Monday, March 7, 2011

Renewing Household Systems

"The fatal metaphor of progress, which means leaving things behind us, has utterly obscured the real idea of growth, which means leaving things inside us."  GK Chesterton

I should just face the fact I have to update my systems again.

I actually enjoy updating my systems, once I get started, but I avoid it partly because I feel guilty about it.  My old systems aren't obsolete.  Why shouldn't I go for efficiency and just keep doing things the old way?

Because it ends up not being efficient.  I basically stop doing things the old way but don't replace it with anything new.  It's something like keeping an old sweater I don't wear anymore but that still has some wear in it.  The "old way" becomes clutter. 

So I think the message here is to reframe it. 
  1. Update doesn't have to imply "total change"  -- it implies revision, tailoring, starting with the old thing and adjusting it to fit or even to look newer.   Remember how young ladies in straitened circumstances would take last season's bonnet and take off the old lace, add some new flowers, so they could enjoy wearing something that looked somewhat fresh even though it wasn't exactly?  Like that.  
  2. There is nothing wrong with innovation, newness.  God gives it to us every year in spring, with Nature, and with Advent, the beginning of the Church year, which heralds the Newborn who made everything new forever.  The trick with taking on the new is not to forsake the old, but to fulfill it and cast away the timebound things that were of value at one time but aren't anymore.
  3. Planning to Make Changes.  Advent and Easter -- two seasons of "newness" right there -- so instead of regretting my need to revise and tweak, perhaps I should actually PLAN for it, following in His footsteps and gratefully receiving His gift of continual refreshing and renovation..

I think another reason I regret having to revise when the old thing is "good enough" is that it seems to work against frugality, against thrift.   I have to spend time and energy not actually doing, but planning.

Yet I think there is justification for this.  People tend to accomplish more when they start with a retreat into the hills, a preparation time.  I was just reading a diet book that said something that struck me. ... people who lose weight more slowly tend to gain it back more slowly.   My own experience confirms this.  The preliminary experiences are key; it is in this stage that you internalize your goals, sketch out your plan, and pray for and look for help and support.   This Stages of Change model seems somewhat to reflect Maximilian Kolbe's Preparation -- Action-- Conclusion method.

ETA:  Just after I wrote this I was reading Amy's blog A Call to Adventure and found this Project Simplify at Simple Mom   Then I saw that Mystie at Healer's Geste was participating in it too.    I just did a major declutter so I don't know how much more I have to get rid of unless I farm out my sons, but it looks so spring-like and fun that I am going to be keeping an eye on it, anyway!

1 comment:

  1. I like this. It's what I always think of as "tweaking".

    I especially like your bonnet analogy. I'm going to keep that in mind as I go about this process in my own household!


I would love to hear your thoughts on this!