Monday, June 11, 2018

10 Ways To Declutter Your Home and Regain Your Sanity




On my latest Instagram Live, a sweet mama reached out to me to say she was struggling with clutter - not because she isn't a tidy person, but because she has two boys at home with her 24/7.

Believe me, I get it!  As a boy mom myself, I often find myself chasing after little men with my arms full of forgotten cups, plates, socks, towels, and toys.  It seems a never-ending battle, and even as a non-neat freak, I struggle to feel as though my home is ever all clean at the same time.  

Whether or not you can relate, I'm sharing ten ways you can declutter your home and regain your sanity, because as I mentioned here, cleanliness may not necessarily be next to godliness (where in the heck did that expression even come from?!), but it certainly does ease anxiety and make us feel better about life.  

Some of the methods I'm sharing are strictly about decluttering.  Some are more about regaining your sanity.  All of them will help ease your clutter-induced anxiety. 

1.  Have less stuff - This may be super obvious, but I believe it warrants a mention.  Decide that less is more and then strive to live by that ideal.  I found this to be quite true when I began a capsule wardrobe.  Simply choosing one area of life to be a minimalist in has made the getting dressed (and laundry) situation so. much. easier.  

2.  Change your mind - Practicing mindfulness is essential to experience present moment joy.  Truly, if you want your clutter induced anxiety to become a thing of the past, I recommend meditation to help you first declutter your mind from those thoughts that clutter is "bad" or you don't "have it together" if clutter is present.  Mindfulness teaches you to recognize what is with a gentle, objective sense of observing.  There's no judgement allowed!

3.  Declutter before you clean - This seemed super counterintuitive to me (because the only thing I have in common with Monica Gellar is that I may or may not have a closet that is jam packed with stuff), but it really does make sense when you stop and think about it.  Hiding clutter just means you're going to have to deal with it later and cleaning clutter just makes no sense.  Why spend time dusting something you're going to throw away or give to Goodwill?  If you are looking for some more advice (from a real expert) on decluttering, check out Flylady.net.  

4.  Delegate, delegate, delegate! - I mentioned this in my Instagram Live also...if you don't live alone, that means there is more than one person making a mess.  Ergo, there should be more than one person is cleaning up.  Ideally, each member of the household should contribute to keeping the house tidy (something I intend to be better about enforcing this summer...muahahah and they thought summer was just going to be spent at the beach!).  Delegating could also mean getting some professional cleaners to come in every so often.

5.  Do your best and forget the rest - I say this to my boys all the time, and I'm pretty sure it's from Paw Patrol.  Regardless, if it's something I'm saying to my kids, it's probably something I should be saying to myself.  Usually, the reasons I get stressed about cleaning are because I'm worried about impressing other people.  And that, I'm learning day by day, is just a waste of mental energy!

6.  One in, one out! - Once things are decluttered (or mostly decluttered), it's time to institute the one in, one out rule.  When you buy a new pair of shoes, out goes an old pair.  When your child gets a bunch of new toys for their birthday, several more old ones get donated.  If you stay disciplined about this, it will definitely make life a lot easier.

7.  Get your family on board - If you're not the only person in your family who doesn't appreciate clutter, it's good to have a chat about what you can, will, and won't do.  Explaining to your family that your major cleaning days will be Tuesdays and Thursdays because those are the days you're home and not working will let them know to expect a little less tidiness the other days of the week.  If you explain this in advance, you will feel less pressure to hurry up and clean before your spouse gets home (or a friend comes over).  You know what you can and can't get done in a day (see #5), and it's time for you and everyone else you live with to be ok with that.

8.  Give whimsy a try - While schedules and plans and decluttering are great, whimsy is even greater.    Life is oh-so-short, my friends.  We are here to experience joy, hugs, long talks, nature, art, music, parties, deep relationships, intimacy, and JOY.  And while having a clean house might make you feel less anxious, I promise you, whimsy will make you feel like you are doing the right things with your life.  I understand that we can't throw caution to the wind everyday, but I do think we can do it probably every other.  Just sayin.  

9.  Avoid comparison - No one you know is "doing it all."  No matter what their Instagram feed looks like, I promise you, they're not.  When you go to someone's house and it looks "perfect," please know that it doesn't always.  When you catch yourself worrying that a loved one or acquaintance is far more put together, or has a nicer home, car, etc., remember what you have.  Remember your people and the joy they bring you.  Remember that nobody's perfect...not even Suzy Instagram Feed (yes, I just made that a thing). 


Full disclosure:  Clutter is not a trigger for me, although I definitely appreciate a neat, clean house.  At this point in life, I have come to accept that when the kids have flown the coop (cue me ugly crying), there will be plenty of time for a perfectly put-together abode.  However, as we get closer and closer to becoming foster parents (as little as three months away now!), I know we're getting closer and closer to messiness and craziness.  It's a fact of life, and one I'm choosing to accept, rather than fight.  So tomorrow, guess what?  I'm getting an estimate on having the house professionally cleaned once a month.  And I'm prouuuud of it.  

We really can't do it all.  In the aforementioned Instagram Live, I also shared with the aforementioned sweet mama that Shonda Rhimes said, "If I'm winning in one area of my life, there's a good chance I'm failing in another."  Amen!  While social media (and our own imaginations) would have us think otherwise, the truth is perfect is overrated and unachievable.  Instead of striving for that elusive appearance of perfection, let's strive for full life.  Let's remind ourselves over and over (and over) again that those tiny faces around us will one day be fully grown and when they're remembering their childhood, they will remember what an amazing mama they had, not what an amazingly clean house she kept.

   
   
   
   
   

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