My house feels overwhelming today. Laundry, dog hair, toys, piles in the garage, piles on the desk, piles, piles, piles. Our house is teeming with life. Swarming. I am aware of the wonderfulness of it and I am grateful, but I still feel like I can’t get my head above water.
The rooms in our house haven’t all been clean at the same time in about 5 years. There are plenty of reasons for this; we have little kids, I’m tired, our dog sheds wildly, my husband is in grad school, I’d rather play, I start projects that I don’t finish (I am an ENFP), I’m writing this instead, etc, etc, etc. I enjoy cleaning and I seem to do it non-stop, but nothing stays clean and there’s never enough time to complete any task. The water always seems to be rising. I recently found a jury summons in a pile of papers that was for October. I forgot.
So, I’m inspired because spring is here and I don’t want to drown in my stuff. Something about spring motivates me to dig through every drawer and closet to purge, organize and simplify. I want it off my shoulders so I can go to the beach and be carefree. Here are a few systems that are working for me right now:
When my space is in order, my brain and my heart follow suit. Clutter makes me inefficient. Moving piles, stepping around loads, digging to find things and dusting around trinkets is time consuming. Getting rid of things is therapeutic because too much stuff feels heavy and can ultimately steal away what I really value. A golden thread in my day can be as simple as finding the hammer when I need it- exactly where it belongs.
If it’s not beautiful, functional or very sentimental- you don’t need it.
Remind yourself of this as you do your spring cleaning. It’s relative because we each decide for ourselves what is beautiful, functional and sentimental, but using this filter makes us more intentional about our stuff.
Why beautiful? There are plenty of unnecessary things that bring color and form and life to a space. A house void of personal and lovely things isn’t where people want to hang out. A healthy amount of stuff can help create a warm and inviting home. Artwork, interesting fabrics, great paint colors, GOOD lighting.
What’s functional? I have more vases than is normal. I often have cut flowers in the house and I want the best shape for each scenario. They take up a lot of shelf space, but fresh flowers arranged well are a source of joy for me and therefore my many vases are functional. Do I need 50 mugs? Not unless I have big coffee parties regularly. Hmm, that sounds pretty fun.
How about sentimental? I wanted to save all of my mom’s clothes, but over the years I have sifted through them. It has taken a few rounds and lots of tears, but I chose to keep her dress that I wore to her memorial service and a bright yellow hoodie I bought her for Christmas the year she passed away. Things that remind me of her beauty and warmth.
When I choose carefully what to keep in my home, my things take up less space, require less maintenance and ultimately become more meaningful.
I have about 100 more areas of the house to tackle so I’m going to make April a spring cleaning month. Share some ideas that are working for you in the comments and wish me luck!