I can’t see the counters. I can’t see the floor. Everywhere I look there are papers, lists, Barbies, sippy cups, Shopkins (ah! choke–ables!), books and the most random sh*t layered on top of my life. If you don’t have kids, your piles might look very different – but we’re still on the same mission to find… sanity. It’s easy to get lost in a mess.
Have you reached that point in time when you feel like your brain has literally flat-lined? That you might self-destruct? That your legs are trapped in quick sand and it’s slowly pulling you under? This happens to me more often than I’d like to admit, but I’m happy to share a little revelation that works wonders for me when I’m in this head space (and physical space).
You need to plow a new pathway to clear-mindedness. Declutter + re-design. For those of you who know me well, you know that my office space, kids’ playroom and my bedroom have been re-arranged more than 10 times. [Those are just the times you’ve actually noticed].
[ 1 ] First and foremost // the less enjoyable phase – clean up. Take a few enormous deep breaths and put the toys in their place, put the papers into piles, and make your space look visually cleaner. I’m not saying to start going through each piece of paper and sort it out. Who has time for that? I’m saying to just make it look neat. If things look “in place” or at least organized, that’s the first step. I’m a very visual person, so as long as the surface looks in order I can breathe (even if that means I’m hiding a dirty laundry basket in my closet).
[ 2 ] Declutter // If you’re a yogi you’ve likely heard this term before: Aparigraha. It’s one of Patanjali’s Eight Limbs of Yoga. Aparigraha is one of the yamas (ethical principals – or moral imperatives) that refers to keeping the desire for possessions to what’s necessary or important, depending on your stage of life. In short = declutter your life, it’ll make you feel better and improve the space around you.
Side note: As you’re sorting through the mess, consider putting certain items into a donation box. Things you’d consider to be junk could be very valuable to someone else!
[Random fact: I am a certified Yoga Instructor via Yoga Alliance – from Sonic Yoga in NYC, shout out to my 2010 crew!]
Moms: The kids can get involved. That’s a big reason this works so well for me. When I’m moving the dollhouse to a different place on the wall, my daughters get really excited. They like to help clean out the furniture and dolls as I ‘move’ the house to a new address 2 feet down the wall. When it comes to decluttering – they love helping drop things into a donation box, or throw garbage away (sometimes followed by a meltdown if they know certain toys are actually leaving, so I often leave that detail out).
[ 3 ] Re-design // try to visualize the different design options that might make that room function better, or look chic and Instagram worthy. Switch your supplies or table lamp to a new spot. Move the desk completely to a different nook of the room. Move the dollhouse or kitchen set. Whatever your lifestyle, find something tangible and change it up. Anything goes, it’s just a matter of how much strength and motivation you have. (I often get carried away). Hopefully you notice this practice gives you clarity and ignites the creative part of your brain that may have been going stale. I sure do!
[ 4 ] Get creative // After you’ve decluttered and cleaned up, maybe you have a fancy empty bin for supplies to spice up your office, or some random artifact that can now be used for something else more valuable – like toy storage or a fun activity for your kids. Utilize these moments to your benefit. Redesign and reuse things in places they actually look and feel better.
9 times out of 10 I feel refreshed after I’m done. I have a clearer mind, I’ve calmed down, the kids are still happy, and bonus… my space looks good again. I can see the counters. I can see the floor. Hallelujah.
Warning: this practice is short-lived. By the time my husband is home and the kids are on 3rd round of hide-and-seek & super heroes I’m back to square one. But hey, little things can make a big difference. Working this into your routine when you feel like you’re suffocating can only help. Good luck!