How drawing a tiny doodled chicken led to simplifying my home.

I began drawing The Silly Chickens in response to my children asking me to draw the things they saw on our farm. Soon The Silly Chickens started going on adventures and learning. The kids loved seeing and hearing what their chickens were up to each day. After pulling the last piece of paper from my printer tray, I noticed my doodles were starting to take on a life of their own and more importantly, I enjoyed drawing them. So I kept drawing. Within weeks of that realization I had sketched up the first book.

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Shortly after writing the first book and before I began working on this website, I dove head first into decluttering and minimizing the things we owned. Although when I started I didn’t realize I was heading down a path towards minimalism. I must have needed a change of scenery. It took me a week to get round one of minimizing the whole house done. It surprised me that it took that long to feel a little lighter. Looking back on most of my adult life I think I always had minimalist tendencies, spurred on by the fact that my husband was in the army and we moved a lot. Once you are forced to pack a house with only days notice and then live in a hotel for weeks after, you discover quickly what you are able to live without. Then he got out of the army, we had kids and life settled into a routine. A routine of filling our home and spaces. After a week of decluttering, things were going well, clothes were leaving, toys were going, even dishes were finding a new home. It was looking good and starting to feel good. But I was still holding onto some “what if” items.

The biggest “what if I need it later?” things I was holding onto were craft supplies. Specifically Yarn. I crocheted, even had an etsy shop and loved it.

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But as people started underselling their fiber work I realized that I wouldn’t be able to turn it into a full-time career that actually made a profit. So I closed my etsy shop and started to concentrate on graphic design for other bloggers. After my first was born I picked up my hook perhaps two more times in a ten month period. Then my second came along and I pulled my hook out to make her a headband. Soon my fourth child was born and I had not touched my hooks or any yarn, for any reason, in two years. But even after that amount of time I still had my stash. It had even been boxed up and moved with us to a tiny farm, into a tiny farm house and placed in a closet. Six more months would pass by before I started thinking about that box again.

Here I was, the house was feeling a little more clean, the first book was on its way to being published and I was drawing everyday. My need to draw grew and so did my need to have a space to work. I decided to carve out a creative corner for myself and I thought of that box of yarn. In the past I would have been so excited to break out that box, let the fibers breathe and plan out my next project. Instead, thinking of that box overwhelmed me. If I brought out that box, I would have to put up storage for the yarn. A space would have to be created for it, dust would collect on the surfaces and it still wouldn’t get used. What I truly wanted was a desk with space to work, paper and a pen.

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Without digging into it, I dumped the entire thing, over 50 skeins of yarn and some unsold finished projects, into a large clear plastic  bag and dropped it off at a local church during their craft hour.

That moment was huge. It was definitely the moment I needed to get the rest of my home to look and feel the way I wanted it to. The way our family needed it to be. I’m still simplifying and finding things we can do without and still coming across items that make me pause. The undecided box is going to be around for a bit longer. But it gets emptied without a second thought on the next pass through. That box of yarn with it’s history, the dream of a creative business, was bigger and heavier then I knew. The moment I was able to see that box differently, I was able to let it go. It certainly wasn’t bringing me joy.

original the silly chicken with flower tehlia

My creative corner now consists of a container of drawing paper, 3 binders and a container of pens. I have my favorite illustrations framed, I give me kids my rough draft doodles to color in and every night I clear my desk of everything. I’m far from perfect, my sink is constantly full of dishes and the shoes by the door pile up. But that box of yarn is happy and so am I. All because two kids asked me to draw a chicken smelling a flower.

Did you have a moment that helped you start the decluttering process? Did you have a box or item that was hard to move on from?

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