Taking Back the House

With Christmas over for another year the kids, as always were a bit forlorn

I on the other hand was elated.

Not because I don’t love Christmas but because I get my house back.

Well as much back as it will ever be.

If Christmas is all about the children than January has to be all about the grown ups and reclaiming a little space and  sanity.

Christmas pushes this house to its very limits. Anyone else? Every single surface and corner and space seems to get crammed full to overflowing. I don’t mind it at first, I take it as a blessing – it feels cozy and festive  but oh my goodness it has a limited life span.

Theres a fine line too between cozy and cramped and I think we may have crossed it when the third Christmas tree went up. Kids set up a tree each in there own rooms just to add to the Christmas cheer ! and lets just say those room sizes were not designed for it.

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It may take me some time to get my head around the new year but by January 1st the house is well and truly ready to shed the Christmas kilos.

The Nester shared this quote on Instagram  recently

Carving out a haven for yourself and those near to you is a sacred endeavour   (Sarah Ban Breathnach  from “Simple Abundance”, A Daybook of Comfort and Joy)

My heart says yes it is.

It just doesn’t always feel that way.

Simply put sacred means “connected to God”

That’ll do me

But most days making home doesn’t feel sacred

Most days

It feels like a slippery slope

It feels like clawing my way back from the brink

It feels like a one woman losing battle.

It feels like herding cats

We returned from our lovely christmas camping trip exhausted and happy on January 1st and I went back to work (now 9-5) on the 2nd. Our camping stuff basically got piled on top of our Christmas stuff and a lot of it just as you walk in the front door. And despite kind requests from me to start putting things away, thats pretty much where it stayed for the next three days. No one else seemed to worry about it. A mountain of stuff  trailing into every  room in the house – rooms bursting at the seams – baskets of clothes to be unpacked stranded in the hallway – not a problem apparently.

By Friday morning my attitude was anything but sacred. I got up early while they slept. I banged things around, swept loudly, packed the dishwasher loudly, threw things in the washing machine, shoved baskets of clothes and christmas trees boxes into there rooms and with that off my chest left for work surprisingly happy with instructions to pack up their trees and clean up “or else”.

I don’t know what “or else” was.

Me doing it myself probably but it seemed to work as I got home to  a slight improvement in affairs and the trees were in their boxes.

Oh a little bit of progress can go a long way and so can a tiny bit of clean and organised. It was enough for even the kids to mention how much better their rooms felt. So that kick started a discussion of a few improvements they could make in their rooms and I piped in with a few random thoughts on the new year and letting go of a lot of excess stuff they no longer used or wanted.

They agreed in theory

but it took bribery to get them over the line.

The following Saturday we had a wander around the shops and Ethan chose a  clothes rack/ wardrobe type thing he’s wanted for a while in exchange for letting go of at least 50% of the stuff in his room. It was a bargain he was willing to make. We also had a chat about only keeping the clothes he wears and loves. The word capsule wardrobe was not mentioned but thats quietly where we are headed. Garment rack was $20.00 from Big W – not designed to last a life time but designed to get my boy inspired and taking some pride in his room.  I don’t for a minute think he’ll be in a big hurry to hang his clothes up but who knows lets give it a try anyway.

A mountain of dust and dirt and unwanted stuff went out. We found the can of paint we bought for his walls six months ago hidden under his bed.  Yes we’ve had that paint six months !!!! We exchanged glances and deep breaths and decided it was now or never. I did the edges, he rolled the walls and it was done by the next day. Mid summer in that tiny room was like a sauna even with the fan on but he now has two charcoal grey walls – his choice  – and they look great. It was a marathon, it looked way worse before it looked better but we are all happy with the results.

And this – hanging out with my boy for the better part of a weekend, talking about things he wants to do this year, helping make his room a place he feels is his own and has his stamp on it, me not nagging or micro managing – that felt a little bit sacred.

Not perfect but a whole lot better and yes he’s claimed this chair for his own “just for now”. He ditched the faux fur.

It took me to the following Wednesday to work up the energy to deal with the family Christmas tree that was still taking up an entire corner of the lounge room. She’s a beauty but I have to rearrange the furniture each year to fit her in. I think everyone, except me, had just stopped seeing it but oh my goodness what a difference when  it was gone.  I had my lounge room back – the space, the light –  I could suddenly think straight again. So I kept going and completely cleared off my kitchen bench as well as its about three feet away from the lounge room and that too was worth its weight in new years resolutions. I basked in that sense of freshness for days.

And yes that felt a little bit sacred too. Clearing out the old to make room for the new – making small changes even very simple ones can shove us into the territory of fresh hope and new possibility. It can help us see and appreciate what we already have with fresh eyes and maybe even believe that the most outlandish of dreams might be possible in the new year

The following weekend it was Livvy’s turn and having got wind of what we’d got done in Ethan’s room she was more than ready to give her room a little revamp. Her idea of tidying  up to date is shoving everything she can find into the wardrobe or on top of her desk or under the bed. Heres the evidence – pics taken last September.

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I’d title this the mother of all messes but its a little girl who master minded this horror. We’ve had a few tidy ups and throw outs since of course but things have a way of building up again especially with the festive season thrown in.

So in exchange for letting go of a whole slew of unwanted stuff she decided on a storage container for  her Christmas decorations and for her and I to go out get our nails done together. Bless her. No arguments from me.

Olivia’s a bit like this when it comes to tidying up. (Aren’t we all)

But this time was kind of special – new year, new room kind of special. She put on the music, she brought in snacks, I didn’t have any melt downs about what a bomb site the room was and why does it get to this stage  –  it was almost a party. It took us three hours, it was messy, it was mind boggling what was in that room, it was fun, it was time together. And that too felt in the ball park of sacred. We finished up with her sitting down at her freshly cleaned down desk – miracle –  with her new year diary and colouring pencils and washi tape and scrap book paper and scissors – another mess on the way for sure, but a million dreams in her head and a sparkle of adventure in her eyes.

So at what point in our making home do we nudge our way into the territory of the sacred

Maybe when we throw what we have (and a girl throw will do) – our limited time, our still broken hearts, our so so skills, all of that love and hope –  at our right now lives – the sacred is what bounces back.

What bounces back isn’t a perfectly appointed home, or a cookie cutter life.

Nothing as fleeting

What bounced back these past few weeks – after my tantrum and my wondering “who lives like this?” after our shopping and painting and clearing and cleaning was some of that golden one on one time with the kids. Us just being together – a shared project,  a bit of fun, a laugh, a few squabbles some hopes and dreams shared. And  below the surface of that the message that I hope is really soaking into their skin is that their dreams are my dreams and that being with them and making things right for them  is the most important thing I’ll ever do.

What bounced back too is the house a bit fresher and cleaner and more comfortable than it was – a bit easier on the eye and little more restful and inspiring to Ken and I and two little peoples souls, one thats a safe place to dream dreams and that points us all in the direction of a new year and fresh possibility.

That feels sacred.

Id like to say the house is now “back” and all under control but this is me so let’s be serious – the kids are sitting pretty but right now my own room is completely pulled apart while I paint the walls white, I’ve a stack of op shop frames waiting to be spray painted cause there’s a new gallery wall percolating in my head and my lovely striped dining room table is right at this moment completely covered in clothes waiting to be folded.

Its a good life.

Happy New Year friends.

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4 thoughts on “Taking Back the House

  1. Yes, “a little bit sacred.”
    That’s how I feel too when I’m clearing away the Christmas — as you say, “taking back the house.”
    It’s always a relief once it’s done, but I go through all kinds of misgivings while I”m doing it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Tracey, this was such a beautiful read. Oh, the sacred is disguised in the ordinary, isn’t it?! — Loved this. — And, I’ve been trying to get my youngest (15) to organize his room with me. He’s semi on-board. 🙂 — Happy New Year. I pray 2018 is good to you and your family. ((hug))

    Liked by 1 person

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