Back in the olden days 😉 spring cleaning indicated a time when homes that were shut tight for the winter, where opened up and cleaned of all dirt, grit, and grime accumulated throughout the frigid season. Every stick of furniture would be drug outside and the entire home wiped cleaned from top to bottom. Which was desperately needed considering homes were heated with wood, oil, and coal. Can you even imagine the dust and soot?? I thought my sock drawer was bad!
Let me just put it out there. I’m not a fan of clutter. So this isn’t going to be a post about how to gently detach from your stuff just to make room for more stuff. Nope. Let’s just rip the band-aid off and get to business. Maria Kondo’s books, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up and subsequent Spark Joy brought the de-cluttering conversation back to the forefront, which clearly makes an anti-clutter person like myself incredibly happy. Kondo’s premise is that we should only surround ourselves with belongings that “spark joy” in our lives. I am all for that, however, how does a parent discern what is true joy amongst a closet full of art projects made by your children? Luckily, I have the wisdom that a second child brings 😉 On your first child you start by keeping every creative activity that your child prodigy (future Michelangelo) touches. But after the 85th tempera painted paper plate your perfect babe brings home, you start to gain a bit perspective (hopefully). Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a cold-hearted art grinch! I actually found an amazing way to preserve your children’s artwork if you can’t part with them. It is called Plumprint. They send you a prepaid shipping kit that you fill with your child’s favorite art projects and they will turn it into a multitude of amazing keepsakes from books, calendars to throw pillows. You can even make notecards with your child’s artwork. You may recall that I’m a big proponent of sending a card and what would be cuter than a thank you card made from your baby cake’s artwork? You could even use their abandoned artwork as wrapping paper for a special gift or what about making a shadow box? I’m in no way saying chuck it all into the bin. To the contrary, I’m merely suggesting that there are ways to keep important memories in creative ways. If those art supplies themselves are dragging you down, then how about some clear storage bins to set you straight?
Kondo’s premise is that we should only surround ourselves with belongings that “spark joy” in our lives...
I think the trick is not to overwhelm yourself with biting off more than you can chew. I try to make decluttering projects manageable by saying I’ll clean this one cabinet today. I don’t try to tackle everything in one go. With the girls’ clothing, I try to go through their stuff every six months. We just pulled all their winter gear to be put away (yay spring), and anything that would be too small for Evelyn to wear next year, I donated to Room to Grow. There’s nothing like knowing your items are being put to good use by those in need to help you get over your emotional attachments. Room to Grow is an amazing organization here in NYC and has become near and dear to my heart.
For myself with clothing, if I haven’t worn it in a year it’s gone. To not get overwhelmed in this department, I will just take a drawer at a time. Go through that sock drawer and actually toss out those lone left socks. I promise its mate is not going to magically return from sabbatical the moment you toss the other in the bin. If there are clothing items you are on the fence about, pack them up and set aside. If you don’t miss them in a month or two, you already have them bagged up and ready to donate. Make it as easy as possible.
How often do you go through your children’s things? Do you have any tips on getting rid of the excess kid clutter? Please share with me!