Something happened to us when we had a baby. I feel like we lived in our own little world for a year. A world filled with feeding, changing, playing, laundry, more laundry, and for me, a lot of pumping 🙂 Once Parker turned a year old, it was as if Ben and I woke up from a long sleep. Our house was cluttered and we had let a lot of our weekly cleaning go by the wayside. Parker still had no closet doors and the faucet in his bathroom was loose. We looked at each other and thought “how did we get here?”.
Obviously this is normal. We spent the year focusing on our little prince, which is how it should be. Our normally type A personalities had to take a back seat, and having an organized house was just not on our list of priorities. In a way, this was refreshing, but once I started a full time nursing program and work became it’s busiest for Ben, we knew things had to change.
You see, much of the stress I was feeling when I got home from a busy day in lab or in class had to do with the immense amount of stuff we had in our house. The toys, the too small paci’s and baby clothes, the closets that desperately needed to be cleaned out, and lets not mention our basement filled with pots and pans from 2012 when we first moved….
I have read a lot recently about living a more mindful, present, and simple life, and one of the hallmarks of this practice is getting rid of all the “stuff” you do not need, that is cluttering not only your home, but your mind as well. We went on a weeklong purge, starting from our basement and working our way up. We did this over the course of a few days, and donated and threw out SO. MUCH. STUFF. It was liberating and I feel so much lighter! I am now able to find things when I need them, and picking out an outfit to wear in the morning takes seconds because I can actually see the clothing in my closet. We also set an intention to think before we buy anything new in the future, and assess whether it will serve a purpose in our home, or add to the “clutter stress”. (Aka, does Parker need yet another sipi cup? No). A friend of mine from nursing school has a 3-year old son, and over the break she dumped out all of his little toys, they put all of the sets together, and donated them. GENIUS! Cleaning the clutter, involving your child, and teaching him about the art of giving. That is living simply and mindfully my friends!
Here are a few things we are implementing to live more simply:
- Only have a few toys out for Parker at a time, and store the rest in the basement. Every week we switch out toys and books so he does not get overwhelmed or bored, and can enjoy his toys while still getting some variation. We are also planning on sending some toys to my in-laws where Parker spends a lot of time.
- Setting aside “no-phone time” from about 5-7:30pm when we spend our time together as a family during the week. We dump our phones in a little cookie tin, and ignore them for a blissful few hours. It is AMAZING. I never realized how distracted and bothered I was by constant texts, notifications, etc. while I was trying to focus on Parker and Ben.
- “A place for everything”. Almost everything in our house has a place. I use dollar store bins, hooks, anything I can get my hands on to organize drawers and cabinets so things are put away and not sitting on counters.
- A written home maintenance list to keep us in check for things that need to be done daily, weekly, and monthly. Since we own our home, I felt it was high time I learned about changing filters, sanitizing dishwashers, and checking on expired warranties. Things always go wrong when you least expect it, so you want to be covered!
- File boxes are your friend! I get ones like these and create a folder for home, health, auto, etc. I also have a separate one to file away all of my school stuff.
This may sound overwhelming at first, but if you break it down over a few months it is so doable. Start with one drawer and you will see how light you feel. Happy organizing!