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Maybe you’ve read articles and books that have convinced you that having less than you own has sense. Or maybe you yourself noticed that the current state of home and things cause stress in you and bad mood. And you would like to have this harbor, an oasis of peace or a royal palace. You are ready to roll up your sleeves and transform your home, your mind, and your life. You are planning a Great Decluttering of Everything. But life goes on, as usual, other things don’t disappear. How to find time to declutter and minimize your possessions?
I will tell you that I myself was very wise in this subject … Before the kids. Then there was time to review the same drawers and shelves every now and then. There was an opportunity to focus to make the best decisions. There was time to describe, and then pack and take unnecessary items to the post office.
And now, today, with family, with kids at home? And even earlier, only with the Husband, but having our own business, when there is always something important to do? How to find time to declutter if your life is busy and your schedule’s full?
You are planning to do a Great Decluttering of Everything the next day. You have a vision. Or maybe you are a realist, you believe in small steps and the strength of the habit, so you plan to deal with one specific shelf the next day. You are equipped with enthusiasm and consistency.
Well, the next day you come back with the kids from the walk, well this is supposed to be a relief – maybe a more free moment. Of course, when you have taken off the outdoor clothes, put them away, washed three pairs of hands, given food. It was supposed to be free time if there were no bad moods of kids, but you’ve just noticed that the washing machine finishes washing. And the previous washed clothes, already dry, are still hanging. Take them off and hang the other. Oh, vacuum this entrance of the dirt from outside, so that it doesn’t go into the whole apartment. Help with little blocks, tie a tube, someone wants to poop, and actually it would be appropriate to start preparing dinner. Life.
So how to find time to declutter, review, minimize and organize items at your home? How to use time so that looking through every item at home becomes a reality or even a thing of the past?
I see three solutions suitable for different life-family-time-out situations.
How to find time to declutter even if you’re a stay at home mom of little kids?
But let’s start with the fact that it would be best to first write a plan of reviewing things, i.e. listing all shelves / drawers / flat spaces of your home. The Marie Kondo method, which involves throwing everything (everything!) into the middle of one room and immediately reviewing it all – this sounds cool. But when you are not Tim Ferris or another old bachelor with self-inflowing income and a free schedule, or at least a free weekend, but the Life touches you in all its manifestations… Be realistic. Because you either won’t do it at once, or you’ll exhaust yourself with it, you’ll get there and for the next three days, your kids will not have a mother.
Only on such a list, you’ll see how much work is ahead of you, and it will be easy to mark what has already been done.
Marie Kondo reasonably argues why throwing all things from a given category (and there are only 5 of them!) into the middle of the room and their immediate review is the best way to pick out unnecessary items. But let’s face it: if you’ve never sharply minimized your possessions before, you have a family, limited time and energy, it’s better to do everything gently, in small steps, i.e. following places (cabinets, drawers, countertops), no matter how imperfect it would be. You’ll get the effect anyway. And then, having less, you can go crazy further, even with Marie’s method.
So now you have a list of places to browse. Now I see three options:
1 | You do a lot on your free days.
If you have the opportunity to be alone at home (or at least without little kids) sometimes for the whole day or at least half a day, arrange with yourself and your loved ones that on these days you do the decluttering. Let the household members do not plan other tasks for you during this time and do not expect a homemade cake.
You review the next places, ticking off what you have done. You are waiting for another free day to declutter and tick off until you have all your spaces reviewed and minimized.
2 | You do little on non-free days.
One or two places a day can be somehow put between Life. Though again, do not plan homemade cake or sewing curtains.
3 | You do as much as possible on non-free days.
The day has only so many hours. Time isn’t stretchable and there are no miracles in this subject. If normally you fill your whole day with everyday activities, then to review the whole house and think about the sense of having every item, you will have to give up other activities for a while. Just like in the first two points. On a free day, you will not read a book, but you will declutter. Or on a non-free day, you give up a baking cake or sitting down to drink hot coffee to declutter. This is the true answer to how to find time to declutter: sometimes you have to give up something else.
The third option is to review despite the Life that goes on and requires. Every day you do your Great Decluttering of Everything from the morning until you get tired while simplifying your life as much as possible, to the extent that you only carry out absolutely necessary activities in the absolutely minimal form. You feed your kids, but you don’t marvel at it, you don’t even cook a homemade dinner. You do not do the laundry, do not fold the dry laundry (unless you have to declutter the clothes, then remember about this mountain), you do not disassemble the Christmas tree, you allow your kids more (more independence too). You know, such a post-party landscape or renovation-in-progress: in freshly stained clothes, garbage on the side, reheated pizza, crumbs politely lying on the floor, children doing e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g.
Ah, if you choose this version, prepare your husband mentally for it 😉 Highlighting the benefits of minimalism.
I admit that I need to go through this decluttering process again. This article is created as a result of my own tackling the topic of how to find time to declutter inside the constantly demanding adventure named Life. Due to my excessive love for my free half-days (because I am with our 5- and 3-year-olds around the clock every day), option 1 is not attractive to me. And because a review of things which are not only mine requires from me… far-reaching use of the brain and mind, and thus focus, option 3, with the tempting pizza, is also not for me. One or two cupboards a day in my today’s personality and the family landscape seem to be the most realistic.
Are you trying?