Dealing with Clutter – 31 Days
Dealing with clutter is every mom’s worst nightmare. Dealing with clutter as a homeschool mom brings it to an entirely different level. Why is that? Because we are in our homes a lot. And we also need to keep a lot of things. If you have more than one kid, that means you have more than one age range for curriculum. You can’t get rid of all the readers your oldest has already gone through because you have a couple more kids that will use them.
Plus the big one – you see the clutter because you are home a lot
The 1st Step to Dealing with Clutter
Acknowledge there is not just a clutter problem. Dealing with clutter can be really easy. You have the four bags. One is for trash, one is for keeping, one is for donations, and one is for storing for later. The storing for later can be curriculum or books or toys that aren’t being used right now but will most likely be used later.
But, when dealing with the clutter you have to realize you have to stop letting more stuff come in your house. Dealing with clutter is one thing. Don’t fill your house back up. What did you accomplish if you replace everything you got rid of?
Dealing with clutter: Just Start!
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Clutter is completely overwhelming. This is part of the reason you want to get rid of stuff. You are overwhelmed. You don’t know where to start. But, the key is to just start. Start with one room. If the room is too big, look at a closet. If the closet is too overwhelming, start with your purse. I read an amazing book recently by Brooke McAlary called Slow. In it she talked about how overwhelmed she was to start decluttering. Instead, she started with her purse. This propelled her further to keep working on bigger projects.
Dealing with clutter can start very small. Look at your junk drawer, look at your purse. Try to get rid of some of the stuff so that you aren’t as overwhelmed. But you do need to just start.
Dealing with Clutter as a Homeschooler
Homeschoolers do have unique challenges when it comes to dealing with clutter. I know you want to get rid of so much, but you think “will I need that later.” This is why having a box for storage is so important. If the visual clutter is really hurting you, pack it up and put it in the attic.
Getting rid of visual clutter is a huge help. Especially when you are home often to look around your home. When there is a lot of visual clutter, even if you aren’t actively seeking it out, it can be a drain on your emotions.
In our home we have exactly one closet. It holds all of our clothes, but not a whole lot else. That means that we have a lot of visual clutter. Because of this I am ruthless with getting rid of clutter. I can’t stand having stuff on the counters in our kitchen, or for toys to be all over the house. I need everything contained as much as possible.
If you can pack up books or toys for later, do it. If you can pack up curriculum that you aren’t using, do it. Store it in the attic or in your garage.
What if you can’t store it?
We don’t have closets, our basement is wet, we don’t have a garage. These are a lot of my excuses as to why we can’t store things. Yes, we are able to store a few things in our attic, but it isn’t a lot. Because of that I have to accept a certain amount of clutter. We have a lot of books, so we have a lot of book shelves. I’m not willing to get rid of the books, so I try to make it look as nice as possible.
You have to make the choice. If you can’t store the stuff, but you feel like you need it, do you need it right now? Is it something you can sell and then purchase again later? Do you really need it?
If the answer is yes, and a passionate yes, I’m sure it isn’t as overwhelming for you. If the answer is no, it should be easy to part with it.
Dealing with Clutter – Books
As homeschoolers books are a big part of our lives. And I love books. I have a hard time parting with books, so we store a lot of books in our home. If you love books as much as me, but do not have the space for them, there are alternatives. The first being your library. When I first started homeschooling I read a post by Renee Tougas about using the library for your homeschool curriculum. She also has written a great piece on building a small space homeschool library.
You don’t have to have all the books. You can use your library, you can use e-books and audible. But, if you want to keep the books, and they bring you joy, keep them. I regularly go through our books and get rid of books that we didn’t like, or books that we don’t care for. They are few and far between, but there are some. And as far as curriculum goes, we keep all of those books. With my oldest being 10 and my youngest 4, there are a lot of grades to go through, and I like knowing the books are ready and waiting for when we need them again.
The Bottom Line
Dealing with clutter is always a struggle. It can be overwhelming. You don’t know exactly where to start. You want to start small. You need to map out what is really important for you to keep. If you are able to get rid of the visual clutter, you will be in a much better position. And remember, you need to just start. Dealing with clutter can become second nature. When you regularly go through your home to get rid of stuff, involve your kids. Let them know why it is important to let go of things, and also have them help choose items to remove from your home.
Once you have decluttered your home, make it a priority to not bring in more stuff. If you do receive a gift, let go of something else. Make the decision to always remove one item from your home when something new comes in. This will make dealing with clutter so much easier. Instead of having to do a large purge every couple of months, you do it once. You know that items are going to be coming into your home. It is your decision whether they stay, or if they are removed.
What area of your home is the most difficult when dealing with clutter?