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Have you ever opened a magazine and thought, ‘wow, that kitchen looks like mine!’ Yeah. Me neither. The countertops are spotless and there is no clutter. Well, except for that bowl of fake fruit on the massive island. There are no tiny handprints everywhere or piles of dishes in the sink, just a clean kitchen. How is that even possible? The only explanation is that it’s staged. No kitchen can look like that all the time, right?
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The truth is, 99% of families don’t have an immaculate home every single day. It’s not feasible. We live in our homes, so there will always be dishes and laundry and toys. You’ll never see a picture of my house in a pinterest perfect state two days in a row. Never. But what you will find is that our house is consistently tidy.
Tidy doesn’t mean clean, even though sometimes I wish it did. To me, tidy means there’s a place for everything and everything in it’s place. I’ve always been tidy. Ask my college roommates or my sisters, I was pretty particular, and not always in a good way. Here’s the thing, you can be tidy and still have lots of clutter. Yep. That’s how our house used to be, lots of organized and aesthetically pleasing clutter.
After I had kids, the clutter tripled overnight and it was making me so anxious! I felt claustrophobic in my own home. Then I found the book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up (affiliate) by Marie Kondo. It completely revolutionized what I thought tidy meant. I didn’t exactly follow what she wrote by the letter, but I did implement several of the strategies.
I got rid of stuff; a lot of stuff. Most of which I never even used anymore! Those boxes of clothes that I fit into in college? Gone. The drawer of tiny hotel shampoos I had collected? Gone. Getting rid of stuff we didn’t need or use was making a huge impact! I was able to reorganize all the stuff that we did use. I had space to put everything in cabinets, drawers, and closets because they were empty. Getting rid of the stuff we didn’t need or use anymore gave me space to put the stuff we did use. My countertops finally had that uncluttered look you see in all the magazines!
I’m not talking about minimalism. I’m not suggesting you get rid of so much stuff that you have nothing left. What I am suggesting, is to get rid of the things you haven’t used in over a year. If it’s gear that would be expensive to replace should you need it again, keep it. But all the too small clothes and hotel toiletries, those can go. You’ll find that getting rid of the excess also gets rid of your clutter.
Once that clutter is gone, you’ll be shocked how much better you feel. You’ll feel less overwhelmed and less anxious. I was completely amazed at the mental shift that took place once I had less clutter. How you feel at home is important. Who wants to feel overwhelmed and anxious by the all the piles of stuff? Not me.
When you have less it takes less time to tidy and it’s also easier to maintain because everything has a place. I used to give up cleaning because all I was doing was putting things away. I wasn’t actually cleaning. Now that we have less stuff, it actually gets put away at the end of every day. So when it comes time to clean, the tidying is done and I can focus on dusting, doing the dishes, or vacuuming.
We don’t actually need lots of stuff. Sure, some things are nice to have, but we don’t actually need a closet packed with clothes, an overstuffed playroom, or kitchen counters covered in things we don’t use. In fact, having less crap has improved my quality of life. I’m able to spend less time cleaning which makes me feel less overwhelmed and anxious. All that from taking a few bags of stuff to the thrift store and rearranging all the things I wanted to keep. Amazing!
How do you think having less stuff could impact you?
Chrissie Riese, MS, ATC is a nationally certified and licensed healthcare professional, special needs mom, and a self-proclaimed badass.
She shares her evidence-based insight on child health and safety at Joy Through Chaos where she strives to find the balance between medical jargon and realistic, actionable advice.
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