We've made it a week! I'm feeling great. Yesterday, after spending some time at my mom's house, Ivey and Robert and I came home* and found our kitchen counter clear. There were a few crumbs here and there, but it wasn't covered in junk the way it so often is--and that is significant. Because the counter was clean, I asked the kids if they wanted to make some cupcakes. We have lots of gluten-free mixes purchased at the discount store that we need to use up anyway, and I always have the stuff to make frosting on hand!
While we wiped the counter and gathered our cupcake ingredients, I talked to the kids about the difference the spending freeze had made in our home. You see, our large kitchen counter is a "hot spot." Dirty dishes end up there, of course, but it also collects toys, mail, half-finished projects, and all kinds of random junk that doesn't really have a home. If we buy something new, the bag ends up either there or on the dining room table. If a box arrives from Amazon, it ends up on the counter to be cut open and the items dispersed to where they belong. If we don't stay on top of it, the counter gets buried. And when it's buried, do you think we can make cupcakes? No. Before we can do anything at all we have to spend half an hour dealing with clutter, and by the time we're done, the opportunity for fun baking time (or whatever we had in mind) has probably passed.
Because of the spending freeze, we haven't shopped--not even at a thrift shop or yard sale. Because we haven't shopped, there has been very little to put away. So, even though we spent the entire morning at my mom's, we came home to a clear counter. (The dining room table in the background is pretty clear too--also a big deal for us!) It was ready for us to use, and we did use it. Ivey and Robert were excited to surprise Daddy with cupcakes when he came home!
The whole house seems to be enjoying a break from the influx of new clutter. Obviously, the lack of regular grocery shopping means our kitchen cabinets are emptying out and we're discovering we have more food to use up than we ever imagined! But sometimes it's good to take a break from even the sensible bi-weekly trip to Goodwill. $10 spent at Goodwill can add quite a few items to our home. On a Sunday, $10 can buy 20 articles of clothing from the clearance section! It feels like our home is thanking us for doing this spending freeze, as it breathes a sigh of relief... And we aren't even a third of the way through the month yet!
*Suzi spent the night with Grandma; it was her turn.