The Surprising Gift Of Time

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When I started decluttering the home…

I had no idea, of the gift waiting for me, just the other side of my stuff. As I filled up bag after bag of belongings, it didn’t occur to me, that I would gain anything other than a tidier home. But I did. I gained so much more than a neater house and cupboard doors that closed, I gained more life. And it came, in the form of time.

You see, what I didn’t realise, was that every item in my home was taking up my time. Every Single Thing. Each item of clothing, every dish, rug, book and bag, were demanding something of me. And it may have only been five minutes here - tidying away one too many jumpers and ten minutes there - washing up extra cups and dishes. But when I took away the excess, the time that I gained, was vast.

I was wearing myself out, unwillingly prioritising the things that didn’t matter, to miss out on the things that did. And once I realised this, I couldn’t get it out of my head. If every item in my home, was taking up my time, how much time was I unknowingly giving up? I started thinking about my belongings and looking at them, in a brand new way.

Those trinkets that I kept on a shelf, for no reason other than they were there, took up at least 10 minutes, dusting time a week. The rug in the hallway, that needed hoovering and shaking out up to 5 minutes a day, added another 35 and those dishes that we didn’t need but used anyway, would total at least another hour. Those three areas alone, took up over an hour and a half of my week. At least an hour and a half of my precious time - wasted on things that I didn’t even need.

This may not seem like much - in the grand scheme of things but then I thought about all of the items in my home and how much time they used, I’ve got to be honest, the answer wasn’t pretty. My things were stealing my time and my motherhood and I hadn’t even known it. A good reason for this was that I was of the belief that as a mother, my time was spoken for anyways. It’s what we are always told and so I didn’t even question it. But I wish that I had because it wasn’t true. It was my stuff that was stealing my time, not my motherhood..

How many times had I stood there, frustrated about having no time, talking of how, ‘there weren’t enough hours in the day.’ But it was there - I was just using it up on the wrong stuff. Once I knew this, I was determined to get rid of all of the things that I didn’t need. All of the belongings that were standing in the way of the life that I had and the life that I wanted.

The more I threw away, the more time I got back. And not only to spend with my family, but to spend with myself. Since becoming a mother, I had always felt too guilty to snatch any time away, just for me. There was so little to go round and the clock ticked on regardless, leaving nothing behind. At least that’s what I thought.

Since simplifying my life, the time that I have gained, not only for others but for myself, has been one of the greatest surprises of all. I now have time in my day to think about what I need. And I’m not talking big or grand gestures, although that would be nice. But rather a collection of many moments, in my day, to focus just on me. To sit on the back step and breath in the fresh air, knowing that nothing is going to jump out at me, unfinished, when I am done. To know that I am not trading in ‘me time,’ for a messy house. To know that I can have both.

I often worry that talking of this new found time, will come across as smug or infuriating but it’s what we all want isn’t it - more time? To discover extra pockets in our days and in our lives, to focus on the things that really matter. It’s possibly the thing that we want the most but use the worst. And I don’t think that’s because we are being unintentional - we are all just genuinely drowning in stuff. Therefore, I can’t not talk about it, I can’t speak of minimalism and not mention the greatest gift of time.

I can’t keep it a secret - for it is a secret to be told and shared, over and over again. That by using the time we already have differently, can give us more life and purpose. I am a better person, wife and mother for having more space in my day. And at long last, I am willing, more than willing to forgo a lot of extra stuff, in exchange for a lot extra time. I know which I’d rather - how about you?