I’ve always felt over my head with homemaking. Keeping things clean AND tidy has been unattainable and once things get messy, it feels like it takes two straight days of cleaning to get everything in order. Or at least…it did. Before I did the stupid easy thing everyone said would fix it: GET RID OF THE STUFF.
A few months ago I had an epiphany after clearing out the big kids room of most of their toys. Before that, trying to get my six-year-old and three-year-old to clean their room was a traumatic experience. Tears, threats, and tantrums ensued–and the kids’ behavior was even worse (see what I did there?).
But one weekend while they were at grandma’s Daniel and I had a garage sale and got rid of about 50% of their stuff. THEY DIDN’T NOTICE ANYTHING WAS GONE (!) But they did thank me for cleaning their room for them. And have been able to maintain their room, for the most part, without much help. Win.
I started to think, “hmmmm. If that’s all it took to transform a nightmare into 10 minutes a day of easy clean up….maybe I should do that to the rest of the house. Maybe that whole decluttering craze has something to it.” Tack on putting our house up for sale (we’re moving to a farm, there will be goats, no big deal. jk. SUPER BIG DEAL where our apartment will be 650sq ft. for the five of us) and voila! Some pretty serious decluttering motivation!
So I went room by room. I tried to be downright ruthless. When I was feeling unsure about whether we needed to keep something I’d think…how much will this cost to move to TX? Is it worth the space? Most of the time, it wasn’t worth it. We sold a few things, gave items to friends, and dropped tons of boxes off to the local thrift store.
Daniel and I estimate that we got rid of ⅓ of our stuff in the past few months. ONE THIRD.
That means there’s a third less stuff to organize, keep orderly, and clean. Gone are the days of trying to stuff too many things into one cabinet. We can keep things neat and everything put away because now there’s actually somewhere to put them. Revolutionary, right?
It’s a whole new world.
Yes, things still get messy. We have three kids and we homeschool (because Voldemort hates homeschooling) so…just use your imagination. It’s chaos. But as long a I keep up with the laundry and dishes, when we are asked to show the house to a potential buyer with only a couple of hours notice, I can do a quick mop and wipe down of everything (with what I learned from my friend Jen), tidy up what’s being used, and we’re out the door with a show ready home in plenty of time.
And in the six months or so of decluttering, NEVER have I thought of an item we purged and wished we still had it. NEVER. So basically a third of what we owned was completely unnecessary and eating up our time to maintain, organize, and clean.
So I’m a believer now. And I’m so glad circumstances forced me to declutter, because this is the way I want to live. Less stuff. More time. More fun. Who’s with me?
Do you struggle with keeping the stuff under control? Any expert declutterers out there willing to share tips?