I was reading an article this morning on how reducing clutter and becoming minimalist helped the writer be less busy and depressed.
And I get that.
In my late twenties, I went through a period like that. I was single, so I didn’t necessarily have the “family” clutter like paper, mail, toys, etc. At the time, I was just a cluttery person in general, and had a cluttery decorating style…that shabby sheek (i.e. have antique junk around everywhere). I decided to sell my house and my realtor helped me “normalize” my house! Haha! We moved almost half of my possessions into my garage…mostly extra furniture and knick-knacks.
At first, it felt like my house wasn’t mine. The “personality” was gone. I think that is how we think of our “decor”. But after about a month of not selling my house, I was actually living in that space, and I liked it.
I never turned back. It was life-changing actually. Not only did the living feel better, I stopped spending money on every little object that I could set around my house.
Today I don’t consider myself to have a cluttered decor. Most people would think I could use a little more decor for my rooms to look complete. I just go with less so that I don’t get into that “overboard” place I was in before.
But, what got me about the article I read today, is the whole “family clutter” thing. That has always been an issue for me. About 3 years back, I made an effort to change my habits of leaving things around and not caring. And I like it.
But my kids…they are not there. Lol. I sure wasn’t as a kid. Or as a young adult. And even now I still have issues. But I guess what I am saying is, that when I read this article about being more minimalist, I feel like I have done my part, and that I am fighting the battle of child clutter. This writer’s solution is to get rid of stuff…get rid of more possessions. And while I remember that being good for me in my twenties, here is what I think when I consider it now:
When I think about getting rid of stuff that creates clutter, I just think about getting rid of all the kid’s stuff.
There. That’s the issue. And, I don’t feel like I should make them get rid of their stuff. Do they have too much? Yes. They do. Do we have organized spaces for all their stuff? Yes. We do. So then I think…getting rid of their stuff will be sad for them and only reduce clutter because of volume, not because they learned something.
When do we learn to put things away?
Sure, I got rid of so much stuff in my twenties. But you know, I still had a clutter problem. It was the problem of not putting stuff back where it belongs, and letting it sit somewhere more convenient. And then letting it sit there for longer than it should.
That is the problem that I’ve been working to overcome for the past 3 years. And as I overcome it, I am bothered more by the people around me who want to make my job harder…the kids. While I am a “recovered” clutter-a-holic, they have no such motivations.
So, today, after reading this article, I am going to resist the urge to do the easy thing…go through their stuff and get rid of things they still want. And, realize that I need to work harder at the teaching. Not that they are going to learn this lesson any sooner than I did. But I guess I need to find ways to help them “pick up”. And also not be so irritated that they are exactly the same as I was. Let them live.
One thing I have learned with my son who is 11. I have never been a “clean up every day” or even “put away one thing before you get out another” mom. I have been known to let the playroom go for a few weeks. But in the last 3 years, I have done better at maintaining. I have him pick up some, and sometimes I just do it. I keep his spaces nice for him. It is not that I let him tear the place up and then I clean it all up. It is just the small things.
And here is what happened: He liked it. I think we got to a point where he likes his spaces nice, and I find that he keeps them up better than ever. It is like I taught him, not by pushing him, but by him loving the “feeling” of things being picked up. Interesting. It is how it happened to me too.
I think…this is how the Holy Spirit helps us. He is our “help”. Like me, the mom…he helps with the maintenance. He guides, gives us strength, helps us clean up when we mess up. But he doesn’t force it. He’s not giving us a cleaning schedule each day and nagging us to clean up every bit.
He’s making it feel good to be clean. Our hearts. He gives us those glimpses of our life living fully for Jesus. He shows us. He holds our hands. We have to LIKE IT. We have to like clean. We have to discover the joys of living our life how God wants us to live…not be nagged into submission.
I love God’s gentleness and patience.
I’m working on my daughter’s closet. I’ll let you know how that turns out.