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Posts Tagged ‘peace’

by Michelle Kaelin of Peas Out Mama Blog

Television is riddled with home organization programming. It seems to have started small and worked its way up to shows about hoarding, which I can barely stand to watch. You see, I have the opposite problem. It’s true. I’m a clutter-phobe. There. I feel better now.

Clutter makes me feel cluttered, claustrophobic even. But allow me to clarify: This is only true in my own house. Other people’s clutter doesn’t bug me at all. Call me obsessive-compulsive or call me minimalist, but I just don’t like a lot of stuff around me. I have to add, however, that it helps that I’m not someone who gets too attached to things. (See below.)

My best friend and I half-joke that it turned out to be a good thing we never lived together in college. We’d planned to room together sophomore year, but when she decided to transfer, that plan fell through. And good thing it did. Little did I know that she has trouble getting rid of things, and in her case, those things don’t exactly sit all organized on shelves. So yes, a college roommate situation would’ve doomed our friendship forever, but I’m happy to say that, ahem, eighteen years later, she’s my bestie.

Many people comment on the lack of clutter in my house and go so far as to invite me to their homes to help clear some space. (Interestingly, no one has taken me up on this. I think they’re afraid of me!) In that spirit, however, I’m offering my best tips to clear the chaos.

Start small. Choose one problem issue at a time. If you set your sights too big, you’re apt to get overwhelmed and set yourself up for failure. Let’s talk about…toys.

Take a deep breath ’cause this might hurt a little. As you sort through your child’s (or children’s) toys, consider what they need versus what you want them to have. What toys does your child need to challenge her educationally or developmentally? Which does she need because she adores them? Then consider those you’re hanging on to because you’d like your child to have or want them. Which ones seemed like a good idea at first but never lived up to your little one’s high standards? Be tough. Be strong. You can do this. Has your child outgrown a specific toy? Did that cloth ball you bought fail to intrigue? (I’m speaking from experience on that one!) Are you hanging on to certain items for your own sentimental reasons? Is your child’s first luvie literally holding on by a thread?

Once you go through the sorting process, take a good look at the “want” pile. Here’s where you need to do your scaling back. If your child really plays with and enjoys all ten of his stuffed animals, keep them. But if he only plays with seven, what are the other three doing hanging around? I know, I know. Grandma gave him one, aunt so-and-so gave him another, and he just loved the other for three whole weeks (two years ago, but hey, he might fall in love again), so you feel you really must keep them “just in case.” Stop the madness. You have options.

If you’re really hesitant, consider stashing the toys in question away for a week. See if you, I mean, your child, really misses them. If not, there’s your answer. Consider taking photos of items before parting with them. (They’ll be more interesting if your child is in the photo, too). Technology makes this even simpler. Keep a photo file on your computer and look at those long-lost toys whenever you wish (or when your little peanut is old enough, share the memories). Remember that when you give an item away, especially a toy or other children’s item, you’re giving it a new life in a new home. Whether you decide to donate to a charity, pass it along to a friend, sell it yourself, or consign it (you know, like at the MoCo Consignment Event on May 15th), your item brings a little happy to someone else’s life. And a little serenity to yours.

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