If it is not Useful or Beautiful

Russ and the kids having fun while working on the garden.

With the addition of one more child, there is preparation to be done. Space is tight and every inch matters. Our house feels so FULL that I find myself looking critically at everything in it and putting it to the test of a quote I like, “Have nothing in your home that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful”. With this measure in mind I am sorting, decluttering, and cleaning.

With help from Sweet Pea and Rusty I have spent the last two days emptying bookcases and painting. We have a wide hallway at the bottom of our basement stairs which has been lined with bookcases filled with curricula and other books for homeschooling, children’s books, reference books, bins of science supplies, and much more. I’ve concluded that as much as I love books, I don’t have the luxury of devoting this much space to them.

Some books are being stored for future use and the rest are being donated to my friend’s homeschool lending library. It is hard for me to let go of these wonderful resources, but space matters more than books right now. At the moment ALL of the books are stuffed into the garage, along with the bookcases, and the hallway has been painted a warm tan.

Tomorrow I hope to move two bookcases back in which will hold the books that have been deemed most useful and/or dear to us. Next to them I am putting a large shelf that is divided into ten cubbies, formerly in use at a local Curves, and given to me by a friend who was moving away. There will be one cubby for each child, except for Sweet Pea who will be moving to her apartment this summer. The remaining wall space will hold hooks for coats, and shoe racks.

Don’t fear that we will be deprived of books, I still have six full bookcases as well as baskets of picture books and board books. I think we’ll survive.

One item we have that is both useful and beautiful is a baby grand piano which we have been taking care of for a friend and enjoying for several years. Unfortunately we don’t have room for two pianos, especially a rather large one, so the lovely one is going and our much simpler studio upright is staying. We are all sad to see the piano go, but I’ll be able to breathe more deeply once it is gone. The space where the piano has been sitting will soon hold a small love seat for reading and napping little ones.

As I write, Mimi is cleaning up after working on a scrapbook of our family vacation, Sweet Pea is cooking Doro Wat from her favorite African cookbook, and Russ (along with a bunch of the kids) is preparing our vegetable garden for planting.

Take a minute to read this short article about a little girl from AHOPE who recently joined her family.

The Final Word: For former orphans, there’s no place like home

Thank you for stopping by my blog.


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Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.


  1. darci
    June 1, 2008

    gulp. i love my books. i have been doing some purging too, and it is painful but you’re right, somewhat freeing, too. :)i have to go back and read the article now. have a great day. darci 🙂

  2. Wendi
    June 1, 2008

    I love that quote! I’m a bit of a purging regular, but admitedly, I could do a better job with the useless stuff that I ‘might’ need. As we face a possible move this fall, I think I’ll be applying that philosophy to my sorting, purging, packing process. Thanks!

  3. Anonymous
    June 2, 2008

    I’m still crying about the piano. 🙁



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