It's the small things that bring me joy.
Every Summer we go to Camp Calumet in New Hampshire, where this year our eldest three are in Resident Camp and our younger two are in Day Camp. That means I have to pack for three kids for a week of camp, plus a few days; for two kids who stay at Family Camp with us; and for two adults, including clothing, bathing suits, beach towels, bath towels, toiletries, multiple pairs of shoes, sleeping bags, pillows, and the list goes on. Then there are the bins and coolers of food and supplies needed to prepare, cook, serve, and eat said food. And a very large tent, an air bed, an air mattress, a screen tent, camp chairs... that's a lot of stuff!
In the past, it's been a mad scramble to catch up with laundry in order to be able to pack everything the kids need, to dig through everything in our garage and basement to gather the supplies we need, and wading through the storage closet to dig out the sleeping bags from amongst snowsuits and boxes of who-knows-what since we haven't opened them since we moved here nearly fifteen years ago.
But not this year.
Over the past year, I've worked to minimize the amount of stuff in our house. We've sorted through all of our clothing several times to weed out what doesn't fit and what we don't wear. Systematically going through every room, drawer, and closet in the house, including the basement and garage, we've cast off what isn't needed, what doesn't bring joy or beauty, and what doesn't serve a purpose.Whenever I've thought, "but I might need this some day," it's gone in the donation bin. If someday comes, I'll find that whatever-it-is in a thrift shop or borrow one from a friend. We've donated sheets and towels to a local animal shelter, clothing to St. Pauly's, and household items to our local thrift store.
So this year, there's no wading through anything to get to what we need to pack - it's all easily accessible. We no longer have a giant pile of laundry waiting to be washed, even though there are seven of us living in this house, so packing clothing is just a matter of deciding what we want to wear and shoving it in a backpack or suitcase. Once Camp is over, the camping items will go back into their respective bins and be stored in a place designated for camping items, and putting the other items away will be easy because everything has a place, and more importantly, there's room for everything. Compared to other years, packing this year has been a cinch. Well, as much of a cinch as packing for seven people can be.
This year I didn't create more mess in my house by rifling through everything to pull out camping items, so our house will be much cleaner upon departure than it has been in the past. We won't be adding smelly camp laundry to our already overwhelming laundry pile when we arrive home, as there is no pile. That, in and of itself, makes me not dread the task of unpacking and getting back to "real life." Leaving a neat house and coming back with things that can easily be put back into their designated places will hopefully make for a smooth transition, which would be a miracle.
I, a packrat by nature, never pictured myself as a Minimalist, but it seems that day by day I'm headed in that blissful direction. It's a simple as that.