For our family, the environment we live in is one of the key components to fostering peace in our home. We spend about 90% of our time at the house, so I need it to be a place where I can feel serene and calm as often as possible.
I understand that some people feel cozy and calm in a home that is more “lived-in.” I am just not comfortable in a space filled with things. For me, visual clutter creates mental clutter. The simpler my environment, the better I am able to focus.
Marie Kondo’s book has come to be known as the clutter-clearing bible in some circles. The premise of the book is that you move through your home category by category and keep only those items that “spark joy.” While there are a few cultural nuances that aren’t my cup of tea (I don’t believe my socks to have feelings, for instance), the success of the process is undeniable.
To give you an idea of how it works, I’ll quickly outline the process using my wardrobe as an example. Several months ago, I purged my wardrobe and got rid of over half of what I owned. When I read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Marie Kondo recommended beginning the process with clothing. I almost skipped this category because I was sure I was done.
Instead, I decided to do the process as the book prescribed. I put all of my clothing out on the bed, touched each item, and kept only those that sparked joy for me. This is my entire wardrobe laid out on the bed.
I ended up still having a lot of things that I didn’t need. And considering that my wardrobe was already a pretty reasonable size, I ended up discarding a lot of things.
I’ve taken Marie Kondo’s method and applied it to the other areas in the house. I’m not completely finished, but I love how much less cluttered our home feels.
Kondo has no children herself, so I found her book to be lacking when it came to organizing and de-cluttering for my children. This is where Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne was able to fill in the gaps. (P.S. If you only have time to read one parenting book, read this one.) Specifically, he gives ten categories of toys that you can purge in order to begin taming the mountain of excess that toys can become.
- Broken: This seems obvious, but we had a lot of board books that were torn apart and I felt weird getting rid of them.
- Developmentally Inappropriate: We were still holding on to lots of rattles and car seat toys that didn’t make sense for my almost two years olds. I was keeping them because they sometimes played with them, but when I got rid of them, I found that they played more with toys that challenged them more.
- Fixed: Toys that don’t stimulate a child’s imagination.
- Too complicated, breaks easily, batteries involved, plastic: Our kids now only have a handful of battery operated toys and our home feels much calmer without the conflicting sounds of kid music and chattering toys.
- High stimulus.
- Annoying or offensive.
- Pressured to buy, commercial: We didn’t have much in this category. I did keep a couple of Mickey and Minnie Mouse stuffed animals, but other than that we don’t have very many things with commercial themes.
- Corrosive play (guns, swords, evil characters, war paraphernalia): Our kids were a little young to have these things, but I will certainly steer clear of them in the future.
- Environmentally unhealthy/toxic.
The other concept I love from Simplicity Parenting is that of the toy library. During the day, the majority of our toys are kept in a closet and only a few toys are available for the kids. When they start to get bored of what they have available, I can go to the toy library and bring out something new. We are fortunate to have a large closet that houses all of the extra toys.
I’ve found that less toys leads to deeper and more thoughtful play rather than boredom. The kids concentrate on a single toy longer and find creative ways to play with toys together that they wouldn’t have thought of otherwise. A board book becomes a ramp for a toy car or a teapot and blanket become a bed for bunny.
Their attention spans are getting longer and their curiosity and creativity are growing. I love watching their little minds at work.
Having less means that what we do have has value and is much easier to maintain. When everything has a place, it creates order and simplicity. The kids are learning to crave order and are often cleaning up their spaces without prompting. It truly is “life-changing magic.”
I hope you found this information helpful. If you want to see the process in action, feel free to check out our home tour here. If you enjoyed this post, you might like these as well:
Comparison Trap: Why We Compare Our Children To Others: Theodore Roosevelt said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Even knowing this, I still compare sometimes. Here are some reasons why.
10 Things I’ve Learned in Two Years of Cloth-Diapering Triplets: Cloth diapering has been good for our family and we’ve picked up a few handy tips along the way.
Living Peacefully with Toddlers: Introduction: The inspiration for this blog series and the topics that will be covered.
Hello there! I’m Krysta. If you’re new to The Thoughtful Mom, welcome! And thank you for stopping by.
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