What I’ve Learned as I Tidy My House

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While my hubby was deployed this year, I was honestly really struggling. Being essentially ‘stuck’ in my house all winter with two small children so soon postpartum was taking its toll on my mental health. I was trying my hardest to “keep my chin up” and plan fun things for the girls, and for myself. But my home was slowly becoming more and more cluttered. Things didn’t always get put away where they belonged, piles of toys and craft scraps piled up. Most nights I just shut the play room door and left the disaster for another day. And I knew that one little tidy wasn’t going to make the impact I needed and wanted in my home. It needed an overhaul. And so, I did a little research and came across rave reviews about Marie Kondo’s “the life-changing magic of tidying up” or the ‘KonMari’ method. I bought the book and finished in in just a couple days. And the bug had bitten me! I started to KM everything.

My clothes/closet/dresser got purged and reorganized. (I stayed up until 2am after putting the kids to bed and did it in one night. What was I thinking?!) One by one I gutted the girls’ rooms and reorganized everything there too. I left Kevin’s clothes alone (aside from a little rearranging in the closet). I did all the kitchen linen and then I took on our main bathroom and then I realized that reorganizing an entire house is not a one person job. Nor is maintaining it. I needed to give myself some grace, and I needed some time. I needed help.

So after a six month deployment when Kevin finally came home, even though we now had to incorporate all of his “stuff” into our day-to-day life, I had one mission on my mind. I needed to overhaul the whole kitchen. I was sure that if I could just clean my kitchen – and get rid of all the years’ worth of stuff – then I’d feel better. And honestly? I did feel better. Happier. Lighter. I actually wanted to empty my dishwasher.

At this point, we have maintained the girl’s rooms, and the bathroom – separate posts to come! We have also managed to keep the kitchen in stellar shape, actually it may have even gotten MORE organized since the ‘big clean’. We have also recently organized the entire laundry, downstairs bath, and playroom. And the family room. Honestly, it’s just closets left! We tackled one today –

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One of the things that I noticed both the book and most minimalist-esque resources preach constantly is that we need to donate/throw away most of our things in order to have a truly organized space (that is maintainable). I disagree. I mean, sure, I have thrown away and donated a LOT of ‘stuff’ throughout this whole process. But only things we didn’t use or didn’t need. I still have bins and cupboards and boxes full of hand-me-downs for Chloe and shoes in Emmy’s closet that are probably two-years-too-big and a whole trunk in the family room with albums and boxes FULL of photos. Actual photos.

I know that when I look around my house, now, and see everything in its place and tidy, that my overall anxiety is lessened and I feel more at peace. BUT stressing over following the “right order” for the KonMari method or purging every possible thing that could cause clutter just because a book says to? No thanks. I’m going to keep things if they’re sentimental, because I can. I’m going to keep things that I might one day use, because I’m not rich and I don’t like to buy things twice. But I’ll find a place for every little thing.

And do all my glass jars in my kitchen match? Nope. Do I have those pretty wire Pinterest baskets in my linen closet? Nope. Do I wish I had a big budget to go out and get the organizers and matching everything and make each drawer, nook, and cranny look IG-worthy? I mean, I wish but no – it’s not necessary.

There is a junk drawer in my kitchen AND in my entryway. And in my dresser. I’ll get to them eventually and then they’ll end up messy and hard to open and find anything, again. That’s okay. That’s life.

There are going to be posts coming at you soon with before/during/afters of some of the spaces in our home. Please remember that a lot of what we own we have collected over time. Waited to buy until we could afford to. Financed. Paid for with credit. None of the organized spaces in our house are perfect, nor am I claiming them to be.

My home is my safe space, the place where my family lives and learns and loves. The house that hold my things, however many of them. Kevin’s OCD and my own peace of mind loves the work we’ve done at organizing and purging our belongings. If we are happy here, then that’s all that matters. Minimalism be damned. Junk drawers and all.

Because the single most important thing I’ve learned while tidying and organizing my home is this – it is my home.

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