Friday, December 23, 2005

Living Simply

One of the prominent reasons for stress in the home is disorganization. Sometimes when the house is in disarray, people's tempers run short, and everyone is cross. Sloppy living can sometimes lead to sloppy thinking and confusion. Confused thoughts seem to multiply as the mess multiplies.

It is difficult to have real peace of mind and a peaceful, happy home when disorganization reigns. Women of the past knew the value of cleaning out a desk drawer or straightening out a closet, when their minds began to swim in a muddle of confusion.

I heard many conversations while I was a child, about how women coped with confusion and disorganization in the home. This was long before therapy books, counselling, or tell-all TV shows existed.

"I just start sorting out a book shelf, or clean the kitchen," said one, and "I wash my hair," said another. Asked what they did when they were engulfed in loneliness or grief: "Clean house." It took me years to understand this, but it was something that was practiced in times past, that was constructive. Learning what to do with restlessness, discontent, worry or anxiety, is a lesson that future generations need.

I've tried to put together a simple list of things I've observed in families and homes where peace reigns.

1. Have an accounting of your own posessions and know where everything is, so that you can go straight to an item when you need it.

2. Have friends who build you up and give you energy and inspiration. Too much negative information from people whose lives are always fallling apart, can rub off on you.Daytime shows on television are full of people getting into trouble, getting out of trouble, and getting back into trouble. If you wouldn't allow such troubles in your home, it is wise not to let it broadcast into your living room.

3.Simplify by getting rid of things you do not really need and could do without. I'm not talking about a few good heirlooms from your grandmother's estate, but the unimportant things that are never used and don't have a purpose in the home.

4. Create beauty and order in the home by learning a little about colors and interior decorating. This is a worthwhile investment because it results in many happy, contented hours at home.

5.Do something creative in your life every day--sew, write, paint a picture, arrange flowers, build or craft something, or just arrange a table;--engaging the mind with creativity organizes your thoughts.

6.Treat your family members as though they were the most precious people on the earth, even when they are out of sorts.

7. Don't get caught up in the frenzy of "getting somewhere" in life. As soon as you get there, you will only find somewhere else better to go. Instead, concentrate on building character qualities that will get you anywhere.

8. Read something to improve your mind each day.

9. Don't have too much to do. Too many social obligations, or too much activity can burn out your creativity and cause depression.

10. Instead of pressuring yourself to give people "things," write them notes or letters to build them up.

"To live content with what you have;
To seek elegance rather than luxury,
And refinement rather than fashion;
To be worthy, not reputable, and wealthy, not rich;
To listen to stars and birds, babes and sages with open heart;
To study hard;
To think quietly, act frankly, talk gently, await occasions,
Hurry never;
In a word to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious, grow up through the common--
This is my symphony." -- William Henry Channing

"Keep your life free from the love of money, and be content with what you have." Hebrews

I certainly don't want to be insensitive to those who are starting out with nothing, nor imply they shouldn't have goals toward getting the things they need to set up housekeeping, but the less you have, the easier it is to find it when you need it. Being organized can eliminate a lot of the pressures in life.

Poster by Judy Gibson


Anonymous said...

Lady Lydia, this article is wonderful! And you are so absolutely right. Thank you once again for the inspiration.


Lydia said...

These practices existed years before therapy or counselling was popular. Going for a walk, cleaning out a shelf, or sweeping a floor, is a way of taking pressure off the mind. Of course, if you are sick of housework, you can always go outside...

Anonymous said...

This is a very helpful article, I've saved it to look at when I'm feeling bad. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Great article and one I have found to be so true. I learned long ago that if I feel bad a clean house can make a huge difference. I think it settles the mind which in turn affects the rest of the body. I've been enjoying your articles and the rest on LAF for some time. May I just say that one thing it inspired me to to do although I'm ashamed to admit it is get rid of all the romance novels I had. I not talking Jane Austen romance, but those modern very explicit novels. I finally realized that as a single woman they just left me depressed, but I had this "I paid for them so I better read them" mentality. The articles on LAF plus turning 30 and realizing that I'm never going to read all the books I want even if I live to be 100 pushed me to try to be more selective about my reading material from now on. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Re: "Women of the past knew the value of cleaning out a desk drawer or straightening out a closet, when their minds began to swim in a muddle of confusion."

I have recently found this to be true in my own life. Whenever I become frustrated, overwhelmed or upset, the first thing that comes to mind are the places in the house that need attention! After this happened several times, I started going and taking care of the clutter or mess and now find that when I'm upset for any reason, cleaning house calms me down and helps me to start thinking clearly again.

I really enjoy this blog and have found many of the articles to be of great help! Thank you.

Mommaroo2 said...

That is all very true. I am just now starting to take control of my life and my house, and I am much happier for it. Breaking the tv habit is hard, but I am trying to wean myself off it by only watching my organizing and decorating shows, health shows, etc. But I'm limiting myself to tv only when I fold laundry. So at least I'm doing something constructive! TV has really kept me from doing what needs to be done. Since re-dedicating myself to my family and home, I have organized closets, the laundry room, and the computer room, and almost caught up with the laundry!


Anonymous said...

I just came upon your site this morning, and I was curious to know if you've heard of FLYlady, Lady Lydia. It's a wonderful website, and it's really helped me to be a better wife and homemaker. -- I can't recommend it highly enough.


Anonymous said...

I sent this to a few of my girlfriends. They think that I'm way out there on my thoughts on how to run my home and life. I don't care anymore. I'm home getting ready to homeschool my children at 9AM when they're all rushing to work in rush hour. Their husbands take it more easy than they do. It's terrible.

The Proverbs Wife said...

I agree Lady Elizabeth. One of your commentors wrote that sent your enrty to a friend, well my friend would be offended by this sort of thinking. I don't have many women in my community that share your views. It's sad to see that todays women think it a pity to have one's focus on caring for the home. Let alone looking to the duties of the home as being theraputic. It's good to know that there are women in the world who have chosen to put the family first.