And then we had our first baby, and the stuff started coming in waves. When our baby turned into a toddler, the clothes, toys, books, and papers already threatened to overwhelm. Now that we have two little boys, I feel like I'm drowning in all of the stuff! I'm constantly stepping on or around toys, picking up, organizing. It's just too much.
It's kind of a strange problem to have, really, this need to deal with all of the stuff. In many parts of the world, an entire village could live off of the contents of our home. I thank God for the abundance we have been given, and I also recognize the need to be a better steward of it.
My favorite organizer (who is like a second mom to me!) says that disorganization is a result of delayed decisions. So I'm starting to make small decisions each day, to bring more order and peace to our home, to take control of our posessions so we can focus on more important things.
We're still in the early stages of de-cluttering and purging, but I'm already feeling like it's easier to breathe, like there is more freedom and peace in my heart.
Here are a few tips I've learned so far:
1. Think in terms of numbers, and "need" vs. "want". We have four chairs in my office. I only need one or two, and I only want two, so two of them need to go. Our kids had about eighty little cars in a bin. They really don't need 80, especially since S loves dumping all. the. things. So now the cars have been pared down to about 30 of their favorites. Thinking through this logically helps me to separate my emotional attachment to things.
3. Think in terms of beauty. Do your knick-knacks bring beauty to your home? Or are they just gathering dust and adding to clutter? Do your decorations contribute to the mood you want your home to have? Or would something else bring more joy?
4. Think about prevention. How can you keep extra "stuff" from coming in to your house? Can you say no while shopping? Keep a wish list to prevent spontaneous purchases? Ask for specific types of gifts for kids' birthdays or Christmas?
5. Think about whether someone else would enjoy the items more. Do you have friends who are just starting out in a new place? Is there a homeless shelter that could use your extra jackets, hats, boots, or mittens?
Have you gone through a season of "purging" your things? How did it impact your heart?