“Cortisol data show a link between unhappy verbal characterizations of arrays of household possessions [chronically messy, cluttered rooms or unfinished remodeling projects] and higher stress level as measured by the hormone cortisol in the MOTHERS in the study,” UCLA professor of anthropology Jeanne Arnold
Let’s talk about Organizing your Home, Stress and Clutter!
I love starting the new year with taking down our tree. I feel like it is claiming the end of chaos. I pack it all away and feel great. It is a time after having so much, and getting so much, that you take a deep breath and realize you feel more at peace whenever there is less stuff.
I feel like I get angry a lot with my kids because of the mess. I will pick everything up and within ten minutes everything is scattered around the house. I can spend my entire day following my kids around picking up stuff. It can drive me insane. How many plastic kids cup do we need? Do we really need 20 coffee mugs and 100 stuffed animals from great aunts? I realized that most of the stuff we have wasn’t because it meant anything, but because I was worried it meant something to someone else. I wanted to take control of my house. I wanted to purge. I need to feel like I can play with my kids instead of picking up what they spent 5 minutes playing with.
I had once read the Art of Tidying Up (see link at end of post) and the idea to determine if each item sparks joy resonated with me. Most items brought me stress and made me question why it was in my house. I typically do this with our clothes and our children’s clothes. It has made me incredibly happy in my wardrobe and helped me find my style. I was truly neglecting doing this throughout our home. It was scary and so much to tackle. I wondered if I could even find the energy to do it.
I started the task where I already was disconnected from the belongings. When I host I put everything that I really don’t want to spend the evening picking up in our basement. Those tiny little plastic toys and action figures were the first to go. The kids have hardly noticed they were gone. By the end of this purge the playroom was practically empty. I wanted to keep a few things for friends with little ones and then I realized that all kids do when they come over is dump everything out and run around. It seems more dangerous to keep extra toys for guests. I kept a box of large legos and magnitiles for little ones that I can bring out when they come over. I actually had a playdate the day after this purge. No one asked where the toys were. They used the empty shelves to pretend like they were little beds. They actually used their imaginations without lots of stuff!
Now that the play room was empty I decided to move on to the two rooms that stress me out the most. The kids rooms. The girls have this thing called a toy box. Nothing in there matters and it all had to go. From there I tackled the closet. They really only need a few pairs of shoes and 1 or 2 tutus. They don’t need 50. I cleared the second kids room and got rid of 90% of our dress up stuff. I used to keep it for guests but Mia and her friends are too big for it and I find that most of the time the girls fight over the dresses. They had to go. This stress wasn’t needed and the girls can find ways to be creative with the handful of dresses left.
Some rooms are harder to take on then others. My husband has strong opinions about his belongings and doesn’t want them touched or moved. His office and his counter top, which are in my master room are covered/stacked with things. This adds to my stress while looking at it but I have to remember that this is his space and his process. I have created my own space in another room to work and escape the stress of too much stuff. At some point I would love to find a way for the space to work for both of us. Until then each small step of de-cluttering does bring joy me and balance. It brings less yelling from me, which equals less stress on the family.
I may never be a minimalist. While de-cluttering I actually thought of 4 items I needed to order on Amazon. (Which included matching hangers to make the clean closets look prettier) However, I hope these small steps for organizing your home will make an impact on my family life to bring some harmony in this new year.
To read about Erin’s resolutions for 2017 – Resolutions and Intentions