Friends, I have a confession. I have A LOT of stuff. I love stuff. I get attached to stuff. I fear getting rid of stuff, because "what if I need it some day?!" But if I've learned anything in the last 18 months of being a stay at home mom, it's this: when I make more room for stuff in my life, I'm making less room for the people in my life. When I choose to allow hundreds of toys into my life, then I spend more of my day cleaning up. When I choose to own 35 mugs, I do more dishes. When I hold onto clothing that I wore in high school, I am choosing clutter. That's just one more thing to move from house to house.
My life is beautiful and full with these four daughters of mine, and I've decided I need to stop treating my stuff like it's my fifth child. I give that fifth child so much of my time and energy, my patience is drained by it and my four real children all suffer because of it. It's time. Time to let stuff go, throw stuff out, sell, and donate. So in my home starting tomorrow I'm instituting Throw it out Thursday! Every Thursday I will continue this mission of decluttering my home. I know it will be hard work. I know I might get emotional (don't judge, m'kay?). But I also know that it will be SO SO worth it.
Do you have too much stuff? Do you feel like you're always organizing, cleaning, and putting things away? Want to walk this journey with me? Lets free ourselves! Here's where I recommend you start: go to your library or local bookstore and check out Sink Reflections by Marla Cilley -- The FlyLady. The book exudes her warm, loving, firm presence, and I could not have gotten started without her. I also recommend going over to The Purposeful Housewife with Allie Casazza. She writes about how minimalism is especially important to us mamas. If FlyLady got me started, Allie kept me going. She's got tips, tricks, and lists, with humor woven throughout.
I haven't been doing this for long, this decluttering mission of mine. I haven't even been doing it very consistently if I'm being totally frank with you. But I have noticed a huge difference all the same. Even the little bit of effort I have put into it has helped. I see the difference and I feel the difference because
So here is a challenge for you, with just a couple days until Christmas. Many of you are looking forward to opening up presents from under your tree. Your children don't know it yet, but they are getting new toys or new clothes. You may not know what you are going to receive, but you spy a few not-so-neatly wrapped packages under the tree with your name on them. Why don't you do some decluttering BEFORE Christmas? Why not make room in your house and in your life for the gifts you are about to receive? You probably have some things in your kitchen cupboards or drawers that you don't ever use and don't really need. Maybe you have three colanders or 30 butter knives. Maybe you have had a bundt pan for five years and not once used it. Or maybe you can start in your dresser drawers or your children's overflowing toy chest. I bet there are some things you'll find that you don't need, and you don't really want. Now in the spirit of giving, find a local "Pay it forward" group on Facebook, or create an ad in the "free" section of Craigslist. I bet there's a family who doesn't have what you have. There just might be someone who needs a little bit of the thing you have in excess. Maybe you won't find anyone who needs butter knives or a bundt pan. But then again, maybe you will. And to someone who finds themself in the dispiriting position this Christmas of not having money to buy things for their family or home,
So I encourage you, I challenge you, I implore you! In the midst of freeing up space in your home, reach out as well.