We Need a New Couch. But Not Yet.

I’m tired.

I’m tired of piles and stacks of things.

I’m tired of feeling overwhelmed when I walk through the house.

I’m tired of seeing piles of things everywhere and just adding to them daily because that’s easier than taking the effort to find a place to put something. It’s easier and faster to just set it down on the already growing piles. And really, there’s an art to stacking things, right? I mean, there’s some skill in adding the next piece to the pile without it coming crashing down.

There’s a quote that I cut out of a magazine probably 3 years ago. My intention was to have it posted somewhere I could see it on a regular basis. Like so many other things, it got buried in the bottom of a pile. I found it recently and put it on my weekly planner, where I’ll see it frequently throughout the day and week.

But we never make it pass the quote to cleaning up the clutter. A few weeks ago Ben and I decided that we needed a way to keep track of all the things that need to be done, not just the piles that need to be cleaned, but the projects and tasks, and budget items. So, we wrote down every to-do we could think of on post it notes, gave each one of them a priority and stuck them on the wall. It’s not exactly a great looking decoration that blends well with our Dining Room decor, but it is a system for setting priorities.

We need to this because I’m tired. And I’m ready to feel like we are making decisions on how to use our time, instead of feeling overwhelmed by a growing “to-do” list.

And already, I have felt a freedom and a sense of release by just using our new system for a matter of days.

For example, I want a new couch. Ours is a hand-me-down that has served us quite well for the past 14 years, but it’s tired. It’s saggy and uncomfortable. So, when we started all this, I wrote on one of my post-its that in 10 years I don’t want to be sitting on this same worn out couch anymore. And there is a feeling of freedom and release that I have found by writing on a post-it. It is something that is important to me. And together we can determine when the time is right to buy a new couch. But putting it on a post it helps me. It is out there & won’t be forgotten. And I am ok with prioritizing things like fixing the back deck, and preschool tuition because I know that my desire for a new couch is not being ignored or forgotten. It’s been made known and we agree that replacing the couch should happen. But it’s no longer an emotional decision to replace the couch because I found a good deal on one online that I really like and ‘a deal like this just won’t come around again.’ (That’s not true.) When the time is right, and we have the funds, we will be able to find a suitable couch in our price range. (That’s the truth.)

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To me, this is the beauty of the post-it system.

There is also freedom in looking at the wall and choosing to spend my 15 minutes of free time while both kids are napping to put some work in on something we have collectively decided is a priority. And that means it is ok for me to ignore some of the other things I feel a need to be doing.

So, I can spend 15 minutes searching Craigslist and AutoTrader for a new car. I don’t have to feel guilty for doing that. (Even though there are lots of other things that could be done…sorting the books that don’t all fit on the bookshelf…so instead, they get piled in stacks next to the bookshelf.) And many days, part of me really wants to just sit and sort through the piles of books and get rid of what doesn’t fit on the shelves, because I really LOVE doing tasks like that. But that fire isn’t the one that needs to be put out right now, so it is better to just let it burn (or simmer, as it were) and we will get to the books when some of the other, more pressing things have been tackled.

I’m still tired. But we are already making progress on things and throwing post-its away because we are accomplishing some of what we have set out to do.

I stay at home with a toddler and an infant. I might feel tired for the foreseeable future. But I have a renewed hope that I won’t be sitting in this saggy, worn out sofa forever. One day I’ll rest these weary bones on a new sofa, and I will enjoy it all the more because we worked hard to get to that post-it.

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