Ok this is one of those things I never would have cared about in earlier incarnations of my life. But I cleaned out some kitchen cabinets and put down new pretty shelf paper and it was so satisfying. One reason is because mothering is so intangible at times, it can be really nice to have something solid that I can point to at the end of the day and say, "I did that."
But the other thing I was thinking about is simplicity. Simplicity is a big deal for Quakers, one of the core testimonies. These are sometimes abbreviated as SPICES (Simplicity, Peace, Integrity, Community, Equality and Stewardship). Simple Gifts is one of the most famous Quaker songs, I learned it early on at Earlham. I've sung it so many times but I started really thinking about the words while I was putting on the shelf paper.
It's a gift. To be simple.
It's not a sacrifice, not a chore. Simplicity gives us something that all our products and gadgets and consumer craziness can't. (Coming from someone who just bought a new camera. I know.) It's a gift to know that all of that stuff is not going to give us what we really want, what we need. And when we let go of that idea that some new thing or toy is going to be the answer, what we're looking for.
It's a gift. To be free.
Simplicity makes us free.
Of course, it might also be true that I loved that clean corner of the kitchen because the rest of my house looks like this:
It's a process, right? But I hope that my privileged North American kids, in their wealth of toys and clothes, remember what the real gifts are.