If simplifying at all intrigues/calls out to you in the middle of the night please pick up Kim Payne's book - it will change your life and help you chip away in a very manageable way at the clutter of your life - the too much, the hurry, the over-scheduling, over-buying, over-keeping. This is one of my Bible's for my life and a key piece in the work I do with parents who are wanting to decrease the amount of stress that they and their family experience on a daily basis. Often clients come in when the stress has overloaded the system resulting in any symptom really from fatigue, impatience, overwhelm, poor sleep, worsening PMS, headaches, skin or digestive symptoms, increased worrying.
Making this a priority and getting the support (if needed) to simplify/declutter tangibly decreases stress by creating some breathing space in what can be a rushing, busy life. For all members of a family space is essential - space and ‘do nothing’ time creates room for communication, integration of the day’s experiences, time for nurturing relationships and being able to take the time that listening sometimes takes.
Parenting is first and foremost a relationship and simplicity creates room for that foundation. (-:
Less is more.
Here are some places to start with your decluttering of your physical space (such a rewarding place to start as it’s such an immediate ‘ahhhh’ after!) and some hot tips for you …
Tips for toys - three bags: 1. garbage (broken toys that can't be fixed), 2. toys they love. 3. toys you haven't seen them play with for ages. Any toy that doesn't have a home - make a home or give away. Hot tip: Do NOT do this with your children and be amazed at how deeper your child’s play becomes when he/she is not distracted by too many toys to choose from.
When decluttering set a timer instead of deciding to clean up a certain space. We know that it can take longer than we think to clean a room and that in the middle of the clean up the place looks worse than before. Setting a timer lets you feel your success and progress and a mini-completion feeling. “Yah! I cleaned the kids room for 30 minutes. I have done what I set out to do.” I like to hit the Easy Button at this point! Using time this way has helped me so much chip away at bigger projects 30 minutes at a time and decreased procrastination.
“Like goes with like.” My initial goal for myself was to at the end of my decluttering and reorganizing to be able to love whatever was in my house and find whatever I wanted in the house in 30 seconds. The ‘like goes with like’ maxim has made this possible. All of the stuff that attaches things goes together so I have a drawer that has glue sticks, tape, paperclips and stapler in it. All the baking stuff is in one drawer. All the tools are together in a bin. The books are mainly in one area too. The bonus of this is that when you do this you start to see how much you actually have. Recently I worked with a mother doing some simplicity coaching in her home and what’s cool about doing this with someone you trust is that they can help you see where you are holding onto things for reasons that aren’t actually aligned with YOU! She held something up to me and I asked, “do you use it, do you love it?”. “In a pinch it would be helpful. If I was desperate I would wear it.” That’s when I could lovingly ask, “And tell me, is that how you would like to live? In a pinch …desperate? …” We both had laugh attacks right there and she had a mindset shift that connected her to what she does actually want in her home and in her life. I have hired professional organizers in the past for just the reason that they help me to see the bigger picture and make decisions based on what I actually want in and for my life right now - the decluttering is funner and goes quicker! (-: (Contact me if you want a couple hours of help - I am enjoying doing a couple 2-3 hour simplicity coaching/decluttering sessions a month in clients home - so fun and productive and liberating … immediate energy boost for everyone and practical way to decrease stress!
Getting rid of presents or art from the kids or heirlooms. Yikes … this can be tricky except if you have this mantra in your pocket: “It’s the thought not the thing.” I love this for so many reasons. One reason is it brings awareness to what giving and receiving gifts is even about. It’s the intention to share a connection, a moment of kindness, an acknowledgment that we mean something to the giver. It’s this moment that is the most precious thing —- in our busy culture it’s actually a moment that is still quite sacred - that giving and receiving moment is special and most people (giver and receiver) are usually quite ‘present’ for the present exchange. Learning this has made it way more easy for me to let things go that are not sparking joy for me or needed by me. The additional benefit is that I really enjoy the moment of receiving a gift and all the good intentions that come with it way more.
‘Three surfaces clear’ strategy. Hello! Game changer.This little joyful, peaceful home hack is priceless. It means that I commit to having three surfaces clear … clutter free … well free of everything actually. I have chosen my bed, our long narrow breakfast table and the top of the dog’s kennel. If they are cluttered it takes me less than 5 minutes to move the stuff to another shelf or depending on how much is there to where the stuff lives. This is doable and will let you breathe even when the rest of the house has seemed to fall apart … please try this, we have to set realistic goals and this is a way to feel peace no matter what the state of your home. (-:
Getting stuck on making decisions on keeping/letting go of little things. Cure: Nowadays my go-to is to check in to see if it sparks joy for me but in the past when I was on the fence with an item I’d ask “if I get rid of this can I replace it for less than $20 in 20 minutes?” That helped me let go.
My soul sistah, intuitive life coach and Feng Shui Master, LeighAnn Betts in her 30 Day Online Declutter Your Life Course told us that even from a Feng Shui Energy flow point of view having one junk drawer is a-ok … just thought you’d like to know that fun fact.
I realize I could go on and on with tips in this area! I was not born perceiving things as being messy. I do appreciate beauty though and loved cleaning my dad’s messy garage and my friend’s rooms as a kid but the day to day “put your own stuff away when you are done” habits never stuck to me. It has been a journey of much learning keeping my place organized and tidy and filled with things I love. Now I have habits in place and get to feel the light feeling of being in my cozy home and able to find things within 30 seconds (most of the time!). I have come to create systems that are manageable and intuitive for me and know that even if the house has gotten temporarily out of hand (which it definitely does get at times!) things have places they live and there are at least 3 totally clear areas in the house that I can go to to let my eyes and mind empty and reset …
I hope some of these ideas helped and please pick up Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne and Marie Condo’s The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up —- two of my favourite books on this topic. If you haven’t seen any of Marie’s Netflix episodes please check them out. Children - especially under the age of 7 - are very affected by whatever is in their environment. Decluttering and simplifying affects their space and our state of mind and level of joy and peace and clarity … it’s worth making this a priority and please reach out if you would like some support in the process. xo, Dr. Monika
“Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne is one of my most bookmarked, underlined books of all time. A true keeper! Whether you are beginning the journey of mamahood or you're somewhere along in the trenches this will be a refreshing, inspiring read that you come back to time and again.” Mama of 6