I once heard someone (can’t remember who but would like to give credit) say that what the inside of your home looks like is just a representation of what is going on inside of you. I read that quote while laying in bed one night with a pile of laundry in a basket beside my bed that hadn’t been put away, some items on my dresser which just looked cluttered, a bag of clothing that hadn’t been unpacked from god knows how long before, and a pile of books. Some odd socks, a t-shirt or two, dust and more books under my bed. That quote really resonated with me at that time! I was overwhelmed and feeling burnt out. Struggling to balance home life with work life all while my health was suffering. I felt like I was drowning in a mess when I got home and I didn’t know where to begin. Yes I have 3 teenagers and yes they need to do more. And yes, I need to make sure that happens. But in all honesty, I find it’s just easier to do some things myself. They each have certain jobs, but definitely need more. At least that’s what I had been telling myself yet, feeling so drained with all that had to be done, I still didn’t get on them to help more. Thank god I have the husband I do, because he takes on A LOT of responsibility. Kudos to you single parents! I know it’s not easy! We’ve always had our own jobs that we just kind of started ourselves, but when I am not well, he takes my jobs on as well. Which adds to my guilt of not being a good wife, mom, housekeeper etc. To be honest, as parents we also have the role of counsellor, teacher, nurse and taxi driver to name a few. It can be overwhelming! And let me just say, my house was a perfect mirror image of what was going on inside me.
Covid sucks. I don’t deny that. It has hurt more families than I like to admit. But throughout the chaos going on around me, I always try to find the positive in it. Yes, my room (house) was messy, but I had a very cozy bed and roof over my head with a beautiful family to fill it. As for covid, well it allowed us to share family time with my teens that normally would never have happened without it. We were together for 2 whole months or more, just the 5 of us. Or 7 when my parents were at home. We had family dinners and hikes, conversations and movie time. We even built a fort inside and slept in it! The house was tidier and I felt I could balance life just a bit more even with working part time out of the house and part time from home all while homeschooling Grace.
Life was simpler. And calmer. I missed my students and still miss them greatly. That makes my heart sad. But being home part time has made me healthier. Physically and emotionally. What I began to realize was that I wanted to feel like this all of the time. When work started back full time, (I took a leave from the school to do crisis work in our ER at the hospital), I wanted to come home to a clean and tidy house. I wanted to feel peace when I walked through the door. I wanted an empty sink and clean counters. So, I signed up for Joshua Becker’s 12 week Uncluttered Course and over the past few months, I’ve decluttered so much out of my house. Several bins of garbage and recycling and donations. I still have a spare room full of donations to give away but with Covid, things were closed.
I have to say, I feel so much lighter! Our kitchen now only holds the necessities. Ever been to a resort with a kitchen? It has everything it needs and nothing more. Easy to find, easy to clean. My bedroom no longer has items that belong elsewhere. Having less stuff has actually given me more time. More time for the people and things I love.
I want to share anything I can that has helped our family. Not just what has helped Gracie but also what has helped us as her parents. We need to take care of ourselves too in order to take care of our kids. And decluttering our house has decluttered our minds. We feel so much more calmness these days. It’s still a work in progress. I currently have a family room downstairs full of bins with christmas decorations and seasonal boots, etc. waiting to be put back in my newly cleared basement storage area. I’m still trying to create better habits (and encouraging everyone else) to clean up after themselves, wipe the bloody crumbs off the counters and wash your dishes and put them away! But we’re seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.
If you are interested on learning how to live with less to give you more, keep reading.
Here are a few quick tips (from Joshua Becker) to get you started:
- Go around your house with a garbage bag and fill it with stuff you know you don’t use and get rid of it. Donate, recycle or throw it out.
- Clean out one drawer or shelf at a time if that’s all you can do in a day.
- Check out Joshua Becker’s website
- Also check out Project 333! This has really helped with laundry! No more piles! I still have to get my kids on board with this one! lol But the idea is to just take care of your own things. The rest of the family members will hopefully see and feel the difference you are making for yourself and want to make their own changes. So don’t worry if your child struggles with parting with things. You don’t need to worry about their things for now. Take care of yourself on this one.
- Take a look at the FlyLady system baby steps for developing new habits. Best one so far…get dressed all the way down to your shoes first thing in the morning. There is something about wearing your shoes that makes you think you need to go somewhere. And you do! On a tidying up mission!
- If you prefer videos, check out the Secret Slob on YouTube. She follows the FlyLady system and will walk you through it.
- Lastly, if you are looking for more decluttering tips, watch The Minimal Mom.
I hope this helps you mamas and dads out there. Grandparents and caregivers too! Happy Decluttering! xo