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Change of Seasons

Here in Houston the temperatures are climbing, pools are splashing, and the school year is coming to a close with metaphorical fireworks! It’s another change of seasons and in my family that means welcoming home two college kids with all their accouterments, preparing for a Mexican beach getaway with my in-laws, and finally getting the baby moved out of her little cradle in our room, and into her own full-size crib in her sister's room next door. Not to mention all of the school kids' backpacks coming home full of…stuff. This week, I found myself floundering a bit in the logistics of it all. In a household of 11 persons, it doesn’t take much to feel the chaos that comes with any change of seasons. I mean, realistically, if each of us leaves just one pair of shoes out, that equals 22 items that need to be put away! Usually, we’re pretty good at staying on top of the chaos, but for some reason this particular summer came on strong, and I found the need to remind myself of the basics, and also to come up with some new strategies. In our house, one of the basic principles is “people over things”. Simply put, we value people more than we value things. (I mean, who doesn’t!) But there’s nuance to this principle, for it is precisely because we value people that we try hard to take good care of our things, and theirs. And when “things" are at the center of discord, or tension in our home, we’re more inclined to sacrifice the stuff before we’d sacrifice the relationship.

I’ll bet you can imagine how tricky this all becomes to a high school junior, when her college sophomore sister moves back in with her, after two years of having the room all to herself. Or the 10-year-old boy, who’s desk will now be shared by his 19-year-old brother for a good part of the summer.

So again, we started with the basics. We began by decluttering. This meant going through all. the. things. We threw away a truly shocking amount of literal trash and recycling that was hanging out in the kids rooms. Then we decided what could be donated or sold. I let my people keep whatever they wanted, we simply stored away unused items.

I also had to get creative with new storage solutions. We freed up space in the laundry room for towels that were previously stored in another closet, so that the closet could now house the baby’s clothes. We thrifted a gorgeous armoire for more clothing storage that just exactly fit the space it was needed for. We maximized space in the attic to store away winter clothes instead of keeping them in the closets year-round. And finally, we made sure mom and dad’s suitcases were super easy to access, for that much anticipated beach vacay! It was a couple of days of intense work, and it’s not perfect, but what aspect of family life is, am I right? My family is headed into summer with a lot of joy at being under the same roof, and a good bit less chaos to control as far as our “stuff” goes. We will relish our summer together, at least during part of every week when my daughter is working in Houston, and until my son takes off for his river rafting job, and when I’m not sipping tequila on the beach….⛱️ Cheers to summer everyone!

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