Most of my clients are women - moms - who feel stuck, stressed, and overwhelmed. The idea of ‘having it all’ sounds great but all too often it also means having all the cleaning, all the cooking, all the scheduling appointments, all the organizing kids’ activities, and oh yeah - let’s not forget working. Decluttering may not be the ‘life-changing magic’ solution to drowning in overwhelm but there are a few things you can declutter to make a real difference in your life.
First walk through your home and notice the things that give you a little kick of negativity. That jacket you hate but keep because it was a gift? The dishes you’re saving out of mother-induced guilt? Take a deep breath - and let it go. If you’re thinking, “But April – what if my mother-in-law asks where’s that ____ she gave me?”. Are you ok with giving up space for something that makes you feel bad every time you look at it? If so, carry on. If not – get ready to get real; tell people you’re trying to clear space, that something isn’t your style anymore – even better, ask them “Why do you ask?”. Start devoting your space to things that make you feel good.
Speaking of devoting your space, do you have a second wardrobe of aspirational ‘skinny clothes’? Box ‘em up and store them in the garage. Better yet, donate them, and if you lose weight reward yourself with clothes that rock the new you. Clinging to the past means you’re not living in the present; let that stuff go and embrace who you really are.
And while we’re time travelling, let’s stop fearing the future. Anything you’re keeping ‘just in case’ falls into this category. Ask yourself just how likely is ‘just in case’? How dire will it really be if your stuff is gone if ‘just in case’ happens? Let’s face it, your kid isn’t Picasso – keeping every piece of art “just in case” they want it someday is burdening them and you! It’s time to live in the now.
And now that we’re in the present, declutter obligations. Busy is not a badge of honour. You’re not a bad mom if your kid is not in every activity imaginable. You don’t need to volunteer for every committee at work. Repeat after me – “No, thank you”. Declutter your schedule and reclaim time for simply living.
Finally – get ready for some in your face life advice. It’s time to declutter the idea of being a martyr. Is there really one right way to wash the car or sort the recycling? Do you really have to be the family CEO micromanaging everything? I’m a hard-core believer in the roommate approach – your kids and spouse need to be good roommates. This means sharing the load, on everything from cleaning the toilet to picking up their stuff. Shared space = shared responsibility. Stop taking it all on yourself, and rinse the bitter taste of resentment from your mouth!
Women always seem to be last on their own list. Try making yourself a priority by decluttering the things that drag you down. And while you’re at it, stir up some good karma – donate your decluttered items to a local charity or women’s center, and use it to lift another woman up.