Busy Signal

by Mrs. Smith on July 14, 2015

I found this post saved as a draft, written 3 months ago when Mr.Smith was out of town.  Aw, vintage!  I think it got shelved so I could populate it with more pictures… Meh.  It’s getting posted without.  You can just use your imagination:  

Cute, clever memes. Hilarious photo of the 4yo saying “Ugh.”  Short video clip of Cloud Cuckoo Land.  Zen landscape.  That kind of thing.  I could even do a cringe-faced selfie in front of my cluttered counter.  

Perfectionism, thou are the devil.

Here it is, in all its imperfect, rambling glory.

I’m glad I’ve got a phone again.

I really should call my old provider and figure out if my old # can be fowarded to the new one, at least for a little while — if nothing else, I’d l.o.v.e. to get the text messages that I can hear ding-ing through the cracked, black screen.

But I’m busy. Like, Mothers-Who-Know type busy.

Every minute of every day is full of LIFE and the nurturing thereof.  It’s precious. It’s amazing. It’s wonderful. I love it. Maybe I don’t really want to see those texts…Who can be bothered with getting #s forwarded?  Eesh.

And somehow in the midst of it, I am also wanting to completely gut the house. Yes, I do.

You’d like me to elaborate?

Oh good, because I want to ramble.

I want to turn the whole place inside-out, upside-down, shake it out, wipe it off, run it through the washer (twice) and hang it dry… just like I did with the 7yo’s naaaaaaaasty stinky reusable lunchbag last week.

Yes, I want the whole house gutted.

Why I think I can manage something that huge, I have no idea. I only know that I want to. Really really want to. I want my surroundings to reflect more order and peace and love, because that’s what I feel inside now – usually.  When the mess and clutter of my house doesn’t get to me, anyway.

The things we reeeeally want usually find a way to get to us, and so it did not surprise me, really, that the perfect manual for that very job jumped out at me.

It’s called,
“JUST THROW IT ALL AWAY” by Kwit Puttingitoff

Okay, okay, no it’s not.
It’s called “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying-Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing” and it’s by Marie Kondo

It popped up in an ad on amazon one day and I impulsively bought it.  I never do that!  It takes me, like, 100 hours to finally click “purchase.” But when I read the subtitle, something in me just knew this was it.  30 seconds later, purchase = confirmed.

I couldn’t put it down when it finally came (no, really, I was reading it out loud to the kids during dinner that night) – and I was pretty much tickled pink to realize that my first efforts towards a more organized home had been more or less following her method…
Consolidating by type, not room.
Doing it once-and-for-all, not little by little for eternity.
Being ruthless about only keeping things that “spark joy.”

Yay! Exactly!  Definitely had that divine-intervention sort of feeling there.

It was like my prayers for help in this department were directly answered with how-to manual.

Instructions!  YES!  I love it when there are instructions.


So yeah. I don’t know how to make time for it, but I’m leaving that part in God’s hands for now. I’m letting the desire keep working and doing its thing, and I’m still working on the “spiritual creation” part, where I’m trying to get a completely clear picture of the end result.  Ms. Kondo even has that written in to her book.

Step One: Visualize.

(Is that so me or what?!  LOVE IT!)

What do I really want in our home?
What will that look like? Feel like? Be like?

She doesn’t allow you to proceed unless you have a really clear picture in mind of not just what it will look like, but the lifestyle you want your surroundings to facillitate.  Isn’t that lovely?  It’s not about the organizing.  It’s about getting that done and overwith so you can live. 

It’s been Cloud Cuckoo Land in Smithtopia for… ever… and I expect with this many littles running around, there will always be that spontaneous, joyfully-messy, lived-in, who-cares-if-it’s-perfect look.  But all those littles and all that “living” going on all the time, is why we have to do this gutting, er, “tidying up” business.

As Sis. Burton said:

Mothers who know do less. They permit less of what will not bear good fruit eternally. They allow less media in their homes, less distraction, less activity that draws their children away from their home. Mothers who know are willing to live on less and consume less of the world’s goods in order to spend more time with their children—more time eating together, more time working together, more time reading together, more time talking, laughing, singing, and exemplifying. These mothers choose carefully and do not try to choose it all. Their goal is to prepare a rising generation of children who will take the gospel of Jesus Christ into the entire world. Their goal is to prepare future fathers and mothers who will be builders of the Lord’s kingdom for the next 50 years. That is influence; that is power.



It’s no fun to spend time taking care of things you don’t need or eve want… And it really is not fun to never be able to find things when you need them, and to have to see piles of clutter on every horizontal surface.

Every. Single. One.

BLECH.  Or, as the 4yo would say,


No more I say.

But it’s going to be, um, different.  Way different than the clutter I’ve always created around me.  It’s amazing how getting rid of internal baggage really frees you up to do the same to your surroundings.

In years past when I would buckle down and tackle the house one shelf at a time, one room at a time, or whatever, it never worked.  I did my best, and given the circumstances I think I did a fabulous job.

[pats self on back]

I wish I could go back and be more patient with myself.  I was carrying a hard, hard load mentally/emotionally and I really didn’t know it.

But yeah.  Things never stayed clean for long.  Even now, if I clear a counter, it’ll likely be cluttered up again in 30 minutes.  One day later, guaranteed it will be hard to tell the thing was cleared off completely just the day before.  Clearly there’s still something intimidating to me about empty space… But I’ve learned not to beat myself up about it.  Also, I don’t beat the children who help clutter the counter, which I think is also notable.

I’m okay if it takes me a month or two to actually start.  I’ve come to understand the importance of having a plan, and making sure it’s a good one.  When I find myself getting impatient, I go and tackle something in the old “one shelf at a time” drill.  Makes me happy.


When I do get started, officially, and begin Tidying Up For Reals, I have a feeling I’m going to drag my kids into the creation process… Partly because they’re always here. Right? There’d be no way to do it without them.  And if I tried, they’d be hearing “Go away, I’m cleaning” for, like, 6 months. Not desirable, even if it were possible!

Besides, they need to learn to work anyway.

But the *real* reason I’m sticking them on this assignment with me is… because… I actually need them. I need their freshness. Their newness. Their simplicity. Their raw sense of joy. They are going to catch on to this method far more quickly than I will, and they will be teaching me before we’ve been at it very long.


I love how I was okay if it took a month or two, because it has.  And I’m still okay with it.

Also. My cleared-off counters now might possibly last 45 minutes instead of just 30, and the next day you actually MIGHT be able to tell it was cleared off recently.  Miraculous changes going on.  😉  Hahaha.


I’ve kinda given up on the “drag the kids along” idea.  That was pretty unrealistic.  Kids don’t declutter.  They make messes.  Joyfully.  They clean their rooms. Unhappily – and usually involving shortcuts that are not Mom-approved.  I haven’t yet figured out how to make this new “game-plan” of tidying up a kid-friendly “game.”  Toss your ideas my way – I’m all ears.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Kimberly August 7, 2015 at 3:03 pm

Hahahaha! Guess what book i read 2 weeks ago. Yes, sir, same one.

And we’re moving slowly. And I found a way to get E involved and so far….the bits we have done are working.

Amazing. I took all her clothes out of her closet and asked told her to think about how her art kit and her doll made her feel. I defined that as the feeling of items that bring you joy. She happily got rid of half the stuff hanging in her closet that day and has not missed any of it. And then she had to clean out a couple of drawers in her dest, and most everything went in the trash. Before, she would have kept it all, but I reminded her of the joy idea, and she threw all the stuff away.

I am loving it.


Mrs. Smith August 7, 2015 at 3:09 pm

NO WAY. We are too funny.


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