when I’m overwhelmed

Let me take you on a little tour of my home right now.

We’ll start at the side door; the place where most people are greeted when they come into our house.

the family room

There is an ever-present box or bag for the thrift store. The remains of our camping trip over a week ago and the return from summer camp are scattered around. (You’ll see evidence of this throughout these pictures.) My unused dehydrator excitedly awaits a new home- one where it will get used at least once a week!- after I eventually get it on Craigslist. The pillow without a cover has lost hope of ever being dressed again. My daughter sits impatiently waiting for her distracted mother to get the dishes done so she can read to her.

the kitchen islandMoving on to the kitchen, we see the island and breakfast bar. Ha ha ha ha ha ha! As if it’s ever clean enough for anyone to eat breakfast there. The recycling bin is always overflowing, I have no home for our garbage bags, more camping items wait to be taken back to their bin in the garage, the miscellany of a family of seven creeps across any horizontal surface, and the curtains that were hung back in January still need to be hemmed up.

Turning around from the island, there is a small glimmer of hope. I have, at least, done the majority of the dishes.

But across from the sink, the evidence of my latest kitchen re-organization piles up on every other counter space. Once again, with the horizontal kitchen surfaces, there is no hope.

Our dining room drives me nuts because we have so many chairs/benches/stools you can hardly walk through the room. New maps for school sit boxed up in the corner, waiting their permanent home.

And then we move on to the living room.

Always, there are several pairs of shoes scattered about. Amazon boxes coming in faster than we can take them out (Not the norm, just right now as we get ready for a lot of family camping). Cords, blankets, pillows, toys, clothing; continually getting in my way.

Although I’d like to blame someone else, the mess in here is all my fault. Evidence of all my projects abound. Diet and cook books. Homeschool planning binder. Month-by-month gardening books. Baskets stuffed with random baby items- a very loosely defined term. All the things. They fill my brain and threaten to subdue it, shut it down.

There is definitely reason to feel overwhelmed. Isn’t there always? Although it is a high priority for us to lead a simple life, free from most perfunctory activities, seven lives in one home is inevitably busy. We’ve been preparing for and having kids go to summer camp. We’ve refinanced. I’m preparing for school to start next week. I just started a blog. We’ve had a summer head cold wind its way slowly through almost every member of the family. We have to go grocery shopping, or new underwear shopping, or laundry detergent shopping. I wander around the house with the baby who is only happy when being held, mainly by his mama. I am clueless as to whether I should try to attempt doing anything or just let it all slide.

Whenever I get this way (which, by the way, is a lot ever since I found myself in the world of adulting) there is a phrase that pops into my mind.

Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might…  Ecclesiastes 9:10a

When I can’t get a handle on what to do or where to start, I have to stop thinking. Stop planning. Stop living in my convoluted mind and just do what needs to be done. Make my kids breakfast. Do the dishes. Read my daughter a book. Put away all the stuff on the island. And when I put my head down and just do what presents itself to be done, a curious thing happens. I find that I am getting a lot more accomplished. All that negative mental energy that goes into feeling overcome is transformed into positive physical energy. I am going with the flow instead of swimming upstream.

So I’m here to remind myself: Stop. Take a breath. Don’t think, just do. Don’t let the overwhelm have any more power. Put my hand mightily to the job that needs to be done now. The end.

Recent Comments

  • Gena Hassan
    August 11, 2017 - 3:18 pm · Reply

    My house looks much like yours, except yours looks clean. I tend to get overwhelmed with ALL of the tasks, and so I can’t get started at all.

  • Monica Walser
    August 11, 2017 - 8:14 pm · Reply

    OMG I love your house and seeing it with the nice organized stacks and craziness makes me not feel so bad that I don’t have places for all of my stuff either. I feel my house is cluttered and a lot of things just get moved from one room to another. We live in our houses so it should show evidence of such. Your house doesn’t look nasty. It looks lived in. Glad I found your blog! It’s nice not being the only one in the world that feels overwhelmed by so much stuff that needs to be done.

  • Rebekah
    August 11, 2017 - 9:28 pm · Reply

    I LOVE your house! Man, you’re doing great with all of the things you’re working on. It’s so hard to catch up with cleaning – I have 2 kiddos at home, can’t imagine cleaning up after FIVE (plus parentals of course…).

    • sarahwac
      August 12, 2017 - 7:01 am · Reply

      I actually think our house was waaaaaaay worse when we only had two; at least now the olders can help with the clean-up!

  • Christine
    August 12, 2017 - 3:08 am · Reply

    Great points. I think a lot of us look at the whole picture and get overwhelmed rather than at the individual tasks. Then it’s just hard to begin.

  • Kelly @ Hope In The Chaos
    August 13, 2017 - 9:34 pm · Reply

    I feel your pain! I too have stacks all across various surfaces that do not belong there, and not quite completed pile of dishes (and laundry), and a massive stack of mess that is our homeschool area that needs to be prepped and readied for our upcoming school year. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with the day-to-day items that seem so mundane, so ordinary, but when done with the right attitude and for the right purpose serve something bigger than we can ever imagine.

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