By Joan Thatiah for MumsVillage
It may seem as just physical but when it is all over your living space, clutter has significant psychological effects.
The excess visual and scent stimuli that comes with clutter will keep you from relaxing. In addition to lifting a load off your shoulders, de-cluttering allows you to see your living spaces in a fresh pair of eyes that allows you to put your personality in it. So how can you achieve an organized, clutter free life?
1. Involve the kids
For it to be sustainable, de-cluttering needs to be a lifestyle rather than occasional exercise. This means that it can only be sustainable when you involve your children in it.
Hilda Wafula a mother of three explains how she has successfully managed this, “With three children, the toys make the bulk of the clutter. When it’s time to de-clutter, I take the boys to a supermarket or toy store and tell them to choose one toy that they want. We then look at its value and they know that they have to get rid of toys that amount to the same value in order to get this new toy. Usually, after the exchange, we have space.”
THIS IS WHAT WORKS FOR THE WAFULA’S.
You can get your children on board by having them give one old item away in order to get one new one, whichever system will work best for you. If everyone is involved, the exercise becomes more sustainable and in the process you pass on important values to your children. To keep things organized, embed small tasks into your daily routine. For instance, that after taking a shoe out or putting a new one in, all shoes on the shoe rack should be neatly arranged.
2. De-clutter as you go
Children get attached to things as Soni, a mother of two found out when he moved houses a year ago and tried to get her children to give out old toys and clothes so that their new home would be more organized. “It was an uphill battle,” she says.
Now wanting to go through the fights and the crying again, the family now de-clutters more regularly, monthly if they can.
“IT’S DEFINITELY EASIER FOR THEM TO GIVE OUT ONE TOY OR PAIR OF SHOES THAN IT WAS TO GIVE OUT A BUCKETFUL.” SHE SAYS.
She also learnt not to force it. Her younger son who was four at the time had a collection of mobile phone packaging that he just wouldn’t let go off. So she let him keep the boxes and found some space for them. In less than a year, he got over it and threw them away. Your children shouldn’t have to feel like they are being punished.
“CHOOSE YOUR BATTLES,” SHE SAYS.
3. Break it down
De-cluttering the whole house all at once can be overwhelming not only for you but also for your little ones. Instead of announcing that you are de-cluttering the whole house, how about starting small, like de-cluttering one drawer a day or a particular type of toy a time?
Author Marie Kondo supports this theory in her book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying up which looks into the art of sorting and organizing things around the home based on category rather than room. You can create various categories like furniture, paperwork, possessions, and clothes. The trick to successfully using this art is making sure that you finish each task. If you were sorting clothes, do not stop until the ones that are unwanted are packed up and put away. Start with the wardrobes because these are the one space on the home that you interact with when you wake up and just before you turn in.
4. Keep mementos
The reason you still have pants in your closet that you wore three years go or your child’s cot which they haven’t used since they were three is because of the sentimental value that these items hold. There is a way of working around it. With furniture, you can recreate it so that it serves another purpose in the home while still keeping the sentiments. A cot for instance can be tweaked a bit to make a clothes storage area. Also take advantage of technology…
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