I’ve learned a lot as a mom of four kids, but one thing I continue to learn is how to find calm in the constant clutter. It seems impossible, but it’s really a mindset.
We try and control our atmosphere, our home environment and even our kids. But it’s really about getting control of our thoughts and emotions in the midst of chaos. Raising kids, multiple kids is chaotic and until we can find peace in the midst of it – we’ll drive ourselves crazy.
With each child I’ve been blessed with, I’ve also been blessed with the ability to let go of any expectations when it comes to a clutter-free home. It didn’t come easy and I still wrestle with my expectations, but for the most part, I win. I don’t have a Pottery Barn-catalog home, and I won’t until my kids are grown and out of the house. I’m okay with this – to a degree. I remember having my first child and how organized I was with a few toys and handful of books in our 1500 square foot home in Queens, NY. I bought these great leather cube organizers (Pottery Barn of course,) which served three purposes in one – ottoman, table and toy-hider. They were great until we had more kids. Then it was a free-for-all and those cute little ottoman toy hiders couldn’t do the trick. I then pulled out a label maker and went crazy labeling toy bins. That worked — for a minute. I added more bookshelves to the kids’ rooms and still books piled up. I bought clear plastic containers to shove under beds, but still the stuff seemed to overtake my home. With four kids it’s a constant battle with the stuff – toys, clothes, books, crafts, school papers – you name, they have it or bring it home. It can overwhelm the most organized mom to a point where she’s melting down, going on a rampage with a garbage bag in hand threatening to throw away ALL the toys in the house. I’ve been that mom, and I’m sure I’ve scarred my kids for life. Thankfully kids are resilient, and they’ll get over it. Or they’ll seek counseling when they’re adults and then have their own kids and know what the heck it’s like. Either way, finding calm in the clutter comes down to a mindset. It’s like those sayings, “You have to pick your battles,” or “Don’t make mountains out of mole hills.” Don’t allow stuff to control your atmosphere and therefore your emotions.
Here’s the deal – when we add more kids to our families, we add more stuff. It’s inevitable. The key is how do we handle all of the stuff without making ourselves or our kids crazy. This isn’t an article on how to best organize your stuff. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know the basics of organizing: sort, categorize, trash, giveaway, quit buying, and teach our kids how to clean up after themselves. These are key sanity savers, but training our mind and emotions to find peace IN the clutter isn’t some organizing technique we check off our to-do list. It’s a state of mind and requires us to use our mental and spiritual muscles. As a mom who is a Christian, I’m constantly relying on God in these chaotic and cluttered moments. He’s my strength, my peace and my joy. Even just taking deep breaths and reaching for peaceful thoughts instead of anxious thoughts helps me to stay steady in the storm.
The best tip I can give is manage your thoughts and emotions in the midst of the clutter. Don’t let the desire for a clutter-free home control you. Give yourself grace and freedom to enjoy the moments and don’t always rush to clean them up.
Stay tuned for Calm In The Clutter – Part Two. It does get aesthetically better.