One of the things I love to explore is how to get more out of life. I truly love life and I want to soak it ALL up! More joy, better relationships, better health, fun adventures…
It’s easy to get caught up in “more, better, fun…” and sometimes I can get a little carried away or feel like I’m missing out or doing things wrong.
One of the things I’ve learned is that I don’t really want (and definitely don’t need) to have it ALL. I’m sure you’ve learned this too. We don’t really want it ALL, do we? All the collections, all the games and toys, dishes, papers, shoes… I didn’t think so (well, just all the cute shoes).
What you really want is all the GOOD stuff: amazing health, fantastic relationships, peace, space, purpose…. amiright? (even the cutest shoes don’t compare to all that!)
So what’s really getting in the way?
Clutter = Chaos. Emotionally and Mentally.
Even if we think we don’t care about our clutter, it creates an obstacle that we keep running into mentally and emotionally without even realizing it. It affects our health and energy. In fact, 40% of people make bad food choices when the house is messy.
If we are waking up in the morning and heading into our closet, that is in complete disarray, we get stressed. Not only does it take a while to find what we’re looking for (while making us late!), but if we’re rummaging through a bunch of clothes that don’t fit or have holes (we’ll take care of that later!) our stress hormone, cortisol, starts to spike. When our cortisol levels increase, we crave food – and gain unwanted weight.
Phew! And that’s just our closet! We haven’t gotten to the kitchen or the laundry room or our bedroom yet.
So what do we do?
And actually hear what it’s saying so we can make healthier changes physically, emotionally, mentally. In order to be still and quiet on the inside and have that internal awareness, we have to calm the chaos around us.
One of my favorite books to read about decluttering and creating a peaceful sanctuary to be and live in is Marie Kondo’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. This book was a total game-changer for how I see the things I allow into my space and life. Her criteria for keeping anything is asking if something sparks JOY. If it doesn’t spark joy, it doesn’t belong. SIMPLE.
Another question I ask myself is, “Am I holding onto this to impress someone or because I will feel guilty for giving it away?” If the answer is yes, I know it doesn’t serve me (or spark joy!). I don’t want anything in my life that is going to make me feel bad because I never use it.
Today, I want to introduce you to one of my favorite games, the game of Keep or Toss.
There is 1 RULE you must obey when playing the game of Keep or Toss: Do not regift or unload your stuff onto someone else who didn’t ask for it. Please, for the love… Donate it to an organization or throw it out.
We need to create SPACE for the things we really want (not just physically).
I have created my TOP 10 Systems (or strategies) for creating space and peace in your life:
#1. First, you need to cultivate the mindset to LET GO!
Realize Stuff is not serving you. Then make a list of your reasons for wanting to move on. Including why it’s keeping you stuck NOW and how you will feel when you create your beautiful, open, new space.
I understand that some things have sentimental value, but if you’re reading this you probably need a little help. That special wedding gift from Aunt Mona that you never use (or use once a year) was never intended to sit in the back of your cupboard. Let it move on to someone else who will be so excited they “scored.”
It’s okay to let go of stuff.
#2. Make sure everything has a “home.”
And make sure everyone in your house knows where the home is.
It’s really not about the size of your space. We have lived in a 750 square foot apartment when we had two kids and we made it work (with no garage or laundry room).
#3. Put it all the way away. (Or sometimes I say, “just touch it once.”)
My kids often want to walk a game only half-way home (to the bottom of the stairs). In order for the game to make it all the way home you have to move it again (touching it twice or three times). Just do the work once to get an item back where it belongs.
Don’t leave a room until you’ve done all the work you need to do in that space. For example, in the morning before leaving your bedroom make your bed, go to the bathroom, get dressed, sort laundry to wash.
#5. Don’t leave a room empty-handed.
Before you leave a room, grab something to put away on your way.
#6. Do It NOW!
It if takes you less than 2 minutes (whether it’s an email reply, putting away games, making a quick grocery list of items missing in the week..) take the time to get it done. Getting your to-do list out of your head stops it from rattling around in your mind. Win!
#7. Make Your Bed.
Yes you can! And your kids can too. The easiest time of day to make your bed is right after you get out of it in the morning OR right before you leave your room (see “Zoning” above). This will totally set the mood for how you roll.
#8. Just Say NO To More Stuff.
Stuff comes in all shapes and sizes: gifts, kid trinkets, mail. If you KNOW you’re never going to use something don’t try to make it work. This might seem crazy to some people, but we only buy ONE thing for our kids’ birthdays or Christmas. Sometimes instead of gifts, we choose to do a family adventure instead. One of my favorite Christmas’s as a kid was when we went to Hawaii as a family.
#9. The Tri-Annual Purge.
I make a point to go through stuff about 3 times a year. During Christmas vacation, after school gets out for the summer and before school starts again in the fall. I take the time to inventory kids’ clothes and needed items as well as getting rid of things accumulated. (or any other time I feel like the chaos is getting out of hand). If you do it often, it is do-able in a short period of time.
#10. Daily and Weekly Maintenance.
It doesn’t take long to keep things under wraps every day once you get there. We do a 5 minute pick-up a couple times a day to just put things away we got out for school or meals. I keep a box in the laundry room that is specifically for give-away items. Once the box is full I donate all the items in the box.
I would love to hear from YOU!
I know there are a lot of great ideas out there for keeping the clutter (and chaos) down in your house. What are some of the things YOU love to do?
PS. Pin this so you can easily find this list later on!