As my house descends into the chaos of sorting and packing for our forthcoming move, I have learned two important lessons.
My husband has told me we have to be ruthless in sorting out all the clutter which surrounds and stresses us, and that I really have to sort out and get rid of stuff as we pack up. I agree with him. There is much truth in the idea that the more we have, the more stress comes with it ... A bigger house means more space to fill with more stuff, which then needs to be sorted and tidied and cleaned. I am the type of person who likes things neat and clean, so I do struggle to manage the mess as a home educating parent. On the one hand, I do not want to be so particular about the house that I limit the boys' play and creativity. On the flipside, in terms of my own wellbeing, I have come to realise that clear, tidy surfaces mean calm and peace of mind. What to do?
Well, a good sort out is actually a good start.
And I am trying to be ruthless, and pass things on to charity shops or to others who might find things useful. A few things I am selling! As I have been sorting, I have had to face the fact that my sons do not learn in ways which I would have expected them to, or in ways which I might learn myself. One sad truth for me is that they very rarely look at books. I love books, and accumulate many - especially those I think will be useful to us in our learning. But, in honesty, they do not get looked at very much. The boys learn in a myriad of other ways - some of which are surprising to me. But they do learn. So I am beginning to let go of the idea that learning must involve books. It is difficult for me. But I have managed to pass a lot of our 'useful' books on to others this week.
With modern technology, so much is available online now, and this actually reduces our need for clutter around us. The music on our CDs is now on our computer. I cleared out some old VHS videotapes, now obsolete. DVDs are going the same way. I have also found that, as I pack away and reduce the clutter - the books, toys, games, and general day-to-day stuff which we have managed to acquire - we actually need very little. My youngest son has played very happily all this afternoon with a cardboard box, giving it far more attention than most toys he has been given.
There are good life lessons in the sorting and the packing of the moving boxes!