Every once in a while I get an itch to go shopping and get something new. It only happens a few times a year (I don't like to shop) and I recognize that 9 times in 10, what I really need to do is clean out my closet, or clean and re-organize some part of my house- whichever is tempting me to roam. The answer is usually that I need to simplify, not multiply. I always feel better when I do, I appreciate what I have more, and then if I do run into something awesome sometime, there's a place for it.
Last week I woke up and decided I was a little tired of my kitchen as-is. So spur of the moment, I drug everything off of the counter/cabinets (I just reorganized the insides of the cabinets earlier this summer, for the same reason). When you get the itch, you just have to surrender to it. It's like working out. You're always glad you did it once you're there.
It took a whole day, and some of the stuff that was waaaay up high was super dirty, but I felt so much better when it was done. I didn't realize how much it had been irritating me.
I got rid of a boat-load of stuff I didn't need anymore. Mostly it was things people had given me that I felt obliged to keep.
While I worked in the kitchen I had Grace and Patie clean out the bench at our table. For years the kids had it filled with table activities- puzzles, crayons, etc. that they could use while I was making dinner and needed to keep an eye on them. They're older now and we've fallen out of that habit.
So, I told them to sort it, clean it up, and find a place for it all in their school room. Grace loves to organize and tidy things up, Patience loves to take things apart and put them back together- and they both love finding those "lost" things that inevitably pop up when you super-clean. They make a great team. Lily and Hudson love being left to their own devices all day. Win-win.
Now I am using it for easy-access to candles, napkins- entertaining stuff. I'd been wanting to get to this for a long time.
My kitchen is spruced up and way cleaner, I feel better, and I didn't buy anything. In fact, I have a lot less, and it feels great.