When the New Year started, I was already in my fourth or fifth purge since we bought our current home in the Summer of 2017. I felt like we had already shed ourselves of anything that was extra. We had been on a simplicity journey for quite a few years, or so we thought. Then we made a 730 mile move into the biggest house we’ve owned. Then our adult children and their spouses moved with a few block radius of us. One couple moved at the same time we did and one couple followed about fourteen months later. We are home central, or “the sanctuary” as we have dubbed it. We have stored people, objects, furniture, pets, mementos, and extras of every kind as each of our “bigs” have settled into their own home. We need organized spaces, the ability to accommodate a large family and visitors, and we need to be able to store food for a pantry we can shop from.
We are down to “just the four of us” and the aftermath meant a lot of clutter. I will never be able to proclaim minimalist status, but I’m becoming pretty good at simplicity. I think I have shown that in the way we manage our grocery shopping, our schedules and calendars, our homeschool, and how we live our day to day lives. We are constantly at work, trying to streamline the way we do things. It’s important for us to make time for each other, our children, and our extended family and friends. We never wanted to be stuck working more hours than not. Organized, simple spaces make our lives easier. I feel like we can concentrate on the important stuff, when thoughts of cleaning and organizing aren’t life consuming. We thrive in a clutter-free, clean home.
For each space I declutter, I need to decide if an item is a keep, donate, or trash/recycle. A lot of our excess is of good quality, donation status. I don’t like to just throw stuff away. I don’t like selling things when I know someone else can use them. I also don’t like to donate complete junk. After weeding through the space, I also cleaned and sanitized. I have a laundry basked in an upstairs hall closet that is a “catch all” for our donation items. I like things out of sight but I also like to remember to donate weekly. Our favorite local donation sight drive-through is close to the Aldi where I do most of my grocery shopping. So, it works for us to run two errands in one trip. I bag up our donations and my husband drags them out to the back of our little SUV.
When decluttering our physical spaces, I also keep this in mind: don’t create so many spaces to declutter. We keep all of our “command center” stuff in one location. It holds our weekly menu chalk board, our write on/wipe off monthly calendar, our paper calendar, and our incoming and save bins for mail and other paperwork. It’s one area and one quick weed through every month when I clear the calendar.
When cleaning our physical spaces, I have daily, weekly, bi-weekly, and monthly jobs. It makes things much easier as we go through the week, knowing we are on task and nothing gets away from us. Also, the kids and husband have a large part in our cleaning and household responsibilities. As a work-at-home, stay-at-home, homeschooling mom, I need all the help I can get. Thankfully, I have a husband who also thinks that household responsibilities are equal between he and I. He also helps “promote” the team mentality that I teach our children. We work hard together and we play hard together! I’d like to tell you we have a schedule or some fancy, written out list that we clean and organize from. I don’t and I won’t. I don’t have time for that. Now, in the thick of it, when we are actually working, one of us will dictate chores to kids or have them jot down what we expect of them during that housework session. We tidy as we go, keep things in order, and deep clean when we need to.