chores · clutter · declutter · goals · homemaking · Mommas · organizing · Uncategorized

What Does Decluttering Mean Exactly? (And Why You Should Do it)

It’s January, so naturally, the whole world is talking about decluttering their homes.  The stores have gone from being stocked with Christmas decorations to being filled to the brim with plastic totes, drawers, and bins.

Everyone is decluttering.

What does this mean exactly?

Decluttering if the act of going through one’s home to remove items which are unused and unneeded. It may be sorting out your tightly packed bedroom closet, cleaning out your garage or donating things that you think you will probably never use again.

So why do folks do this? 

There are many different reasons. 

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Many people say their motivation is to bring more peace into their home. 
While others say they feel that they are owned by their belongings – and that they have so many, they cannot manage them all.
Some feel that they are anxious and depressed in their own living spaces.

But…

An ever growing population of declutterers are moms of young children who have been overwhelmed by piles and piles of plastic toys and tiny bits and pieces that cannot be easily maintained.

Whatever the motivation, people are looking for change, and they are starting with their living environments.

It is a proven fact that living in a cluttered home actually causes mental health issues. There are endless articles online that will tell you why being surrounded by clutter increases anxiety and depression, and causes the person involved to lose focus and become unable to make choices.

I have felt all those feelings.

“Things themselves don’t make us happy, it’s the emotions and memories we attach to them that make them hard to part with.”

In my own home, we have too many toys, too many unfinished projects, piles of things older family members have either gifted to us and/or passed down to us, and then the other stuff that we actually really like.

It’s a big mess a lot of the time.

I had an a-ha moment recently when I said to myself, “Why can’t I keep the house clean?” Now, I am not an inspired cleaner, but I clean everyday. And I often find myself stuck putting things away… more than actually cleaning. 

I realized that we have too much stuff

There is just too much to manage.

So we have begun to declutter.

Today we put 12 boxes in the garage to be donated.

It feels great. And it’s just the beginning.

I am learning that:

  • Things themselves don’t make us happy, it’s the emotions and memories we attach to them that make them hard to part with.
  • Being surrounded by things actually decreases my ability to think clearly and causes anxiety and sadness.
  • Being surrounded by things doesn’t make me feel satisfied or filled up.
  • The quantity of things I have in my home actually decrease my general sense of happiness and control over my space.
  • Things don’t have feelings.  They don’t care if they stay or go.  It’s us that have to deal with our feelings of attachment and perceived loss.

Is decluttering one of your goals for 2018?  How is it going?

  • Jenny

 

Photo credit: Eric Didier and Markus Spiske

 

 

 

chores · cleaning · clutter · declutter · homemaking · Uncategorized

How to Regain Control of Your Home After Christmas

It’s December 27, and if you are like me, you are looking around your house and saying: “HOW do I get this place under control again??”

The parties are over, the big meals have been prepped and eaten, the gifts are unwrapped and many played with..and now what is left?

Boxes, bags, bows, scotch tape everywhere, packaging of hastily ripped open toys, dishes, dishes and dishes, and no actually edible food in the house, the cat has a bow stuck to its tail, the dog ate something he shouldn’t have and you think one of your relatives was sick and passed it to one of your kids…

I know you know what I mean.

So what is a mom to do?

Let’s talk through some ideas on how to regain control of your living space again…QUICKLY.

Separate everyone’s gifts into piles.
Each of us currently has a pile from which to draw from.  It may be a mixture of stocking stuffers, gifts and other items, but it’s their pile. There are a few advantages to this:
-It’s all in one place
-They know where it all is
-And when it’s time to say clean it up and put it away, they can do it more easily

Get rid of trash – NOW!
JUST by removing the actual trash from the home (we threw out 4 garbage bags in the last 2 days) you can get a better grip on what actually needs to be done. And it feels so, so good….

Require children to pitch in.
TODAY ask them to devote some time to putting away their own messes, picking up trash, and regaining control of their own space.  It will help to “own” their belongings, it will assist them in thinking about where they want something to go, and it will (rightfully so) put some of the ownership on them! (Mine are doing it as I write this post.)

Hack away at the dishes.
Even if you do it in little bursts all day.  Have the dishwasher running all day if need be. No one like to do dishes (or maybe some of you do??), but, someone is going to come looking for a spoon or a bowl before you know it.

Make a clutter box.
As you move through the home you may notice normal, irritating clutter.  Make a box.  Then decide today isn’t the day for you to feel burdened by it. It’s really not.

After you finish cleaning (or even while you are cleaning) you may say to yourself: “Never again!” I am never doing this again.  But…you know you will.  At least you have 12 more months to get ready for it.

Last piece of advice: drink plenty of coffee (or tea) as you prefer.  You’re gonna need it mama!

From your sister in cleaning today, Jenny

 

cleaning · clutter · declutter · slob

Clutter is a Joy-Killer

Do you love cleaning?  If you do, then, you don’t have to read this blog post!  

Actually, could you read it and then comment below so we can all learn from you?

I was a slob growing up.  My mom would do this annual super clean of my toy-strewned room and I would be so happy in it for like two weeks.  But, then, it would be right back where I found it…naked Barbies on the floor, markers uncapped in a pile, Strawberry Shortcake and Smurfs mixed in with dirty clothes.  

Honestly I never learned to clean up after myself and be a good steward of my belongings. So, therefore I did not respect them or treat them well. This also was true of myself – my own self esteem and feelings about my body and my outward appearance – but that’s another post for another day.

So…

When I grew up a little I shared a home with three other single women. I had my own bedroom and guess what – it was a mess most of the time.  I would clean it every few months from top to bottom.  

Then, I got married and we had the cutest little apartment.  And the same thing would happen. Mess then major clean then a slow return to mess.

We have been in our 1,900 sq. ft. home for about fourteen years now, and with the addition of three precious, but highly imaginative boys, the mess has quintupled! With each birthday and holiday, more stuff.



And I still haven’t learned to keep things clean, regularly.

Can anyone relate?

Part of the problem has to do with my personality type. Highly visual and creative/artistic. I like for everything to be visible

Also, when I put things away, I forget about them (Is that mommy brain??)

So, for the last two years I have been reading and seeking input on how to maintain my home. I have talked to some amazing people – professional organizers, authors and psychologists.  But, not much has changed in my daily routine.

I like to live in my space – but not maintain my space.

The first thing I have attempted to do is declutter.  I have so much extra stuff in my house, that when I look at a room, it is overwhelming in colors, shapes, sizes, styles, you name it.

Just Google or Pinterest that word and you will find so much information on the topic as well as hints, tips and success stories.  

For the past two years I have made a total of seven trips to Savers to donate bags and bags of toys, clothes, decor, and more. Honestly, it feels SO good to donate.  It also feels SO good to see it leave my house.  I have also bagged and trashed a ton of what I would call “junk,” although my son hates that word because sometimes I apply it to his toys, ha ha.


So, step one: DECLUTTER

Here’s my motivation:

Luke 16:10-13 “Jesus went on to make these comments: If you’re honest in small things,you’ll be honest in big things; If you’re a crook in small things, you’ll be a crook in big things. If you’re not honest in small jobs,who will put you in charge of the store?No worker can serve two bosses: He’ll either hate the first and love the second or adore the first and despise the second.You can’t serve both God and the Bank.” (Message)
 
Now, of course, I don’t think I am a “crook,” per-say, but, by not taking care of the small things God has given me (my house, my belongings, my space) how can I enjoy peace in my home?  I am in a way “stealing” joy and peace from myself and my children by having a confused and cluttered house.
 
So, out go the clothes that don’t fit, the toys which are no longer played with, the extra kitchen gadgets and stained, sentimental baby clothes. Out went my maternity clothes (I am done!) and the broken picture frames.  Out went the shoes that I loved but had a hole, the earrings I never wear and the Jello-molds that we only used once.

It’s a beginning, right?
 
What have you done to declutter your home?

For further reading
1 Corinthians 14:33 For God is not a God of confusion but of peace.
1 Corinthians 14: 40 But all things should be done decently and in order.