I recently shared on my facebook page a post about decluttering – 7 Daily Habits for a Clutter-Free Home by Joshua Becker. Lots of people read it, liked it and shared it. There were also the following comments:
Why do we need a clutter free home. I have 4 kids and the clutter is a sign of our family enjoying life together.
I’m with you – mine only looks tidy when I’ve lost my cool and yelled at everyone to put things away.
Agreed. I like a clean kitchen but have no problem stepping over the dinosaur village to get to bed. My children will grow soon enough.
I completely respect these comments and love that we can have discussions on issues that are important to us. For me though, the post I shared was not saying that there could not be kids’ mess. To me the post was about steps you can take to keep in order the stuff you have in the house and then progressing from there to removing from the house items that we do not need. I think there is a big difference between clutter and the possessions we love or need.
Over the last couple of weeks I have removed hundreds of items from our house, like the following:
- Recipe magazines that I haven’t looked at for years.
- Old DVDs that are no longer age appropriate for our kids.
- Old contracts, agreements, articles that I had printed out for work that were no longer relevant/needed.
- Crockery that is no longer used as we have a new set.
- Clothes that I haven’t worn for over a year.
- Old school work I had kept of the kids which I have archived digitally and don’t need the physical version.
- School papers I have archived digitally and added the dates to my diary.
- The collection of out of date notices that had accumulated on the clip on the fridge.
- Games the kids have outgrown.
- Broken toys and toys the kids no longer play with.
- Clothes that kids are no longer wearing.
This is a massive amount of clutter that I have removed from the home. None of these items were contributing positively to family life. In many ways I think they were having a negative impact. Some cupboards were bursting with stuff. Other clutter was just making it harder for the kids and me to keep things tidy. As Becker states and I think is particularly true when it comes to kids:
Messes attract messes and clutter attracts clutter.
I find steps like those suggested by Becker and regularly decluttering important for a couple of key reasons:
- To help keep the physical state of the house in better shape – removing items means there is simply less things to be out of place an make a mess. It also helps create clean space and a sense of order. I also find with the kids if the base we have set around the home is cluttered, they tend to be messier.
- To help with my psychological state of mind – clutter can be overwhelming and stressful. It can be distracting and waste time (ever spend time just rearranging clutter from one area in the house to another or just simply reorganising it?).
Our house still contains so many items that are not needed. There are certain things I struggle to let go of, but even if you take those items out of the equation, I still have plenty left to work with!
So that is my goal over the next month. To slowly chip away at the clutter that has been building up and create a more calming space in the home.
If you are after tips on the decluttering process, this post from last year may help:
Tips For Decluttering Your Home