Whew! I don’t know about you, but while we still have a large family Christmas gathering to attend (complete with gingerbread house decorating) and a New Year’s Eve bash here at home, the busiest rush of our holiday season is over. December was a rough month emotionally as well due to the loss of my beloved grandmother and a close family friend. I am ready for life to slow down a little bit! Today we are taking a breather, the older 3 are immersed in their new electronics, and the younger 3 are blissfully building new Lego sets, but I know all to well that the peace is not going to last. So, while I have a minute to sit and breathe I figured I should try to write up another post or two.
This post is all about decluttering. Decluttering is a big part of a Detox Transformation Lifestyle for the majority of us. Not necessarily everyone – some families are all ready living a minimalist lifestyle or close to one, and I applaud you! Most of us however, fall somewhere towards the other end of the spectrum – to much stuff, and I use that word very liberally. Stuff can mean so much to different people. One person may seem to have very little in their house, but open up a closet or two and suddenly shoes or clothes are pouring out all over you. Another’s closets and dressers may be almost bare bones, but their child’s playroom is over flowing. Perhaps these areas are all organized, but your kitchen is cluttered. It maybe your house is in perfect shape, but you pray no one opens your garage or shed. Stuff can also be mental clutter – unhealthy memories we hang onto, saying “yes” to anything and everything, but those are topics for a different post.
Point being we all have at least one room or area in our home that could use some decluttering and organization. Many of us are on vacation or shorter work hours right now while our kids are on their school vacation. That makes it a great time to fit in some cleaning with the kids! I know that probably set up a collective groan from many of you, but hear me out. One of the greatest gifts we can give our children is to teach them qualities that will serve them their entire life. Encouraging them to help us down-size, declutter, organize, donate items, and clean-up their home instills such characteristics as: responsibility, pride, self-love, generousity, and loyalty. Teaching them young will also help them to avoid allowing their life to become overly cluttered and stressful when they are older. I have always strongly believed that we as parents should learn from our parent’s mistakes, and teach our children to learn from our mistakes. Let’s teach the next generation to be better. Think about it – did your parents teach you to declutter? Was decluttering your toys a regular thing in your home growing up? Did your mom talk about how having to much stuff can become toxic to your everyday life? Many of us would say no, we weren’t taught anything like that.
So how do we expect our children to know how to declutter or how important it is to our mental well being? I get that cleaning with our children is often viewed as a chore to many parents, it can be frustrating, or cause the project to take two to three times as long as doing it ourselves. But they are part of the family, if we are purging toys – they are their toys, we are responsible for teaching them to become responsible/independant/accomplished adults and I believe part of that is to model a happy, less-stressed lifestyle. Think about it – if you were to go visit them in 20 years and their house looks like it should be on an episode of hoarders, do you want it to be because of the example you set? Or the fact that you never taught them to declutter periodically? Take the extra time now and when they are teenagers some of them may even take over the job for you. 😉
Just like there are so many areas that may need decluttering in our homes, there are so many different ways we can start this detox. Tackle it head on and declutter an entire room in one afternoon. Start small and get that junk drawer emptied out. Go mid-route and weed out broken, no longer played with toys or seldom used kitchen utensils/appliances. Whichever method you choose, I strongly recommend to have a plan in place before you begin as to what you are going to do with items that are still in good condition. Are you going to donate? Make sure you know which charity, do they have specific hours/days for donations to be dropped off, do they only take certain items? There is nothing more frustrating than piling up boxes/bags of things you are getting rid of and have no place to take them! Try to do it when the trash will be picked up the next day or you can go to the dump. If we just leave bags and boxes of stuff lying around after we declutter, then it isn’t genuinely decluttering, and therefore not detoxing our lifestyle. It is still all the same stuff only in a different format. So be sure you have a plan on what to with all of that stuff before you get started.
Need another reason to motivate you to declutter? Studies have shown that having less clutter in our daily life helps to relieve stress. Try decluttering a room or area where you will be able to sit and relax after work when you go back. Does the idea of cooking dinner stress you out because of clutter on your countertops? Focus on that area to bring back the joy of cooking for your family. Whichever area of your home stresses you out the most, focus on that first to declutter, detox stress and take a deep breath.
Thanks for reading!