Clutter-Free Heart & Home Before Christmas Wednesday, November 30th, 2016
If you’re anything like me, the first batch of Christmas presents that you ordered online should be arriving any day now. Boxes and shipments and trips to the store all mean one thing… there will be more stuff in your house. Call me crazy, but my guess is that idea doesn’t thrill you or you wouldn’t be reading this.
Here’s the current situation at the Thompson house. Somewhere around November 1st, we received our first Christmas toy catalogue in the mail. The moment my kids saw it, they scrambled for the opportunity to look through the colorful glossy pages. Each grabbing a marker, they scribbled circles and arrows highlighting what they wanted most. I… was not so excited.
While they were gleefully daydreaming about the perfect presents, I was dreading the thought of bringing one more thing into this already cluttered house.
We do not need any more crap! I thought as I watched them circle massive Lego creations and life-sized doll furniture. I looked around my living room. Toys. Everywhere. And stuff. SO much stuff. Baskets of stuff. Bins of stuff. Bookshelves, and toy boxes, and closets… all full of STUFF. I’m tired of it. Ya know what I mean?!
Here’s the thing. I’ve decided that I’m a professional stuff shuffler. It seems like all I do is move stuff from one place to another. Seriously, all day long I shuffle stuff. The laundry and dishes, the toys and books, the shoes and backpacks, the school work pile and bill pile and the craft projects are all just moved from one place to another over and over again. Shuffling. It never stops.
Don’t get me wrong. My three young kids have already reached the ages where they can help me pick up, and they do! You’d better believe they do! I’m turning them into little stuff shufflers too. But their rooms and our lives are overflowing with so many things, and most days none of us know where to begin to pick up… or to begin playing for that matter.
With Christmas just around the corner, and the promise of more stuff on its way, I need to do something about what is happening around here now.
I don’t want to spend my life taking care of things. I want to spend my motherhood taking care of my people! Ya feel me!?
Look, friend. This isn’t some blog post written by some minimalist momma who has it all figured out. Sorry. You’ll have to google that. This is one regular lady who stays at home with her people and her things and tries her best every day to take care of all of it. This is the mission of one woman who is ready to purge everything… to just get it all out of here… and to get her life back in exchange. And this is how I did it…ahem…this is how I’m still doing it.
De-cluttering our hearts and our homes so we can regain our peace sounds like a great gift to give ourselves this season. These twenty-five steps are broken down into five segments, and will allow you to move at your own pace. So I don’t overwhelm you with information, I spread these out over five pages. Be sure to click all the way through to the end. I have a printable list of all twenty five days waiting for you on the last page!
Baby steps, trash bags and donate boxes. That’s one formula for more time and less stress this Christmas season.
Ready? You got this.
- 1 | Your Clothes
Just about every de-cluttering guide starts with clothing. I’m not everyone else, but I’d be lying if I said I started somewhere else in my house. My clothes were absolutely where I began. Want to know why? I hate laundry. I hate how it lives on my couch. I hate how it fills my hampers. I hate keeping up with it… because I never do. I also don’t like going into my closet and standing there trying to decide what to throw on in the fifteen seconds I have before a small child walks in and says, “You nakey, Mommy.” I need my wardrobe to be practical. I also need to be able to find something quickly so I don’t just throw on the same sweatshirt I wore yesterday.
Here’s how I tackled my clothes. After the kids went to bed, I pulled out every single thing hanging in my closet and dumped it onto my bedroom floor. I asked myself these questions. When was the last time I wore this? Why does it deserve my time and attention? Is there another shirt I will choose before I choose this shirt if both are clean?
As I started going through clothes from before I had children… seven years ago… I was surprised by the things I still had lingering in my closet. I remembered the sweet little lies I had told myself over the years. After I lose all of the baby weight, I will wear that shirt again. When my tummy gets tighter, I will wear that dress. Funny story. Weight gone. Body still not the same. Dress, you’re out of here, because you went out of style while I was busy living my life. PS. GOOD BYE, MATERNITY JEANS. FARE THEE WELL, DECADE OLD SHIRTS THAT JUST DON’T FIT ANYMORE. You’re all done taking up my space.
It was freeing bagging it all up to donate, and it made my morning routine so much faster. I ended up with about ¼ of my wardrobe, and I felt like a new person. (I really felt that way. It’s not just some line I’m adding to make this process sound awesome, because the reality is… this is work. But I think you will feel better if you start.) Onward!
- 2 | Socks
I have a giant plastic bin of socks with no matches. Nearly one cubic foot of my house is made up of unmatched socks. Where are all of the matches? Maybe in the giant laundry pile that’s never finished. Maybe eaten by the washing machine. Maybe lost in the grocery store parking lot because they fell out of my minivan. I don’t know. I made all of the matches I could, and I threw away the rest. No more wishing for the day when the lost socks return on their own. They ain’t comin’ back. Goodbye, sock clutter.
Pro tip: (Ha! Just kidding!) I also moved all of my children’s socks into one big dresser drawer in my bedroom. My kids all know where to go to get a pair of socks, and I don’t spend my time shoving tiny rolled up socks into drawers all over the house. Everyone to the sock drawer! Grab a pair. Let’s go! We have better things to do than hunt for socks or let sock drawers run our lives.
- 3 | Underwear
Can we just talk about how you probably have five pairs of underwear and three to five great (or okayish) bras that you wear all of the time? The rest are either for “special” times of the month, or they are too itchy, or too tight, or give you weird panty lines. I mean, there’s a reason you don’t tag them into the regular rotation. But then why do we keep them? Why do we dig through it all of the other stuff just so we can get to our regular every day undies?
If you’re like me, you might say things like this to yourself. I spent a lot of money on these bras that don’t fit anymore. Someday I might have 21 year old boobs again. I should keep them. Answer? No. Find your regulars, the ones you actually wear, the ones appropriately sized, and ditch the rest. Now, you don’t have to dig through the weird stuff to get to what you really plan on putting on when you’re in a hurry to get dressed. Get out of my way, pre-I-nursed-three-babies bras. Instant extra time and more space.
- 4 | Kids’ Clothes
I’m the worst at transitioning my kids out of an old size and into a new size and not pulling the old size from the lineup. I’m all, That’s a great backup just in case we have an emergency (like I forget to do laundry for a week.) I think I’ll just keep these tiny pants around for another few months just to be safe. But somehow months turn to years and suddenly my kindergartner has a 3T shirt on before school one morning because mommy forgot to do laundry… because there was so stinkin’ much of it to wash! No. We’re going to fix that right now. Remember what you did with your clothes? Repeat that with each child’s clothing. Answer these questions. Will you actually dress them in it? Will you pick a different shirt first?
Keep the stuff that fits well and donate the rest. The more you can cram into those garbage bags to give away the better. Less clothes to wash! Less clothes to fold! Less options to make you go crazy! You make enough decisions every day. Also… I know that inner voice, sister. But he only wore it once! I should keep it and maybe he can wear it again. No. There’s a reason he only wore it once, and it’s likely one of two scenarios. You either had too much stuff and forgot about the shirt all together, or you chose to put him in a different shirt because you liked it better and there was no reason to have this unworn shirt in the first place. Either way, too much stuff. Get it out of here. Time to send it on its tiny shirt way. Sentimental? Snap a photo, and set yourself free!
- 5 | Shoes
We keep all of our kids’ shoes in two baskets near our front door. Like the socks, I was tired of running all over my house to put away shoes in different bedrooms, so I moved them to one central location. I know. I know. I’m a genius. But those baskets can hide shoes we completely forget about as we grab the same two pairs on top over and over. Just like we did with the clothes, for this step, bring all the shoes into one place… Yes, all of the shoes in the entire house. Go through yours and your spouses. For your kids, ask yourself these two questions. Do they fit? Do they really wear them? If the answer is yes to both, keep them. If the answer is no to either, donate!
Also, I know it’s hard for some of you new mommas. There’s just something about little shoes. They’re basically impossible to give away or sell. Just listen to me, friend. I’m whispering. Lean in close. Closer. This is going to sound harsh no matter how I say it. Tiny baby feet are gone. I know. They hardly wore those pairs. I know. You spent a lot of money on them. I know. Save the ones you really need for sentimental value. Tuck them in the attic somewhere, and revisit them when you want to cry about how your baby is all grown up. For the rest, snap a photo and keep moving. You’re de-cluttering so you can make new memories with the bigger feet that live in your house.