One of the greatest challenges I have experienced on my decluttering journey is the family thing. You know the family thing. Several big and little people living in one space? It’s often challenging at the best of times but when you start to get ‘a thing’ about clutter there can be some frustrations to say the least!
Decluttering is very much a journey and a lifestyle not a one time event. Decluttering will lead to better organisation, a desire for less and a hunger to declutter every single area of your life. You kind of get the bug. You know like when someone gets the bug for travelling or running? Decluttering is the same. But just because you get the bug doesn’t mean that your family members are going to get on board immediately and think its an awesome idea like you do!
My youngest collects clutter throughout her school day. Now when I say clutter what I’m actually saying is rubbish. She will bring home in her pocket ‘jewels’ that she has found in the playground, or dead snakes that she wants to keep (they’re not really snakes – just saying). She knows absolutely every detail of what she has collected and I am NOT allowed to throw any of it away (I do eventually but I have to let a certain amount of time pass so that the new rubbish can come home and she’s forgotten about the old.)
And then there’s the artwork. Oh the wonderful glittery, sticky creative inventions they make in school. Now don’t misunderstand me here. I’m not disrespecting the time they have put into these wonderful creations or their desire to hold onto them. But seriously, there is only so much you can keep right?
I could go on and talk about nerf bullets, lego bits, slime and make up on the floor but we would seriously be here all day. We all have our own version of dead snakes and jewels. Lets be real guys – family life is family life. Whatever form your family takes, life is happening all the time and with it comes the challenge of dealing with the noise it brings. Noise – the actually physical noise of family life and the noise of our over-stressed thinking, our possessions, our commitments and all the emotions we experience ( and our kids) throughout the course of one day. So what’s the answer? How can we learn to live a clutter free, more organised and simple existence in this busy modern culture?
5 Steps to a Simplified life
- Create habits – Some of us do this without thinking but it doesn’t necessarily come easy to everyone. We can limit stress by committing to doing some of the same things every day, every week, every month. Obviously these habits need some flexibility and need to adjust with the ebb and flow of family life but on the whole there are certain things that just need to be done every day or every week. For example; putting a load of washing on before you leave in the morning, clearing up after every meal and putting the dishwasher on, folding laundry and putting it away, recycling etc. Make a list of all your chores and break them down into things that can be tackled as daily, weekly and monthly habits.
- Tackle small jobs promptly – If a job will only take you a few minutes do it right away. It may be filling in a school form or paying a bill. Do them as quickly as you can so that they don’t form part of an ever-increasing list of jobs.
- If there are areas you know really need decluttering, start small. Begin by simply setting your clock for 10/15 minutes and achieve as much as you can in that time. You will be AMAZED how productive this can be.
- Train your family – Encourage your family members to develop good daily discipline – unpacking their school bags, staying on top of homework (without you nagging), clearing up after themselves, sorting their laundry. There are certain things children need to learn just as being part of a family (like the above) but you can also create a list of ‘optional earners’ – jobs they can do around the house in return for extra pocket-money.
- Challenge your thinking – Consider what you have around you. Does it bring you joy? Your home should be a place of retreat and sanctuary. If being at home makes you stressed ask yourself why? Look around you – would you just love to eliminate the excess? Next time you go shopping be more mindful of the process. Make intentional purchases.
So there you go – 5 simple steps to help you navigate through the reality of family life. I know it’s not rocket science but when we make steps to live much more intentionally and be more disciplined it can lead to increased freedom and simplicity. Who wouldn’t want that?