Clutter is so exhausting! It makes me a more than a little crazy, too. But… the fact of the matter is that as long as there are kids, there will be clutter and mess, so there has to be a solution. I’ve battled it hard in the 12 years of being a mom. Part of me had just wanted to give up the fight, just resigning until all these little people are grown. But I want my sanity when they are all gone and I want some peace in the meantime, so…
Here are 5 ways that I fight this ongoing battle.
1.) Have less stuff!
Less is so much more when it comes to keeping clutter in check. 5 years ago, we moved across a couple of states and in preparation, we got rid of a ton of stuff. Then we moved 2 more times in less than 2 years. Those moves forced me to figure out what was worth moving or not. Since then, I have definitely adopted much more of a minimalist mentality. We don’t have a huge home, so space is limited and I am forced to keep clutter at bay. Learning to respect and appreciate what I have makes a huge difference.
2.) Keep up with it!
It is imperative that I stay on top of the clutter especially since we don’t have extra space for it. I am constantly giving away stuff. I maintain a pretty strict rule that if something comes in, something has to go out. I keep a garbage bag in a closet or corner that I can easily add to constantly. Some people use a basket or box. Find what works for you but most importantly, have something to put those things in immediately. Don’t put it back in the closet or drawer if it doesn’t fit. Don’t put it back in the cabinet if it has a chip/crack, throw it away.
3.) Don’t try to be perfect!
It’s the craziest thing… I have never considered myself a perfectionist. I don’t like the details and nitty, gritty things that some people concern themselves with. But I came to realize in the recent years, that I easily get paralyzed by feeling like I can’t do something perfectly. I get overwhelmed and just freeze. So I have been working hard to overcome that syndrome. Being ok with it not being exactly perfect is actually so freeing and takes some stress right out of my day. It’s still a struggle, but I’m headed in the right direction. It’s better to stumble through something than to not do it at all.
4.) Focus on doing a little every day!
Fly Lady taught me to set the timer for 15 mins. Work hard and stay focused until the timer rings and then stop. Distraction and multitasking is not helpful to us in keeping down the clutter. Just do one clutter area at a time and focus. Get rid of the things you don’t need. Sell, donate, or throw away.
5.) Practice gratitude.
This may sound out of place but I have come to believe that it’s actually one of the primary keys to keep clutter under control. Discontentment causes us to think that we need that next thing, one more gadget, another pair of shoes, or the latest design of kitchenware. I cannot allow myself to browse the shopping sites too often. When I find that I’m wanting something, I stop and ask myself why I think I need it. Did I see someone mention it on Facebook? Do I really need it or just want it? Start giving thanks for the things you do have, you might find out that you don’t really need it.