Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Getting Rid of Stuff can Save Motherhood

It's been a whole year since I blabbed on and on about my quest for minimalism, 
(And yes, I still hold Marie Kondo's book as a second Bible.) 
and since it's a new year 
which means organizational sales are spiking right along with gym memberships, 
I felt it my duty to revisit the subject. 
(Your welcome.)

As you can already guess, 
this post was touched off by an article I read 

My favorite quote of the article: 

I went into the playroom—the room that was the bane of my existence. This was a room full of colorful bins, each bin full of toys. There were toys on the floor, in chests, in boxes, toys everywhere. I would send my kids in here to play and they would come out less than ten minutes later complaining of boredom. 
This room was pointless, and I’d had enough.

Spoiler alert: when she threw everything out, her kids played better! 

Thought #1: 
We are already accumulating too many toys. 

When we were in our townhome, 
I had a very strict toy rotation center that worked great. 
It was small, so it forced me to get rid of toys. 
In turn, the rotation system kept the toy mess at a minimum, 
and forced Aaron to really play with the toys he had out. 

The "problem" with our new home is that we have too much space. 
Too many rooms. 
Too many closets. 
A full finished basement with no purpose except to serve as toy chaos. 

(one-half of our basement, relatively cleaned up) 

I know, I know, #firstworldproblems. 
I see your eye roll. 

The problem is because we have space to store everything, 
 I've relaxed my toy purging. 
The holidays just blew through, 
which means we have an avalanche of new toys. 
I justify (to myself) that I'm letting time tell which toys are the keepers, 
and which ones will be tossed/donated. 

But in the meantime, the toys are everywhere. 
And Aaron doesn't play, so much as he just tornados everything. 
And most days my finished basement looks like this: 

(and this isn't even that bad, not even close to the worst)

My second favorite quote: 

Studies show a direct link between the amount of physical possessions in a house and the stress level of the female homeowner. One study done at UCLA found that the more stuff was in a woman’s house, the higher her level of stress hormones. This same study also found that women subconsciously relate how happy they are with their homelife and family to how they feel about their homes. So the more clutter and chaos in the home, the less happy the woman is with her family and her life.

Thought #2: 
I need to stay vigilant with my own purging. 

Excuse me while I sidetrack here to a Tale of Two Homes

I was at my parent's house and helping with dishes. 
The pile of dirty dishes was huge and as I started washing, 
I started counting. 
5 knives. 
5 knives all roughly the same size that were dirty. 
Why do you need 5 identical knives? 
Well the logic here is that when you are cooking, 
you can reach for another knife without having to clean the first. 
And thus save time cooking. 

EXCEPT what happens at the end of cooking, 
is that you now have not one, but FIVE knives that need to be washed. 
Multiply this across five spatulas, 
five bowls, 
and your "to wash" pile is ENORMOUS. 
And after all that work cooking, who wants to tackle an enormous dishwash pile? 

Of course, my parents' argument is that every knife has a different purpose. 
I counted over 12 knives in their knife block. 
In contrast, my in-laws have 4 knives. 
FOUR total knives, in their whole block. 
And they have gotten by 30+ years of cooking delicious meals with FOUR knives. 
And I began to realize why when I go to my in-laws for dinner, 
the kitchen is relatively clean after a day of cooking. 
While my parents' kitchen looks like a tornado. 

Because if you are forced to clean the bowl and knife to use it again, 
you don't have a huge pile at the end to clean. 

So back to my original thought process. 
I don't want to end up with 5 identical anything. 
I did some pretty awesome purging before we moved, 
so our new house is in decent condition right now
 (except for the toy problem). 

But it will only stay like this if I stay on top of it. 
For example, 
I received two new spatulas for Christmas, 
and so far I only tossed one old one in the donation pile. 
My hoarding habits still run strong. 
But I need to toss the third spatula. 
It's a small act, but it represents a lot. 


  1. Argh, I hate stuff and totally agree that the "state" of my home greatly impacts my stress level/overall happiness. Christmas with kids is a source of anxiety for me because I have to figure out where to put the new stuff! Our playroom is not very big AND it's visible at all times, so I'm constantly trying to make sure it is not overly full, but then what happens when we get offered something like a free train table?! I really think Colby would enjoy it, but I have no idea where to put it! #firstworldproblems

  2. I really need to purge the playroom but it is not high on my list with a 4 week old. When she is napping in her crib and I am still on maternity leave, purging will be a big priority!

  3. With this comment I don't mean to sound like I've nailed it because I definitely haven't, but this spoke to me sooooo much. This is the reason we go through our kids' playroom about twice a year and get rid of, get rid of, get rid of. Some people think I'm heartless about getting rid of things, but really, my kids spend TONS of time in the playroom and they really PLAY in there.

    I am also a fanatic about going through the rest of our house and my friends always comment that our house always seems so tidy. Really, we just don't have a lot of stuff and the stuff that we do have, I continually go through, so I'm always getting rid of more. I'm nowhere near Marie Kondo (although I do question how her system would work if she had kids?!?), but have less makes me happy. In fact, I start to feel stressed out when I don't have enough time to purge.

    I am just completely thankful that I married someone who feels the same way I do and is totally supportive of getting rid of things.