Maybe sim­pli­fy­ing is the real way to make progress

The Covington News - - Sunday Living -

I re­ceived a typ­i­cal mes­sage from my friend Ch­eryl at 8: 07 one morn­ing.

“ Good morn­ing. I have taken the girls to school, run by the post of­fice, started the dish­washer, swept and mopped the kitchen, put clothes in the washer and dryer, ti­died down­stairs, dec­o­rated the ta­ble for Easter, wiped down the bath­room coun­ters and swept the bath­room floor.”

I read her cheery words two hours later, still wear­ing my pa­ja­mas, rub­bing the sleep from my bleary eyes.

So far that morn­ing, I had got­ten out of bed, made a cup of cof­fee and stum­bled to the com­puter to print our daily sched­ule.

Ch­eryl has been a good friend for over a decade. Our old­est chil­dren were born within a few days of each other, and our younger kids’ birth­days are just five months apart.

She has girls and I have boys, but it has been such fun shar­ing this par­ent­ing jour­ney with her.

Ch­eryl’s not only a won­der­ful mother; she’s a wise, in­sight­ful writer. I en­joy read­ing her private blog, clev­erly named “ June Cleaver in a Brit­ney Spears World.”

A re­cent en­try on sim­plic­ity res­onated so deeply with me that I asked per­mis­sion to share it here. She gra­ciously agreed to my re­quest. I now give you Ch­eryl and hope you en­joy her words as much as I did.

“ Is it re­ally progress? I have been ru­mi­nat­ing over what we call progress.

I love my ap­pli­ances, don’t get me wrong. I am not chomp­ing at the bit to go back to scrub­bing clothes on a wash board with lye soap.

But, I won­der if we re­al­ize what ‘ progress’ has cost us.

Maybe I am older than most, but I re­mem­ber hav­ing one or two dresses for Sun­day. Gen­er­ally we got a new dress for Easter and one for Christ­mas — usu­ally made by my Mom. My girls have a ton of dresses, and they don’t even have to wear them to school like I did for years.

I do laun­dry al­most ev­ery­day. Why? Be­cause we have too many clothes. Even I have too many clothes. How many pairs of jeans does one per­son re­ally need?

I think about how small the clos­ets are in my Mom’s house, which was built in the early 1960s. The clos­ets were smaller be­cause peo­ple had less, needed less to get by on a daily ba­sis. How many ev­ery­day dresses did one wo­man need? And, like me, Mom only had a cou­ple of dresses for Sun­days.

Peo­ple don’t like small clos­ets now. They like to be able to walk in and look at their wealth of clothes.

So, I have been pon­der­ing down­siz­ing. If I got rid of some of the clothes — OK, a lot of the clothes — I would have less laun­dry to do.

My daugh­ter Katie only wears two pairs of jeans and about six tops. She has three pairs of Capri pants. Why do I have an en­tire bas­ket­ful of clothes for her on laun­dry day?

Then there are the out­grown clothes I save for her sis­ter, Amanda. But why do I do it? Her tastes in cloth­ing are dif­fer­ent than her sis­ter’s. Not to men­tion she is built dif­fer­ently, and a lot of the clothes won’t fit her when the time comes.

I need to get rid of most of the saved clothes, ex­cept for some ba­sic shorts and tops for sum­mer. There is some kid some- where who would be glad to have th­ese.

Then there are my clothes. Ad­mit­tedly I have less than I used to have; be­ing at home does not re­quire me to wear busi­ness suits. But, I could still pare more.

I wear the same things over and over. I need to get rid of the lower lev­els of the stacks in my closet, get rid of the items I don’t wear.

The cloth­ing closet at our church is for­ever re­quest­ing plus- sized clothes. I could out­fit a cou­ple of women with my ex­cess.

Then there are linens. I read some­where that the best thing to do is have one set of sheets for each bed. Take them off, wash them and put them back on. What? No stacks of pretty matched linens? What a novel idea.

Most of my tow­els are so old they are thread­bare, re- hemmed or gen­er­ally in need of be­ing tossed. I won­der if we only had one towel apiece, would I quit find­ing tow­els stashed in the toy box and closet?

Sim­pli­fy­ing — I think I need to do it. Maybe that is what real progress is about.”

Mandi Singer/The Cov­ing­ton News

Dancer Chioma Agu dances to the song “Bayelsa-Out” by Ti­maya in an African dance ti­tled “Amer­i­can Soil, but African Roots.”

Mandi Singer/The Cov­ing­ton News

Bhangra dancers sway to the mu­sic in their color­ful, tra­di­tional gar­ments dur­ing the per­for­mance of “Khal­bali” Thurs­day evening in Wil­liams Hall.

Kari Apted

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