What if clearing out your house could also help clear your mind? This mom swears by it.
You’ve probably caught wind of the minimalism and decluttering trend by now. Not only has there been a number of popular books published about it, but the blogging nation has also contributed a multitude of buzz in favour of it. It’s a pretty simple message, but one that can literally fit into any home, parent or child’s life. The goal is to keep the things in your home that you use and love, and scrap all the rest.
The goal is to keep the things in your home that you use and love and scrap all the rest.
I believe that being a parent is the most important, fulfilling and noble work there is in this world. That being said, it is also the most exhausting, stressful, and emotionally demanding work there is. There is much struggle in the mind of a parent. Sometimes I just need some brain help to cope with those struggles. There are many good things I have in my life that offer me help with this. Decluttering is one of those things.
Although you can with great time and effort purge it all in one fell swoop, I have found contentment in doing it in weekly spurts here and there. You know, in those teeny pockets of time when my children sharing their toys and not drawing on themselves. I pick a room, drawer, category, whatever, and start the ‘get going’ pile.
It is therapeutic simplicity at its finest. Here’s what decluttering helps me address head-on:
About 80% of the things I have gotten rid of were items I was given. Essentially, so much of the unused and unloved things I have kept all these years I only kept due to guilt. Guilt that someone may be offended if I didn’t keep an item given to me (side note: the best wedding present is cash)—a common fear, I’m sure. Finding the courage to release the stuff in my home that is guilt-infused is unbelievably freeing. Chucking those items into the donation box has helped me learn to let go of guilt. Parents are not perfect beings and we most definitely make mistakes. But by letting the guilt go, I am saying yes to future parenting successes.
Finding the courage to release the stuff in my home that is guilt-infused is unbelievably freeing.
When going through items I start to play that dreaded ‘what if’ game. What if my daughter decides she wants to play clarinet in junior high ten years down the road? Shouldn’t I keep my old clarinet just in case? As I throw myself into the future decade, I understand that this is actually not a real problem whatsoever. If she wants to play clarinet, I am most positive there will still be clarinets kicking around that I can rent or purchase. The thing I’ve started to realize with deep decluttering is that I make problems over stuff that are not problems at all. Knowing what is a real problem to be solved and what is just a first-world discomfort gives me room for insight to solve actual problems.
I felt really stupid and selfish hoarding all this stuff that my family truly never used.
The amount of duplicates I have found in my ‘therapy sessions’ is ridiculous. After a major flood occurred not far from where I live, I started collecting the items they were in need of from my household. Sadly, I at first wanted to keep most everything because they were all really nice. But as I searched through all my items I was swiftly humbled. I had SO much, and they literally lost everything. I felt really stupid and selfish hoarding all this stuff that my family truly never used. By giving away my excess, I felt so much more gratitude for what I had left and what I was able to give. This feel-good glow most definitely spills over to those little messy faces that I get to clean every day.
The days are long and repetitive a lot of the time when running a roost of littles. You clean one room and it’s destroyed ten minutes later. You fold laundry just to refold and refold and refold. Though you are accomplishing so much in raising your children, you can’t help but feel defeated by your house. Every. Day. De-junking is my favourite ‘housework’ mostly because it brings immediate results. You can see it instantly. Less stuff also means less to pick up, less for kids to dump, and less to clean. It’s weird how empowering an empty shelf is to a mom. It gives me the confidence I need to wrestle our weekly grocery trip and be publicly social.
By going through the stuff in my home and discarding the guilt and ‘what-ifs’, I’ve found myself a small road towards peace and serenity. Decluttering is my kind of therapy.
*Opinions expressed are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Parent Life Network or their partners.