Tidying up seemed simple since I strive to be a minimalist. I only go shopping when I need something. I have totes and boxes to organize clothes, toys and sentimental items. I try my darnedest to find a spot for everything I bring into our house.
But, our house is still in disarray.
Maybe it’s the fact we have 2 tornadoes, err kids, under 3 and a 75 lb. dog. Maybe it’s because we both work full time and can’t possibly add organizing to our endless weekly list. Maybe it’s because we’re overwhelmed and so totally over this cliche KonMari “tidying up” fad.
Still, something had to be done. I was getting tired of things falling out of cabinets, finding broken toys and mismatched socks. I was frustrated that things were just carelessly tossed on the counter with no home.
I binge watched a season of “The Magic of Tidying Up”, scoffing at these families who managed to tidy up and organize their entire life with small kids. How can they possibly maintain it?!
I decided to start with something I could stand to purge– my closet. At first, I only had 5 things in my give away, doesn’t spark joy pile. After calculating the space in my closet (and reminding myself of hangers snapping, clothes stuffed to the brim, and never finding what I wanted), I decided to throw out a few more. By the end of 3 hours, I had 2 large totes full of clothes to donate/toss. How freeing that felt!
But, I didn’t stop there. Next on the list was miscellaneous items, which includes any- and everything from kitchen utensils and children’s toys to towels and tools). We’ve only scratched the surface there. We have a ways to go before we are no longer slaves to the mess.
My advice if you want to try “tidying up”?
1. Start small. Go through your items by category instead of by room.
2. Give yourself time. Organizing and purging doesn’t happen in a weekend.
3. Truly understand its purpose and why it sparks joy. I LOVE my collection of bags, but I know I don’t need 15 bags to feel joy. I have maybe 3-4 favorite bags and the rest are just nice to have.
4. Actually touch and go through your stuff. Empty out boxes, take out every item of clothing, don’t take shortcuts. When you see and feel items, it’s easier to decide if you are keeping it or not.
5. Have the kids help you! I know it seems counterproductive, but kids learn about tidying up and can even help you “play Tetris” as you find a place for it all.
While we still have a ways to go, 21 days makes a habit. We’ve been on this tidying up journey for close to that and now, I get excited about having closets, cabinets and drawers that have clear labels and things that make sense in them. Tidying up the kids’ rooms is easy now, because there is room for every piece of clothing and toy – and they even know where it goes when they’re done playing with it.
I am at peace. I’m so less anxious and frustrated. I can enjoy my evenings surrounded by organization and joy instead of messes and piles of who knows what.
Tidying up changed my life. Try it. What do you have to lose (except a lot of junk!)?
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