Enjoying a life of minimalism had an unexpected consequence. It made me a better mother. This wasn’t a change that happened overnight, but more gradually. My husband and I started minimizing mid 2015, and in the span of about seven months, our decluttering attempts completely transformed our home, mindset, and actions.
Becoming purposefully minimal allowed me to actually focus on time I was spending with my family. Finally, I could happily sit down to read a book (or twenty), sing a song, chase bubbles outside, and generally be more present with Penelope. Gone were the days of having creeping thoughts of what I “should be doing around the house.”
Prior to minimizing, mental anxiety over all the household clutter consumed me. I was constantly distracted with urges to tidy our space. I often found myself saying, “Please let me finish ____ task, and then I can do ___” to Penelope. Then I realized, She is just a toddler! I need to be present with her above any household chore or distraction! My desire is that Penelope learns at an early age that I am here for both the little moments and the big events going on in her life. My actions need to show her that she is more important than things.
Are you having a similar struggle with balancing tidying and being present with your child(ren)? If so, I am willing to bet that merely organizing spaces in your home hasn’t worked. If this is true, I would suggest you consider decluttering! But, where to start??
There are many suggestions out there on the best ways to declutter your home. I will describe the process that worked for me, and feel free to follow it as is, or alter to fit your specific needs! The most important step is to recognize the need to change, then mentally prepare to follow through via action.
First things first, come up with a vision. How do you, and if applicable, your significant other, want the house to look and feel when the decluttering process has come to an end? This will give you a clear idea of how much or how little you need to minimize.
In the beginning of my minimalist journey, I started small. I did a sweep of the house, getting rid of things that weren’t needed or that I simply didn’t like. I ended up doing this several times, and with each pass, it was easier to let more things go.
Once you’ve done a quick declutter of the easy things, it’s time to dig a little deeper. I chose to go room by room, starting with the kitchen, then the living room, dining room, bedrooms, bathrooms, and finally, finishing with the garage. It took my husband and I almost a year of decluttering (and the selling, donating, and trashing several thousand items) to realize our dream of having a peaceful, calm, retreat to call home. Around the same time is when I consciously realized that clearing our home cleared my mind, allowing for more intentional time spent with our daughter. Again, start with the easiest room first and end with the one that has the most sentimental, or hard to deal with items. Quick victories are great for building decluttering momentum. You can do this!
Whether it is a slow process or fast, decluttering your home will have a positive impact on the people you most cherish. Remember, there is no right or wrong here, the amount you keep is up to you. You have to find the perfect amount that works for your family and specific season of life. Once the decluttering process has been completed, your home will be easier to keep in order, allowing for more purposeful time spent with your child(ren).