This post doesn’t really have a particular Little House book in mind but I was inspired by my recent visit to DeSmet to just talk about their lives in general. When you go to DeSmet, SD you can take a tour of the Surveyor’s House and the house that Pa built in town. (You can also see the schoolhouses were Laura and Mary taught and the homestead were they lived for 7 years) When you go into the Surveyor’s House they have a certain area taped off on the floor. That area is to give you an idea of how big their one room shanty on the prairie was. (You cannot take pictures inside the buildings or I would have!) If I had to guess though I would say the shanty would have measured about 8 foot by 10 foot. If that. Can you imagine packing all your things and your 5/6 person family into something like that? My garden shed is bigger! Even, in DeSmet when they lived in the house they though it was much too big for them.
The tour guide told us that they only lived in the right side of this building, the rest of it was rented out for extra money and for a while because Mary didn’t like the big house.
This picture is from our trip 2 years ago where we visited Pepin, WI, and also this spot in Maple Grove, MN. The picture is the indentation of the dugout they lived in right on the banks of Plum Creek(fyi, my favorite “Laura site” so far because it’s so unchanged) You can kinda make out the roped off area in the picture. That’s the dugout, the whole thing. It’s pretty small! To have your whole life’s belongings and your family packed into it. Can you imagine.
This is just what I was thinking about this weekend on vacation. Shopping, and seeing all the things that were pretty and shiny but that I really didn’t need. And knowing that I have a small house back at home really restricted the way I thought too. I knew that I couldn’t find rooms for everything at my home.
Now I don’t live in an 8’x10′ shanty and I don’t really suggest you do the same. But this week, take a look around your house. How much space have you filled with things that you don’t really need? When I got home last night we brought our things in from the car and I started looking around my house. I bought a badly needed new knife set on our trip and I was excited to see it so I pulled it out of the box and set it up. I promised the hubby that if I got the set I would get rid of all the old knives I had laying around from the previous 2 sets I had. I’m not sure why I kept them all in the first place. As I put the new set on the counter top I pulled the old set off and then I remembered I had some of that set in the drawers next to the oven. So I pulled those out too, then I remembered I had some from another set in the silverware drawer so I pulled those out. By the time I was finished I had a whole bag of old knives. I looked at them and for the life of me, couldn’t think of why I was keeping all these knives. I had way more than I needed or could ever use at one time. I thought back to the Little House that I’d visited earlier that day, they wouldn’t have had rooms for all these things. So out they went, in my giveaway pile.
So this week I have a challenge. Look around your house. Look in each room, in the drawers, in the dressers, and in the cabinets. Are we keeping more than we really need? Are we keeping more than we have room for?
This way of thinking is a great kick off to start spring cleaning. I’ve been getting ready to have a rummage sale so I’ve been cleaning out for weeks. I like to go through everything in the room and get rid of what I don’t need. Then I wait a few weeks and do it again, purging even more that I hung on to after the first round. It feels good to get cleaned out and cleaned up.
What do you think about this way of thinking? That less is more? Are you starting spring cleaning yet?