Hello dear adults of this world (who have children around),
I have been working on minimalist living for years. It’s a journey ! But what a journey! It has been and still is a work in progress. I might not be an expert but I can certainly tell you that I am back from a way more than cluttered way of life.
My parents have been after me for cleaning up, clearing up my bedroom, the kitchen table (I used to do my homework on it), the living room table, the coffee table… for years. I was basically invading the tables of the home I grew up in. I was not the only one so I guess there was some modelling gone wrong at some point but… the point is: I needed to declutter.
I actually started this journey way into my twenties, late in university/moving to another country. I started to realize that a free space, free of clutter was nice and peaceful when I was living in my 9m2 university room. I had to, it was too small to hold it all. I started to live in a more peaceful environment – but the clutter was still at my parents (in my bedroom).
Little by little, I moved from France to Canada then I moved from one place to another, further further away and I was stuck with too many clothes I could not let go of, too many shoes (God sooo many shoes), too many books (teacher/student can’t let go of books). I could simply not take everything I had accumulated with me at every move and my fiancé turned husband was clear as he was the one trying to pack the car/van/moving truck. There was too much stuff. and yes it was stressful.
So after I had my daughter I had a revelation – getting rid of things and having less did not need to be painful, I had more important thing to focus on and the process could become liberating. Trust me, it is.
This is what I learned through it all (life decisions and reading about simplicity and minimalism and watching M.Kondo on Netflix haha):
It’s about making choices with INTENTIONS. It needs to come from you and it needs to be intentional, not accidental. It means going through everything one by one and decide if you need it, want it. Have you used it in the past 6 months or last year? If no, then there is a good chance, you don’t need it and someone else could have great use of it. Then recycle through donation. If broken, garbage!
Less is more YES, however, it means keeping our essential, not depriving ourselves of things we need. Throwing it all out and starting over is a possibility but it can be costly and not so good for the planet as you would throw and re-buy. Once again, look at what you have and decide if it is essential for your life vision, values and goals.
GOALS (What do you want from life?)
No clutter, no excess, no distraction from the important things and/or from a peaceful living.
This leads to having more time and energy for WHAT MATTERS (our family, friends, career…)
You are gonna tell me: “Ok, cool, but where do I start ?”
First we assess our priorities ( what is driving you nuts, what is bringing you stress – and which you can act on?)
- My first one is CHILDREN TOYS weather they are in bedroom or toy room or living room or the 3 of them – this needs a major re-organization which will make your child(ren) more independent and calmer, things get easier to clean up for them and for you. Less power struggle on that front.
- closet, clothes, cupboards of linens – this was my first work (and trust me there was work to do). Example: I used to own 35 pairs of shoes 4 years ago, I now own 9 and honestly, I can go around and do pretty much anything with what I have. So I don’t buy more unless I need to replace. My clothes have reduced of about 80% in the past 2 years. I feel better, I get dressed faster in the morning. My choices are more intentional. I am still working on it though. Capsule wardrobes are my way to do it.
- Kitchen ; throw away any chipped, broken plate or bowl – it’s not safe for anyone, donate duplicates – think about why you need 3 garlic press but you still seem to not be able to find them when needed. To sum up: Let’s re organize! That was my challenge and still is this year as I use my kitchen a lot and have to make it work for my family but also myself as I teach and feed 6 children 5 days/week within a 3-room space (including the kitchen).
- Bedroom bedside tables/shelves… easier to clean up usually – Keep it calm, this is where you sleep. Keep the essential out and be smart with your drawers (organize with small boxes/baskets or separators). Clutter need to be out of your visual space if any.
- Then tackles office, library or other extra rooms that you use and which probably need a good clean up.
It does not have to all be white and beige like you are out of an Ikea catalogue… it needs to look like what you imagine it to be, like you and your family can use it. Peacefully.
NOW GO FOR IT ! However, do not tackle them all at once. Set one goal and do it then re assess and move on to the next one. I will be back for the next step: MENTAL CLUTTER.
Tell me what are your goals for decluttering your physical space. If need struggling, I can help.