Housekeeping #4: Have less stuff

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In our house, each child has a box in the IKEA Kallax shelving that is dedicated to their treasures. When the box is full, they can go through their treasures and rearrange or reduce to make room for more.

But apart from these personal spaces, the rest of the inside is pretty much my responsibility.

That’s a lot of stuff. And it is easier to keep track of less stuff.

So let’s talk decluttering.

A friend’s sister transformed from hoarder to free spirit by following Marie Kondo’s Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. To summarize: take everything in your house in a category (all spatulas), pick up each one of them, one by one, and ask, “Do I love this?”

If not, let it go.

The key is to hold the item and actually think about it for a moment. Keep what you like. Release the rest.

This precise method stressed me out. But I found that if I took everything out of a single drawer, and asked about each item, “Is this useful? Do I think it is beautiful?” that was clarifying. Because I don’t “love” all my rubber scrapers, but I do use them all, and I am glad they are in my life.

When I looked at the children’s play things, there were games that I would not dream of giving away, because they are used and loved. But there were games and toys that I don’t remember the boys playing with in the last six months. Those I boxed up and moved to the shed. If no one asks about them in six months . . . away they go.

The single best line on decluttering that I heard was this: “If you wonder if you could get rid of something, you probably can.”

Because I don’t wonder if I should get rid of my wedding ring, or my stockpot, or my plates. I use them all. I don’t even wonder if I should get rid of them—of course not!

For me, this was clarifying. If I wonder if I could let it go, I usually did.

It took me several months go go through my house, working on a drawer or shelf per day. Or even a small section of a drawer.

This is not a quick fix. My sister and I did her whole house together one week, and we figured it was a solid 40 hours. Most likely, you don’t have 40 hours in a week to spend decluttering.

But you maybe could do 15 minutes a day for the foreseeable future.

And once you start decluttering, clean-up goes much, much faster.

Not that you need one more thing to do. But you might find, as I did, that the mental space gained by less possessions actually energized me and made me more efficient the rest of the day.

Spend 15 minutes decluttering, and get the equivalent boost of 15 minutes. If you have the mental and emotional space, I’d commend this to you.

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Amy's pic

Amy Lykosh
John and Sarita's oldest daughter
Second-generation Sonlighter
Homeschooling mom to five

Sonlight Curriculum

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  1. Pingback: Housekeeping #3: The 80/20 Rule and Housework | Sonlight Homeschooling Blog