Kids and Clutter

Clutter and Kids: Finding the Balance

People say that how we spend our time and our money reflects what we value. Looking around my house, I’m confused.  In my head, I value my faith and my family. But from the looks of my living room floor this very minute, it seems like I value gym bags and tennis shoes, blankets and toys. Pretty soon, I will spent most of the evening putting away all of this stuff. Sometimes I feel like my titles of nurturer and leader are being overtaken by my role as clutter manager.

I like to blame all this clutter on my kids. But they didn’t ask for much of it; they use probably half of it; and they would miss exactly none of it. They may have a lot of stuff, but the clutter problem is mine. But this problem affects them.

So very much!

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Kids and Clutter

Clutter Hurts our Families

Clutter:

  • Decreases the ability to focus. I wonder if this explains why I often walk into a room and have no idea why I went there.
  • Produces sensory overload. Have you ever watched a child try to play when there are way too many toys out? They flit from one thing to the next, without actually playing.
  • Increases the Mom’s stress hormones, causing everyone else to feel more stressed! When mama ain’t happy…
  • Takes time away from playing with our children to constantly clean up.
  • Negatively impacts a child’s ability to learn.
  • Places value on material things.

Finding the Balance

My kids keep growing (everyday I’m thankful for that!) and they keep needing new things. Bigger clothes, more interesting books, and yes, even those dreaded toys. I’m not aiming for minimalism, I’m aiming for balance. We’ve been fighting this battle for awhile now, and I finally feel like we’re winning. More than the physical process of getting rid of things, this requires a heart change. I needed to examine what messages I’ve been getting that told me my children needed certain toys, or that my wardrobe needed an update every couple of months. Less stuff is coming into my house, so less is piling up.

I think the next steps will be the hardest. The first layer of stuff peeled off pretty painlessly, but the deeper we get into the emotional layers- the sweet little baby clothes and the letters from students I taught eight years ago- the more difficult it will be.

But when I think of how this affects my family, my motivation skyrockets and my pursuit of balance continues.

Kids and Clutter

 

A Little Extra Motivation for your Clutter Fight

If you need a little more motivation, here are some good resources:

The Minimalists Podcast– Episode 80 is about how minimalism fits into family life.

Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things (you can see it on Netflix)

Unstuffed: Decluttering Your Home, Mind, and Soul (there’s a Kindle edition!)

 

What’s your take on clutter?  What do you do to cut back on it?

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