I have a dream. (In fairness, I have many dreams. I’m just talking about one right now. And in silliness, I’m sharing a bananapants dream about my mom shooting monopoly pieces in her forehead on IG. Anyone else having all the crazy dreams these days?)
Anywho, I have a dream. A dream where we live in a home that contains only beautiful and useful possessions. We have the right amount of stuff, and all of the stuff has a place to live. We have systems in place to maintain our stuff. Because we have the right amount of stuff and systems in place, it doesn’t take too long to tidy up and to clean.
It seems simple and yet completely out of reach.
I had thought that moving would be a catalyst to start over and try again. But that’s probably not happening for a bit, and I don’t want to wait. Now that we are home ALLLLL the time and we are cleaning everything ourselves, I really really don’t want to wait.
Let’s unpack the steps a bit here.
We had naturally been doing this before our planned move, but we still have a ways to go. One issue here is that it is hard to get stuff to the right people in our semi-lockdown world. Also, because we are all home all the time on top of the stuff, it is hard to clear things out. Nothing more fun than making a pile and having the toddler immediately dismantle it. I’m also dealing with low energy on my part, and particularly low energy when I’m technically alone. Believe it or not, but 9:00 pm is not a great time to get after it. Lulz.
But we’ve had some success lately. A friend called for baby stuff for someone in need, and I was glad to clear much of that stuff. I cleared a few books for a lending library that is being developed. It all felt good to do. Baby steps.
Finding a Home for everything
I was listening to the Organize365 podcast (this episode), and I realized that this step is where we can particularly struggle. Decluttering isn’t always easy, but we can do it. It feels good. But it’s not enough. If we don’t organize the stuff that remains, everything will just fall apart again.
I have a few surfaces that I can’t seem to clear, and I’ve realized that much of that is because the objects don’t have a place. They are part of projects that need to be completed or systems that need to be created.
We have some systems that work well. For years, I’ve had a sewing box. Anytime I need to do something sewing-related, I know exactly where I need to go for all my stuff. Same for wrapping paper. I’ve recently created an office supplies box. All office supplies belong here. It has been great for knowing where to find the extra tape at all times.
One thing we need for sure is to get a better art creation system/situation for the kids. We had a beloved art cart that worked for a long time, but both distance learning and Arthur being able to reach everything in the cart have made it fall apart. I want something that is convenient for the older kids to create, but is also far from toddler clutches. But gathering all the things, sorting them, forcing them into a better system . . . Hopefully, it will happen one of these days, but it has felt bigger than I can tackle now.
Efficient systems to maintain
Then, this is the dream. Figuring out systems so that we can all work together to stay on top of stuff. And that staying on top of it doesn’t take forever. I’m still trying to figure out a rhythm here. I know some people have a daily tidying session. Honestly, stuff on the floor or an epic blanket fort doesn’t bother me for a few days, but then I get cranky when we need to vacuum or have a dance party and stuff is everywhere. But a weekly tidy leaves so much stuff that it seems overwhelming. I don’t know. Still working on this.
(I should have a daily moment to undo some of Arthur’s antics. Right now we have TV remotes, measuring cups, things pulled out of the recycling and goodness only knows what else all over the house.)
I know very little about cleaning, but I do know that (1) having the right tools, (2) doing it regularly, and (3) having clear surfaces makes it much easier and therefore more likely to get done. I’m more likely to tackle the bathrooms if I know they don’t have weeks of grime covering them. I’m more likely to clean the kitchen counters when they are clear of crap. I’m more likely to mop when we have a working swiffer (which we don’t at the moment.) (We got reusable pads and figured out how to refill the cartridge for environmental friendliness.)
So yeah. I’m trying to make small steps of progress toward the dream without doing that thing where I get frustrated/overwhelmed and make sweeping pronouncements about throwing all of our stuff in the trash. This is not helpful/enjoyable for anyone. I’m trying to focus on getting everyone on board with new systems that work instead of just decluttering. We shall see.