If you watched my Facebook Live last week, you know that this subject is something that I have recently taken to and taken off with. After years upon years of clutter and madness (ask my mother) I finally realized that I’d had enough of my life of excess and wanted to move towards a more simple home. Now I want to clarify, I am by no means an expert. In fact, if you walked into my house right now, you’d probably write this blog as a big fat lie and move on. I’m a work in progress. Don’t judge me.
But as I start to work towards this goal, I’ve found some tips that have really helped me a lot, and I hope they will help you too. These are just a few ways to get started, and I hope they prove easy for you!
1) Start with the space where you enter your home.
This is the place that gets cluttered up so easily. This is where the shoes, coats, backpacks, lunches, and mail land. And if this space is in chaos, most likely your heart response will be one of anxiety when you enter your home. I mean, who wants to walk into chaos when they get home? I know I don’t.
So take some time to organize this space. Peruse your local buy-sell pages for some shelves/storage bins and make it into a functional space. I promise, you will be thankful for it.
2) Make your bedroom a sanctuary, not a storage unit.
I’ve been so guilty of this. Boxes upon boxes stacked up along the walls, piles of stuff laying around, heaps of laundry warming my feet at night. But I realized that all of this visual noise was making it very hard for me to truly rest. When I began my adventure into minimizing my home, I decided to make it a priority for our bedroom to be a place where we truly felt that we could rest. That meant that there couldn’t be boxes of stuff stacked everywhere, and if I was going to have laundry piled anywhere, it needed to be in a basket, not on the bed, and preferable not in the room (actually preferably a laundry fairy would come and put it away from me, but that hasn’t quite happened yet). This also meant that I was going to make it a priority to make my bed every day, because this one two minute task really had the power to change the whole feel of the room!
3) Evaluate the toys.
As I said in my video, it took a friend’s two-year-old daughter who poured out all the toys we owned on the floor to realize just how many toys there actually were. Broken toys, random puzzle pieces, stickers haphazardly strewn about, I stared and thought about how this couldn’t be the case anymore. This chaos wasn’t good for my health (hello high blood pressure) and it wasn’t good for my children’s brains either. Our choice was to get down to as many wooden toys as possible, as well as some more colorful blocks for our littlest one. Enough toys to keep them entertained but few enough that they aren’t overwhelmed. Plus, you know they will get new ones with each birthday and holiday, so you’ll be able to cycle some new ones in over time!
4) Check out your closet.
Now let’s be honest, we’re all pretty good about keeping up on our kids’ clothes, mostly because it’s obvious when they need new things because they’ve outgrown them! But I know for a fact that I have had things in my closet that haven’t been worn for years. Things that no longer fit, things that have got outrageously out of style, things that were great for one occasion that I hold onto for sentimental value. Well, it’s time to let it go! Really take a good look at what you have clothes-wise and evaluate what you really wear. If you think it’ll be helpful, adopt a seasonal wardrobe approach. It’ll make it a lot easier for you to find something to wear and take a little chaos out of your closet.
5) Be careful of the keepsakes.
Now truthfully, I’m just like every other mom. I love all the little pieces of artwork my kids give me. I love going through all the mementos from my husband’s and my dating years. I love to look over all my old journals, notes, and yearbooks. But over time, these keepsakes become boxes and piles and as life goes on, you’ll just get more things to keep. As things come in, evaluate what is really worth keeping and put it in a special box/filing cabinet. And take some time to sort through the old things too. When you get all the clutter down to a manageable amount, you’ll be so pleased!
At the end of the day, if you’re looking into decluttering your home, you can choose whichever of these tips you like, or tweak them to best fit your needs! The best thing to do is just start somewhere. Don’t allow yourself to get overwhelmed with the enormity of the task, just go one room at a time. You’ll be delighted to see what you can accomplish!