Challenge / Health / Home / Motherhood

2016 One Word: Clutter


I’ve done the one word thing for a couple of years and it has always had a major impact on my year.  This year my word was “clutter.”  I know it sounds negative at first glance but hear me out on this.

I never thought clutter bothered me until a couple of years ago.  It really all came to a head in October of 2015 when I ended up in the Emergency Room via an ambulance.  I was having to depend on my husband to do things for me and having friends check in on me and seeing more doctors than anyone should have to see.  I was drowning in junk mail, projects my kid’s had made, school papers, work papers, magazines, and books!  It got to me.  I finished 2015 by getting strep throat over Christmas break which is usually God’s way of forcing me to rest.

2016 began with several objectives all related to clutter:

  • Clean out my closet
  • Get rid of clutter in kid’s rooms
  • Make the master bedroom a retreat
  • Clean out book closets

I’m proud to say on December 23, 2016 all of those have been completed!  The most important of those, in my opinion, was making my master bedroom a retreat.  I knew my husband and I both needed a place to retreat to.  A place that was ours.  Our kid’s have fingerprints on every room in our house (literal and figurative), we needed a place that was ours…not their overflow space.  When I explained my objectives to my husband his first question was, “How much is this going to cost me?”  Short answer:  Not as much as you would think.

Here’s what we did to make our bedroom a retreat:

  1. Clean out the clutter.  This was a two-man job but we tackled it in a weekend!  The big part that makes this successful is getting rid of things right away.  If you make a donate pile, drop it off that day.  Don’t move it to the garage or the trunk of your car.
  2. Make our bed nice.  For us, this meant building a headboard and getting new bedding.  Fifteen years of marriage and we had never had a headboard on our bed.  We also bought new bedding and new sheets at Home Goods.  The total cost of both of those was under $200.00.
  3. Keep dirty clothes in the bathroom.  This seems like a no-brainer but when you both work it is very easy to change clothes and leave your clothes wherever you changed–don’t judge.
  4. Don’t fold clothes in our bedroom.  In our house we are on a mission to create productive adults so I don’t do a lot of things for my kids.  One such thing is putting their clothes up.  I don’t mind folding them but that’s where my motherly duties end.  By not folding clothes in our bedroom it was forcing me to fold the pile of clothes in the living room and forcing them to put them away in a timely manner.
  5. Help my husband keep his desk clean.  My husband LOVES for everything to have a place and his retreat in a retreat is his desk.  In our current home he does not have an office or a study so he must study at work or at home.  I know he likes this clean desk so I try to keep it clean.
  6. Keep my retreat in the retreat cleaned off.  My retreat within the bedroom retreat is a cozy chair and lamp in the corner.  This is my place to read, write in my planner, and sometimes just to sit in silence.  To keep this my retreat in the retreat I must keep this cleaned off.  I must put my purse in my closet.  I must put my work stuff in my closet.  I can’t unload myself on this chair…which happens more often than it should.

The hardest of my 2016 objectives was cleaning out my closet.  Since I knew the only way to do it right would be to empty it I waited until my husband went out-of-town.  I dropped him off at the airport and my kid’s at school and came right home and emptied it.  I emptied it into my bedroom then it overflowed into the living room.  It took me two complete days but I did it!  And I’m proud to say that it still looks the same today as it did when I finished.  Cleaning my closet was really the last of the objectives to tackle.

I’m always de-cluttering the kid’s rooms and book closet.  But the main thing I try to drill into the little people’s brain is:  We throw away broken toys.  We don’t donate broken toys.  No one wants broken toys.  We throw away broken toys.  We throw away broken toys.  Can you tell I’ve said this a lot?  If their dad can’t fix it, it goes in the trash.  With kids, this gets rid of a lot of clutter pretty easy.

The second thing we are always working on pertaining to kid clutter (and really clutter in general) is:  Everything has a home.  Rarely, is the floor something’s home.  Except of course, the Imaginext Batman Cave…according to our son.

I am not an expert on de-cluttering but I am a recovering clutterer.  I realized this week that the one area I left off my list of objectives was my vehicle.  For shame!  It took me almost an hour EMPTYING my vehicle then another 30 minutes vacuuming it!  I told my kids that I was disappointed in my mothering skills because I let them turn my vehicle into a junk yard.  The whole experience made me so mad.  Mad because I let it happen!  Oh well, it’s clean now and no one is allowed to eat or drink in it…for a couple of weeks anyways.

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