Right now, as I contemplate the subject of summer projects the only project I want to be occupied with on this breezy summer morning is drinking coffee on the deck overlooking my treelined backyard. There are a million projects I could begin and a long list of things that need to be done. The gardens need to be watered, the dishes washed, the floors vacuumed, the bathrooms cleaned. It goes on and on. There are a few things that have been on my to do list for quite a while like catching up on downloading the family videos and burning them to CDs. My blood pressure is rising just thinking about the last five years of video clips waiting for me. Before I know it, we will be school shopping and I will have to write out our schedule for the homeschool year. There’s not much time left of summer vacation, so should I use up my valuable downtime on household work?
Thankful for Help
While I sit here on the deck I can see black mold covering the white siding on the back of our house. A month ago, I thought about scrubbing it off. I would need a ladder, a long, pole-type, scrub brush, and a few buckets of some kind of mold removal soap. My husband suggested hiring someone to do it for us. I disagreed. Who knew how much it would cost to hire someone to power wash our whole house? I could handle it as long as someone held the ladder. But two weeks later the mold was still there and the project seemed bigger than I had originally thought. In two days a guy we found on Angie’s List who is coming over to clean it for a reasonable price. The house will look as good as new and I won’t have to spend a whole day doing only a quarter of the siding that was within my reach. I am thankful for help on this project that was only going to overwhelm me and consume way too much of my time. Once in a while getting help from someone with experience and in this case, the proper equipment is valuable for me to get a project done.
Creating Space from Clutter
Last summer I found a book on the used book sale shelf at our local library called The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin (https://www.amazon.com/product-reviews/1443414565). The cover was cute and it looked interesting enough so I bought it and tossed it into my beach bag for a relaxing summer read. I quickly realized how her book became a #1 New York Times Bestseller. She made it her primary goal for about a year to come up with a plan for feeling happier about her life. One of the things that struck a chord with me was how she boosted her energy and happiness by getting rid of clutter.
Homeschoolers generate clutter all day long. We have the kids’ homeschool books, papers, folders, pens, pencils, markers, notebooks, paints, scissors, mom’s teacher books, papers, and folders scattered wherever we do the majority of our homeschooling. That’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to clutter. We do a lot of living in our homes as homeschoolers and the clutter can seem out of control. As much as I would love to make money off of our old homeschool books, I finally realized that unless I have a friend asking me for something I’m done with, the easiest way for me to create space around my house and maybe boost my energy like Gretchen Rubin suggested was to start throwing things away. The quicker I work the better and finding a suitable home for everything I clear out is only going to slow me down to the point where I will never get the job done. This is a continual project for me, but after I clear out a shelf or two in the closets it is remarkable how creating that empty space does give me energy and at the same time helps to keep the clutter monster at bay.
One thing is for sure, there will always be projects to be done. Whether it’s summertime or the middle of a frigid winter, I will always have a to-do list and inevitably something on that list will make my blood pressure go up with the thought of it. I could rush around every single day for the rest of the summer trying to get all of the lists done by the time our homeschool year starts up again. Is that really going to help me in the long run? Don’t I deserve a break from the pressure to get all of the projects done? There has to be a balance. Over the summer my kids and I are busy relaxing at the beach, building friendships at playdates, and splashing in Grandma’s pool. The projects can wait.