It's called "Spring Cleaning" for a reason. There's something about the arrival of spring that makes me want to clean and de-clutter everything. My husband Ben is the tidy one in our relationship (I know girls, I am a blessed woman). I never knew why it was so important to him to have a clutter free house. But something changed in me when I had our daughter. All of my thoughts past, present, and future left my brain and it was replaced with one phrase, “KEEP THE BABY ALIVE.” After the first few months of this one all-encompassing thought, I started to gradually have other thoughts like “I need to feed my husband,” and “I should clean the house." After a while, I realized that these thoughts are not enough to sustain me for the next twenty years.
I’ve been thinking about what specifically takes up room in my mind. I realize that if I am sitting in a room that is cluttered, I can’t think about anything except how my space feels crowded and almost claustrophobic. I realize that if I want to have more then to two thoughts crowding my mind for the rest of my life, I am going to need to get rid of useless things around me. Minimalism, living simply, downsizing, call it whatever you like, all I know is that I need to get rid of as much excess stuff in my life as possible if I want to continue being a productive human being.
I came across Terry Guillements quote, “Clutter smothers. Simplicity breathes.” and it sums up exactly what I experience and feel about my home. Clutter smothers more than just my space, it smothers my relationships with my husband and daughter by causing stress. It smothers my joy by making me angry when I see stuff everywhere. It smothers my mind by taking up valuable room. It smothers my creativity by distracting me from my projects.
But simplicity breathes.
Simplicity allows me to enjoy playing with my daughter instead of stressing about cleaning. It brings me peace when I walk into a clean kitchen in the morning after a long night, and I don’t see dirty dishes everywhere. It clears my mind so that I can focus on things like reading, being creative, memorizing scripture, and praying. Simplicity makes me a better woman which makes me a better wife and mother.
If you’re thinking that you don’t have the time to declutter or that the amount of stuff you have to get rid of is just too overwhelming, I understand. I have to take it one day at a time and focus on one small closet or one corner in a room. I would encourage you to think about the freedom you will experience in your mind and in your space when you are finished. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not the extreme minimalist that has nothing on the walls and only the bare essentials in every room. And I still have to clean regularly, but since I have less stuff, I have less stuff to clean.
I would be lying if I said that my new found love for simplicity was brought about by my conviction of materialism in my life. But it’s not. I love strolling down every aisle of Target just as much as the next woman. I like having a well-decorated home and dressing my baby girl in adorable clothes. But the way I view my stuff has changed. It is no longer just another dress or just another toy, it is something that can take up valuable room in my mind that can negatively affect the things and people I value most in my life.
I also don't want you to hear me say that living simply is the only way for you to have order and peace in your family's life. Only Jesus can give true joy, peace, and life. De-cluttering my life is just something that I have found to help me in my day to day routine.
Motherhood is the most beautiful, impossible, wonderful, stressful thing I have ever experienced. Getting rid of stuff in my house is worth it if makes me a more peaceful, kinder, passionate woman.