for the last decade. What an eye opener.  I looked around.  If he didn’t want it, and I didn’t want it.  Why the heck was it still here?

I really do believe in “meant to be” things. A day later, in one of my Facebook groups, people were talking about the new decluttering book by Marie Kondo: “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up.” I was curious, so I bought the ebook.  Did it really work to have a “Tidying Festival?” Could I really make a permanent change?  I was already thinking about it. I had to try.  Even if it wasn’t life changing, it had to be better.

So I made a commitment. I created my vision for my home. What did I want?  It had to be specific.  I wanted a guilt-free and happy home. I wanted only things that represented what was important to Greg and me, now. I wanted room for us to live on our home, not just exist there. I want it easy to be clean and be ready for visitors… not that we get many, but I didn’t want to stress out when someone came by. I wanted a wardrobe that fit me and that I actually wore. The more I thought about it, the easier it was to see the possibilities.

Now I needed to learn what things “sparked joy.”  What did that really mean to me?  I wasn’t sure at the start.  I kept getting that “I should keep it just in case” mantra running through my mind  when I was discarding. At first I did keep things that I would realize later I didn’t need.  It’s common, and when I realized it, I found I could let it go. I held and thanked everything. Did I feel a tingle?  Was it still useful to me?  No? Then thank you for your service, goodbye!

I stayed with the categories: first clothing, then books, then papers, then komono (misc.), then sentimentals.  When I got tired or stuck, I went back to my vision, and I would add to it. I want to write.  I want to draw.  I want to make my garden better. I want to be joyful.  Ok, I thought,  “I can do this.”

I did stumble when it came to what do I do with what my discards.  Some of it was valuable and  I thought I should sell it.  I would try.  Some would sell; a lot of it didn’t.  Not that it wouldn’t, one day. But it needed to be gone much sooner than “one day.”

I donated the rest. So many times we donate our not so good things.  They are worn, but still have use.  Now think how wonderful it would be for someone who  is used to getting ok things, to get your  very best things! What a treat! The more I thought about it that way, the easier it was to release those valuable treasures.

Doing the KonMari festival wasn’t easy.  There were tears of frustration. There were aching muscles. There just plain hot, dirt and dust filled days.  But I did it. It took 6 months to do my house and 2 sheds. It was so worth it.

Gone are the pictures of relatives that I didn’t like.  Gone are the dishes that I never used and weren’t my style.  Gone are the bad memories and sad days. Gone is the clothing that belonged to other people and never fit. Gone is the furniture that I constantly tripped over. Gone is the sadness and the feelings of failure.

It is replaced with joy. It is replaced with the knowledge that this is now our home. It is a loving home.  Most of all, it is now guilt-free.

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Why Lingonberries and Lilacs?


Good question!

Lilacs are purple (mostly) and I love purple.  They have a wonderful fragrance that fills the early  spring air with hope of warmer days. Their blooming season may be short-lived, but every year they bravely face the cold and explode in lovely shades that harmonize perfectly with the accompanying daffodils. A spectacular bright spot against seemingly  bleak desert landscape. Lilacs do grow well enough in the Nevada desert, and they are one of my favorites, but lingonberries?

Well, to start at the beginning, I grew up in a Swedish American home. We celebrated all of the Scandinavian holidays. We had midsummer fests and St Lucia Day feasts.  We made coffee and dessert tables bursting at the seams with cream cakes and almond tarts. But my favorites were the delicate, crepe  pancakes topped with cream and lingonberry jam.

Nothing says welcome home to me the way that lingonberry jam does. If you have never had it, oh it’s worth the try. A tiny alpine berry, it’s sort of a combination  blend of a cranberry and a blueberry … but more tart, I suppose.  Add some sugar, a touch of lemon, boil it on the stove a bit, and wow!  We had it both on sweet and savory things, meatballs and pork roast, or ice cream and cakes.

As I got older, and left home, a jar of lingonberry jam and some buttered toast would help me get through college exams and boyfriend breakups.

For those of you who are wondering, no, I haven’t yet been able to get lingonberries to grow in Nevada … yet! But, I’m still trying. Our summer sun withers them and I’m working on ways to simulate the cool summers they thrive on.

So, since this blog is dedicated to hope, love, growth, harmony, kindness, adventure, and home, I could think of no better name the Lingonberries and Lilacs to keep me grounded.


Posted in Desert Gardening, Home Life, Pets and Other Creatures, Tidying Up | Leave a comment