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.
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.
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?
Now that I have reached the six (!) year mark on homeschooling my boys, there is one thing I have learned I needto do on a weekly basis to keep myself on track and organized.
Keep an assignment checklist.
If I don’t keep a list, the mornings go like this:
“Hey mom, what should I do for school?”
“How about your online work?”
And then the same conversation repeats itself a half an hour later.
Why? Because life is super-busy, and I have my own list of things to do and my lack of planning for school is being reflected in my going to the easiest answer: online work.
But that is not fair to them, and in all honesty, it does not reflect the sort of homeschooling experience I want us to have in this house.
So, I have taken to writing down a checklist of assignments on Sunday night. This has made a huge difference in the following areas:
-getting a long-term plan (2-3 months at a time)
-making consistent progress toward completing one goal
-helps their self esteem because they feel like they are accomplishing something
-assists me in staying with something so that a concept can be solidified (think MATH)
– Gives them a VISUAL representation of their work which is easier than me explaining the list verbally
Does that sounds good to you?
This checklist takes me about 30 minutes to fill out in detail but makes ALL THE DIFFERENCE!
I think this list is most effective with elementary to high school age children.
Give it a try this week and see if it makes a difference for you too!
Let’s face it, in America, we have so much stuff, in general. Clothes are cheap and made cheaply and it’s therefore no surprise we are drowning in laundry which costs us money in water, soap and WASTED TIME (the most important thing!)
Not all my readers are homeschoolers, but, as some of you are, this one’s for you!
Being that it is the middle of August, it’s time to get ready for the homeschool year. We are going on our fourth year homeschooling and this year I have a 4th grade and a 7th grader (woah!). I also have – a 21 month old.
Last year, the baby would sleep while we taught in the morning. I doubt that will be happening this year, so I need to be pretty organized and have a plan for the little squirt.
So, the first thing I am going to do is organize a BUSY BOX for him. The busy box has to be special to the homeschooling time, or it will lose its magic. So, ideally the items in the box cannot be used outside of homeschool time.
I have included some busy boxes from around the internet (with credits).
You could go really crazy with this concept and create an entire CORNER for this purpose. As we have 5 people in the house, I will be keeping it small. Keep in mind, some of these items are specific to our little boy’s interests, but you can adjust as preferred.
I know you have have had toddlers already have a ton of ideas! Would you share one in the comments below? I sure could use some more ideas!
In the BB I will include things like: stickers, crayons, pom poms, matching cards, matchbox cars, and a big pad of white paper. I am also going to create a FUN CORNER for him with a table and books and age-appropriate puzzles.
I know a lot of my homeschool friends have toddlers in their homes.
I gave notice that I was quitting on Friday! It was an exciting day and I felt great afterwards. Two weeks and I will be home full time. I already feel a load lifted off of my back.
Last week my son was a little sick…a fever. I felt great staying home with him and helping him to feel better. No more conflicts in my mind about should I send him in to preschool – should I go to work – should I call my husband – who would want to babysit him with a fever?
Simple. Clear cut. For me…a huge relief.
The future definitely seems to opening up and I have been praying that God will show me what steps to take next. I am tempted to just go ahead with all ‘my’ plans, but I know I want to put them at his feet first and see what he says of course.
I am thinking about organizing and there is a habit I have been using for about a year now. I call it my “command central” and it’s a little area on my basement door that have the monthly calendar, and a pocket for each of the children for school stuff. I have attached a photo.
I am also thinking about money. I don’t like to think about money very much – it stresses me out – but I do want to be aware of the needs vs. the wants. I was thinking about making some of the snacks my son takes to school instead of buying so many pre packaged ones. Perhaps a homemade cheese cracker, choc. chip cookies… what do other people do out there? Please let me know, I would appreciate it!
Ok, I want you to know that I am not going into this daydreaming about hours alone or watching tv all day. I realize that I may get sick to death of seeing my house and it’s 80 year old cracks and creaks, it’s grubby bathtub, persistently clanky iron radiators, weedy lawn… I think I am going into “staying at home” eyes wide open. I know about being lonely in a house all day even though you are surrounded by kids, I know about getting tired of talking baby talk and wanting to see something on the tv besides Wow Wow Wubzy or Backyardigans. Regardless, I’ll take my chances. I also know some of my weaknesses…say for example not being a real ‘structure’ person. Luckily, I recognize that and I try to impress it on myself regardless of the fact it doesn’t come natural. There are numerous websites that can offer assistance (a few of which I will put at the bottom on this blog entry) if you are willing to make some changes. I truly admire my homeschooling mom friends…you are amazing! Also, I don’t like to clean. You may be surprised. You may think a stay at homer must have a innate desire to clean, clean, clean. No. I think that it actually is an assumption a lot of folks make that is not true. I am going to have to really figure that one out won’t I? (advice please?) I would like to ask you alll: How do you get it all done? How much of a structure do you use? Any tricks to chores? Here are those links I promised…God bless! http://www.thefamilyhomestead.com http://www.mommysavers.com http://www.containerstore.com