I just got back from an 8-day family vacation to California. As with any trip with small children, it had its less-than-ideal moments (like when my poor baby girl threw up all over herself — and my husband, and the restaurant — after dinner on our last day at Disneyland). But overall, it was a wonderful trip and I loved getting away with my family.
The thing about vacations is, it takes a LOT of work to prepare for them, plus a lot of work getting life back in order again once you get home. This is especially true if you have little ones; it seems like you have to pack everything but the kitchen sink — and it sure felt that way beforehand, as I ran errand after errand making sure we had everything we needed before we took off.
My work paid off and nothing was forgotten. In fact, we not only had everything we needed, we had ONLY the things we needed. No extras taking up space; just the basics that took care of all our needs. And you know, it was really nice. For once I didn’t have to sift through an overflowing closet and wrack my brain trying to figure out what to wear each morning, and I didn’t have to clean up piles and piles of toys that the kids had gotten out during the day or dig through drawers of makeup trying to find the perfect shade of eyeshadow. I had exactly what I needed — no more, no less.
And then we came home to a house that’s overflowing with stuff.
Don’t get me wrong, I am extremely grateful for all we have. At least once a day I find myself looking around and saying, “Man, this is the good life. I feel so blessed to have such a beautiful home with so many nice things.” But the flip side of that coin is that if we’re not careful, we become completely overrun by those things.
So yesterday, when we came home and started unpacking our suitcases, I was overcome by the sudden urge to purge.
Suddenly, the contrast between the things we actually need and the things we accumulate was very apparent. I felt overrun by things, and I needed to free up space — physically and mentally.
Whether you regularly keep your possessions to a bare minimum or only lighten the load when absolutely necessary, everyone benefits from a little purging every now and then. By cutting the clutter, getting rid of things you don’t need and never use, or letting go of items that only have emotional significance but no physical relevance, you are able to not only free up space in your home but give yourself some mental space.
That’s because no one can function optimally in a place that’s overflowing with things that visually scream for attention or mentally nag at you to take care of some chore or task. Here’s what I mean: Say you have a pile of mail on the counter that not only sits there for a few days, it grows. Every time you see it you are reminded of things you have to do, like sort through the pile, pay a few bills, RSVP to an invitation, and so on. Keeping clutter out in the open — especially clutter that carries with it a to-do list — creates a low level of stress, constantly reminding you of all the things you need to be doing. So while tackling the clutter may seem like a lot of work, as with all things worth doing, it’s going to make your life infinitely better if you just suck it up and get the job done.
So, are you with me? Ready to shed some dead weight and free your home and your mind? Here are a few ideas to help you get started.
De-cluttering your home can be as simple as taking out the trash. Just grab a garbage bag and start with those drawers you never empty, like in the bathroom, the office, or the kitchen junk drawer. It’s also a good idea to go through your clothes every year (if not every season) and pull out anything you haven’t worn in the past 6-12 months. If it’s damaged, chuck it. If it’s still in good condition but just not you, sell or donate it.
For more in-depth help, motivation, and inspiration, check out these excellent resources for getting down to basics in your home.
- If you know you need to clean your home but just can’t bear the thought of it, click HERE.
- If your closet is overflowing, click HERE.
- If you need to tackle the mail pile, click HERE.
- If you’re ready to de-clutter the whole house, click HERE.
- If you want to pare down to the essentials, click HERE.
Good luck, and a happy spring cleaning to you!