It snowed several inches overnight and the schools are closed for the day.  I’m happy to have another day with the kids, snowed in and cozy on our farm.  I miss homeschooling most days, and a five day weekend with them has been nice.

I’ve taken to lighting candles in the morning and evening, I miss our fireplaces in our old house.   We have seven chimneys in our new home but they are all original masonry and it is not safe to burn wood in the fireplaces.  We are hoping to have gas inserts put in in the parlor fireplaces, and I would like to either restore in family room fireplace or install a gas burning stove in there.  I saw a perfect one at Lehman’s a few weeks ago.  Even with new windows, this big old house is slightly drafty and I am looking forward to the day that we have the additional warmth of working fireplaces and stoves.

When the wind blows out of the west our house sounds like a harmonica, or a train whistle.  The first time it happened it took us a little while to identify the source of the strange noises.  I was relieved when we were able to say it was of this world, and not something paranormal.

The kids and I used the five day weekend to reevaluate the things we were holding onto.  We started in our closets and then worked through bedrooms, and I also did our mudroom and closet.  I feel so much better with less things.  I’ve now sorted my closet three times, and I feel that I will continue to reevaluate what remains there for a while.  I’ve been reading about slow fashion, and the harmful effects of the fashion industry on the environment, and the poor working conditions of factory workers who are producing so much of our disposable wardrobes.  So for the next year I’m making a pledge to myself to not purchase any new clothing.  I’ll shop second hand and make my own clothes for the year.  And I am going to try and do the same for the kids.

What was not kept in my closet or the kids closets went into piles including: donate, recycle, and re-wear, and a just in case pile.  Items that we decided we were not going to ever wear, because either it didn’t fit right or wasn’t really our style, but had lots of good life left in it went into the donate pile.  Those items that still had value, but maybe not as clothing went into the recycling pile to be remade into craft projects, dish rags, etc.  And finally the re-wear pile included any clothes that could be passed down to a younger sibling.  The just in case pile was for extra sweaters, sweatshirts, jackets, blankets, towels.  Things that might be useful some day. . . just in case, you know, society as we know it collapses.

The next step in the closet/wardrobe simplification is that for the kids I’m grouping 5 outfits for school days, 2 church outfits, and then 5 shirts, and 2 bottoms of farm clothes.  Too often I feel like I end up washing clean clothes that they’ve put into their dirty laundry hampers because they just don’t want to take the time to put them away.  I’m sure I’m also not the only parent who become frustrated because their kids prefer to wear the same outfit the majority of the time while many very nice options hang in their closet unworn.  It’s maddening and I’m hopeful that maybe this will help.

The basement is next on my purging/organizing/simplifying list.  After that I’ll need to work on our office, but not until after taxes are done.

The best part of this first step in simplifying our lives is that Grace already commented about how wonderful it felt when we had purged her room and she spent some time organizing her art supplies and everything had a place and was in its place.


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