Hey, mamas! I wanted to share my friend Darlene’s story with you today because she told her story of what it REALLY feels like to declutter your home. Darlene is a part of my mini course Motherhood Simplified – Seven Days To An Uncluttered Home (you can learn more about that here).
When I designed this mini course, I created it so that it is available for you when you are ready for it. I never intended for it to be a “do this, do it my way, and do it now!”. I was very intentional in making it a course that is designed to help you create a vision for the type of motherhood experience you want to have, and ultimately the type of mom you want to be, then serve as a bridge for you to get yourself there.
As you read through Darlene’s eperience (which I decided to just copy and paste her answers because they are SO relatable) I hope you can see that you are not alone in how you are feeling. That you CAN get past the overhwhelm and clutter that is your daily life.
“How we spend our days, is how we spend our lives”.
You deserve to clear out your clutter, be it phsyical, mental or emotional clutter, and make room for what matters most to you!
Here it is <3 Thank you Darlene for sharing this!!
How long had you thought about getting started before you actually got started?
The feeling of wanting to get rid of things in the house – to have less clutter – really hit me after having Paxton. Being home all the time with him in those early weeks surrounded by all the “stuff” really made me feel like there was too much extra in the house. I think trying to balance motherhood and maintaining the house is what made it surface for me – there was always something to do when I had 5 minutes. I would run around tidying up instead of eating or showering.. I realized there was just so much stuff to tidy all the time.
So.. I guess about 5 months ago! But I didn’t really know how to start or what I even wanted it to look like other than less to do during my 5 minutes of free time. Then you did a house tour on our momma fb page and I was like “Ah! That is what I want!” I think it took me a few weeks to finally message you about it — I was nervous! I just looked back and I contacted you February 13th. That means it took 3 months and 2 days to go from “hey, Krista, you’ve inspired me..” to actually doing something!
What finally got you to just do it?
Nike. Just kidding. (I hope you got that!) But really.. a rainy day and my husband to relieve the mom guilt. I have been talking to my husband about “purging” or “pairing down” and he is completely on board (truth? he wanted to be here 10 years ago but he dated, then married, a hoarder and he embraced her flaws and lived a life of clutter because.. love) but he works more than full time and it wasn’t feasible for him to help. That left it up to me but the was no way I could take time away from Paxton to clean.. declutter.. how selfish would that be? (hello mom guilt). So, I kept putting it off because Paxton never sleeps more than 30 minutes during the day and even that is in a carrier on me. How much could I get done in 30 minutes? #excuses
So…We were going to build our garden but the weather was junk for that so we decided to grab the wood and plants but not build it. I said “You’re home! Let’s do the kitchen” and BOOM! we did. It is silly it took me so long (3 month and 2 days, what?!) because the amount of time it took my husband and I to do it was so much less than I thought. We were able to take turns holding Paxton. And.. ::gasp:: he used a bouncer off and on while we purged the kitchen.. turns out he can handle 10 minutes not attached to momma every once in a while and 30 minutes, even if that is 3 10 minute increments CAN produce results.
I think that we do that often.. build something up in our heads to be a bigger/more time consuming task than it is. Especially with social media. I see Krista’s house on fb live and I am all (insert heart eyes) and then I look at my house and the contrast is so much that it feels impossible.. or at least like it will take an eternity. When we got to it it only took a few hours. The weight it lifted was huge!
What were the logistical hurdles you had to overcome to get this done, and once you did get started do you still view those hurdles in the same way?
Myself. Truthfully – I built it up to be this thing that was going to take so much time to complete that it wasn’t worth starting. As a first time momma and fresh to staying at home I am in a season of adjusting — figuring out what our “normal” is. Right now that looks like doing whatever Paxton needs whenever he needs it. Most days that doesn’t leave me much time to do anything outside of using the bathroom and eating — which often include him on my lap still. I was convinced my house would stay like this because I couldn’t put him down long enough to accomplish anything, There are days like that for sure.. hello teething, sleep regression, ear infection! but, there are also times where he can entertain himself for a bit. Like I said, first time momma – I am a work in progress.
I was defeated before I started because there just didn’t seem to be a way to purge and to be with my baby.. but then it hit me! Every day that the house is not purged I am giving it my thoughts and energy while I am with Paxton. I am not fully present if I am thinking “How am I going to get the dishes done.” or “The laundry is piling up.” and sometimes, I am sad to admit, I found myself wishing for his nap to come so I could at least START one of those tasks (I have yet to start something and finish it within one nap!). I didn’t want that. Not for him. Not for me. I want to be fully present with him and I want to enjoy his awake time so much that when he naps it doesn’t feel like a relief.
I am not there entirely – we did the kitchen and (mostly) did the laundry but we are so far from not having my to-do list going through my brain during play time.. but the kitchen was purged.. the clothes are purged. That’s a dent for sure.
What did you do first once you decided to start?
I compromised. As I mentioned, my husband wants no clutter. I think he would have 10% of what is in our house if I wasn’t around. He isn’t wrong when he says “It is all your stuff” in response to my cries of feeling overwhelmed with the “stuff” everywhere in our house. When I tell him I feel like I am suffocating and he asks how he can help I never have an answer because it is my junk! So, he would have been good with just emptying the cabinets, the laundry, the entire house, into the car and handing it off to those who need it. I am way too emotionally attached to things and have been trying to get over Just(in case). [It’s been a tough break up.. It really is a “it’s me, not you” situation]. But I knew that I would have to put my girl panties on and compromise if I really wanted what I have been saying I want.
So. we agreed we would donate everything unless it was valuable enough to send pics to friends and family to see if they wanted it and whatever remained from the text we would hold for a yard sale. We know we have a lot of house to purge so we will have enough for a good sized yard sale. Our development does a yard sale each summer so we will participate then donate what doesn’t sell.
We took all the donations straight to the donation center — this is the first time we have done that. Usually they sit in the house… then my car where I drive them around for months. This is a “mark it on the calendar” event for us.
In terms of our approach – we emptied each cabinet out and then decided what was going back in. I am very visual and that is what works for me I couldn’t just shift things around in the cabinets or drawers and remove some items. I removed it all and started fresh. That worked well for us.
I do have to say I feel like I cheated a little. In the spirit of compromise I agreed to put some things away without purging them yet. Hubs isn’t convinced this is going to make things easier.. he thinks less plates and such will mean more washing which is more time consuming and more time away from Paxton.. so we have the extras (4 large plates, 4 small plates, 4 bowls, all the Pyrex storage) in the empty cabinets for right now. They won’t be used in rotation – and I hope in just a few months we see how great this is for us and we can toss them! I share this not only to be transparent but to say that you really do have to figure out what works for you. We weren’t able to go down to 1 plate per person.. we decided 2 large 2 small and to place the other half of the set in a holding pattern. Compromise.
How did it feel while you were doing it?
Cognitive dissonance. I knew I wanted a clutter free kitchen. I knew it was okay to have empty cabinets or drawers. I knew less was what I wanted. But then I made all these exceptions to keep things.. The drinking glass that was my great grandma’s, the large drinking mug I “love”, the glass I was supposed to use for our wedding but it never got unpacked…. the tea mug my grandma just got me 2 Christmas’ ago, the mug with the fun handle. My husband said “I don’t think I understand your definition of purge.”
I dug a little deeper and asked myself why I was holding onto those things.. it was a feeling but it was really guilt not pleasure. So.. I let go of the Christmas mug but kept the fun handle because it does bring me joy. And I plan to let go of the wedding glass this week.
In the end, it was kind of emotional. I had to ask myself why I was holding onto items… that shirt that is “so cute” but I have never worn outside of the closet. Not once in 3 years. (I am going to go toss it after I finish this). I found I was holding onto things out of guilt (someone got it for me.. or someone made it for me.. or I spent money on it..) and I realized that guilt is negative. I make a conscious effort to keep negativity out of my life when it comes to things like who I surround myself with, the content of conversations, and how I speak to others so why was I not applying this to my home? The place I am in much of my day and the space I will nurture my little one?
Now I am. I am applying that same logic. I wouldn’t surround myself with individuals who make me feel the way items in my house do.. so I am letting them go too.
How does it feel now to have started in such a powerful way?
Proudcited. I am proud of myself for finally doing something that was so big and scary. I am excited to continue the journey throughout the house. I have to be realistic though. I might go weeks before the next space is purged. For me it isn’t going to be done this week or month. It might not be done this year. But every time I get an item out of the house OR I don’t bring one in (that has been HUGE!) I am making space for the energy I want to surround my family with. I am making the time with my little guy more of what I want – and that is what this is all about for me. It isn’t a race it is a long term change that will take time.
Thank you Krista for being such an inspiration and support – there is no way I would be where I am without you <3
The blogs and courses I write, and the things I share with you are never for make you feel like this is THE one way to do it.
I want to help you get the vision you want for your motherhood season and for your family, and let you use these resources as the bridge to get you from where you are NOW to where you WANT to be.