Sunday, June 7, 2015

How Decluttering Changed My Life

For me, I have difficulty relaxing when I have a "to-do" list in my head.  I recently started using Homeschool Planet to organize our home and homeschool schedules, and it works well for me.  I like it because I can keep our school schedule and my daily/weekly cleaning tasks scheduled all in one place. 

I don't function well when my environment is cluttered and messy.  For years, my house was just more than I could manage when the kids were younger.  It seemed like just getting through a day was challenging enough.  And it felt that way EVERY day.  Eventually, we rented a giant dumpster and seriously got rid of "stuff."  That was only the beginning, though.

Over the next couple of years, I started organizing one room, one closet, one drawer at a time.  This past year has been organizational "projects" that sort of fine-tuned things and made daily life easier.  I read a great article on organizational ideas for the home that really got my mind working.  I made lists of the ideas I wanted to implement and kept it in my wallet.  I worked on one idea at a time until I had done them all.  It included everything from making a rotating menu board for daily meal planning, to a hanging organizer on the coat closet door for collecting gloves, hats, and scarves, to a hanging organizer for my seasonal garden flags, to hooks inside my cupboard doors for hanging measuring cups and spoons by size.  One thing just led to another. 

Then recently, I got some new flooring put in my hallway and downstairs bathroom, and shortly thereafter in my laundry room and pantry closet.  That inspired me to remodel the bathroom and clean out and reorganize the pantry again.  I've had yard sales and recently participated in a community yard sale.  I've stayed on top of cleaning out and getting rid of the kids' outgrown clothing and toys.  I've freecycled a lot of their stuff just to be rid of it.  I've been cleaning out bookshelves and thinning out outgrown school materials.  I've sold curriculum on Facebook and listed toys on Craigslist.  I've made a little extra money, and I've purged a LOT of stuff.  We also purchased an extra city trash can so I would always have room to throw out more "stuff" without using up our trashcan space for regular trash.

All that to say that over time, I've come to a completely different place.  My house is now manageable, and even presentable!  I feel on top of things for the first time in a LONG time.  I am keeping up with my daily cleaning routines, and now it's just maintenance rather than heavy decluttering.  That feels good...SOOO good.  That allows me to focus my attention on other things.  I have more time for blogging, more time for bible study, more time for leisure...a word that was never in my vocabulary before.  Heck, I even take a nap in the afternoon oftentimes!  I "feel" better.  I've learned to relax a bit.  And now both bible study and blogging are on my schedule during the week.  I can make purposeful time for them so I can do them regularly.  If a friend were to drop by unannounced, I’d have no problem inviting them in without a second of apology or embarrassment for things out of place.

I don't feel overwhelmed any more, and I don't feel depressed the way I often did before.  I can see the progress.  I can feel it.  It has made my daily life better.  And I can plan for busier times and not get behind.  Aaaaaah.  Sweet peace.  When I go to bed at night, my mind is able to slow down better, and my sleep is so peaceful and, well, restful.  Truly, my life has changed.  I look forward to each new day.  I embrace my mornings!  And when I check off that last task on my list at night, I really feel free to let go of my day.

And it really is true that once you get to this point, cleaning suddenly feels so easy and not overwhelming as it used to.  I used to feel like it would never end, and I could never feel “finished.”  Now my cleaning routine focuses on one room or area of the house each day, so that over the course of the week, the whole house gets a good cleaning, and the hot spots and high traffic areas are taken care of every day.  It no longer feels like an insurmountable task.  It’s now just a few minutes here and there throughout the day in between the many other things that take up my day (like homeschooling two of my three kids), and I actually have time to do fun things with my kids and read bedtime stories and cool things like that.

I’m in a really good place…better than I can remember in a long time.  I’m sorry my parents aren’t still around to share it with me.  Things are good.  I’m thankful and truly blessed.  Rejoice, for this is the day the Lord has made!


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photo credit: Belize - Sarteneja-36 via photopin (license)