Our Homes Tell A Story. Are You Willing To Listen?

Our homes tell a story

A year ago I was asked by my coach to think about a name for my newsletter. Instinctly I blurted out, "Return To You." 

She said she liked the sound of it but asked me to describe what it meant. I fumbled over some words and never really got out the meaning behind it. It was if I knew the meaning, but it was locked deep within me and I couldn't quite articulate it. 

Until this week. 

As I was deep in my morning reading, the meaning of "Return To You" just leapt out of me onto a piece of paper. 

My whole life I have been blessed with an organized mind and a detachment to things. I can remember with great pride the ease of life that came with living with less. In 2010, I started a business where I help other women uncover the power of an organized home and dodge the excuses that so lovingly keep them stuck.  

One thing is certain, since starting the business I have heard it all and I have seen it all. 

Our homes tell a story and that story is unique to each one of us. Sometimes the story is very loud and obvious when you walk in the door, and other times it takes some digging for it to show itself. 

What makes up our story?

The books on our shelves, the movies by our TV, the art we collect and display, the collections of rubber duckies, the abounding inventory of kitchen gadgets and appliances stuffed in the garage.

It is all unique based on:
who we are,
what we love to do,
what we used to do,
and what's been passed down to us.

Most of us start out with empty-ish spaces and sparse furnishings after a graduation from college. Little by little we begin to accumulate and year after year our homes fill up with more. Add in other people and our stuff seems to multiply.

By the time I am called, the overarching feeling about the home is "I am overwhelmed." While most mommas want to organize their way out of the mess, it is important that we listen to the story the stuff is telling us.

If we don't like the story, then this is our chance for a "do-over".

As we begin to make decisions as to what to keep and what to offer up for adoption, we uncover something very powerful.

The story.

We uncover clothes and necklaces bought to keep up with trend and fashion yet never worn because we couldn't quite figure out how to make it all come together.

We uncover gifts received but never used because we don't like the smell of gardenia candles or we didn't need another kitchen gadget to add to our overfilled drawers.

We uncover relics of past selves like the yoga mat that we once practiced on, or the books that we used to have the time to read.

We uncover aspirations for a person we want to be like the scrapbooking supplies for our children's "baby" books, overlooking the fact that they are in college now.

We uncover a whole load of "should"s like the party supplies or the entertaining platters so we can host epic birthday parties or Martha Stewart worthy Thanksgiving dinners.

We uncover layers upon layers of passed down "heirlooms" feeling guilty at the mere thought of letting them go and poor Aunt Gertrude rolling over in her grave.

And lastly, we uncover the "I mights" and the "just in case"s holding on to each with such verocity because the fear of letting it go and needing it one day in the future makes our stomachs churn at the wastefulness of it all.

Stuff is easy to accumulate, yet overwhelming to get rid of.

Choice after choice, we turn the page in the storybook of our homes and lives. We justify and excuse in an effort to ward off the guilt of having more than we need and use. Our frivolousness staring us in the face. Our families disappointed that we didn't cherish their stuff as much as they did.

The decision is the hard part, "Do I want this? yes or no?"

What seems so simple to the eye can feel so hard. It's not just stuff that you are letting go, but rather all the shoulds, the maybes, and the used tos.

When you cut through those excuses, you begin to return to you. The authentic version of you that has been burried under all the stuff.

She is sitting in there just waiting for you to knock on her door.

Will you invite her in?

Jennifer Burnham