I have been on a major de-cluttering kick lately. It started off when my husband and I watched the documentary “The Minimalists” in preparation for dedicating a day to taking down our Christmas decorations and cleaning out our daughter’s playroom. It has since taken on a life of its own.
I’ve really started to think about how much unnecessary “stuff” we accumulate. We have lived in our home for 5 years and the amount of things that we have gathered in that time is substantial. Add in having a toddler, and all of the gifts, toys, and gadgets that brings, and chaos was starting to ensue.
Have you ever noticed how when you clean up your home, your mind suddenly feels clearer too? I’ve started to believe that clearing out physical clutter also reduces our mental clutter. A simplified space produces a calming and peaceful environment. We visually have less to process which gives our minds a break, and makes us happier overall.
The first step we took to simplifying our home was tackling our family room, which is also our daughter’s playroom, and the room where we spend most of our time. It had gotten out of control (see photo above), and was filled to the brim with huge tents, walkers, and plastic toys. Our 19 month old daughter, never seemed to be entertained, despite having so many different things to entice her. She was constantly getting distracted from one toy to the next, picking them up, throwing them all over the room, and leaving a trail of chaos in her wake.
We started by getting rid of all of the oversized toys that were taking up space and that she wasn’t very interested in. Next, we sorted out everything she had outgrown, and eliminated many of the loud, noisy toys that were overwhelming us and contributing to the overstimulated feel of the room. We compartmentalized everything else into bins, set up a little corner with a small child-sized table and chair, hung up some family pictures, plugged in an essential oils diffuser, and the room was transformed from a chaotic cage into a zen den.
When our daughter walked into the room, she went directly to the little corner where her little table and chair were set up and declared this her new play space. She brought her snack there, and entertained herself with eating and working on a puzzle for 45 minutes before asking to watch “Mickey’s Club House”. The change in her was immediate and I started to notice that she seemed more at ease now that she had more physical space and less distractions.
Since then, I’ve started working on different areas of the house. It’s rare to be able to dedicate an entire day to cleaning and de-cluttering, so I’ve started doing mini projects throughout the house whenever I can fit them in.
I cleaned out a bathroom cabinet while my husband gave our daughter a bath.
I cleaned out the refrigerator while making tea.
I cleaned out a coat closet while my daughter played.
I cleaned out a junk drawer while dinner was cooking.
Each of these projects was completed in just 10 minutes. There is still a lot of work to be done, but I’ve noticed that cleaning out even one small area makes a huge difference in how I feel! We can all find 10 extra minutes to clean out one drawer or cabinet. And if we do one small area each day, before we know it we will be living in a neat, orderly, and peaceful space.
Simplifying and de-cluttering can be done quickly once you have a system. All I do is create 3 different piles: Trash, Keepers, and Donations. I sort every item into one of those 3 categories. Everything that’s garbage immediately gets thrown away, the keepers get sorted and put away neatly where they belong, and the donations get added to a bag to be donated within the week. I try my best not to hold onto unnecessary things: if it’s broken, or I don’t like it, or it hasn’t been used in the last year, I get rid of it. This ensures that I end up with a collection of useful and enjoyable items in my home.
Try it, and let me know how it works out for you! What can you tackle in 10 minutes today?
Wishing you a calm + peaceful week.