Well, this is obviously not the article I promised last week! However, I was simply too tired to write it. These past few weeks I’ve been decluttering different portions of our house, and this has sucked up all my energy. However, I think I can still offer you something useful despite the change of plans (and being a day late, too).
Let’s talk about organizing and decluttering.
I LOVE to organize! If I had tons of time and lots of energy, my house would be speck-free and neat as a pin. Yet, real life is a different story. With a range of different kids’ ages, there is also a range of different levels of maturity and responsibility. I am actively training my children to pick up after themselves, but it is a work in progress and one that requires more supervision than I am able to provide while pregnant and exhausted. So, we do our best.
One thing I’ve realized is that the less stuff we have, the less energy we have to expend to keep it clean and neat. And especially in a small, double-wide manufactured home, it is critical to make sure our belongings don’t crowd us out! So every now and then, I tackle a section of our house at a time and get rid of all the things we don’t need (or almost all). Then, I donate them to Goodwill, or toss them in the dumpster if they don’t seem in good enough condition for resell. I don’t do e-bay or Craigslist; it already takes so much effort to organize everything that I have no patience left and just want all the “junk” to be gone . . . right away!
Sections of the house I organized over the past few weeks:
-I put the kids’ school papers into labeled files in a filing cabinet that someone gave us. All their paper work since we started homeschooling is now organized and easy to find. (Is it just me, or are there other homeschooling moms who want to have “proof” that they have truly been teaching their children every day and not just sitting around doing nothing, if for some reason the government has an issue?) They also have a spot to file away papers they finish every day, so we don’t have piles of papers drifting around.
-I got rid of a ton of toys (don’t tell anybody). We have a white metal four-shelf unit that I use to store their toys. If it doesn’t fit on the shelves, it has to go. I always feel rather cruel when it comes to this, but honesty, after this round of toy purging none of the kids ever asked where their other toys went. So, either they are finally getting used to my organizing ways, or they didn’t notice those particular toys were gone because they didn’t care about them anyways.
-I went through our “linen closet,” i.e. the only other (semi) full-sized closet in our entire house, which is in the boys’ room (the other one is in my bedroom). We do have a small closet in the hallway which I use for towels, washcloths, and rugs; but, the one I’m talking about contains our sheets and curtains (with blankets in plastic tubs under the boys’ bed). I decided that we only need two sets of sheets per bed, and I kept an extra set for our pull-out sofa bed. I also parted ways with several curtains and small blankets.
-And just this week, I sorted through our living room entertainment center/bookshelf with a fine-toothed comb. We sent so many books, videos, and CDs to Goodwill! It really is amazing that even after letting go of so much, our shelves are mostly still full! How does that happen? I’ll tell you how — it’s the secret of the clutter: when we have too much of it, we tend to cram it wherever it will fit, even though it doesn’t really fit. So, when we only have our shelves filled to normal capacity, there doesn’t always seem to be that much of a difference because of how ingenious we had been in shoving everything into corners. But still, despite that, I have noticed a refreshing transformation: the shelves no longer appear like a cardboard box bursting at the seams . . . and I have room for new books. 🙂
That, then, explains why I was way too tired to type up a proper post (thank you for your continued patience!). Decluttering is both exciting — and exhausting! But, in the end, it is all worth it. If only it wouldn’t keep on building up; it does seem to have a way of doing that, doesn’t it?
What tips would you like to share for keeping an organized house? I would love to hear them! And I’m sure that so would everybody else!