I pride myself in having a well organized mess. Well organized in my brain. A mess outside of my brain. I proudly flaunted the fact that I could not get organized by the world’s standard of organization. Take that world!
But my husband and I experienced the best times of our lives outside of clutter and unorganized messes. After getting married we spent years traveling and living as international students practically outside of suitcases.
When living that type of lifestyle the number one priority is to take only what we need and finally what fits in our suitcase without having it go over the weight limit.
We were newly weds after all, so we had to say goodbye to a lot of… Wedding gifts- I’m sorry! Unfortunately weddings are often time an excuse to give a lot of random home items that aren’t on the gift registry.
One of the coolest items I received as a wedding gift was a pink tool kit made primarily for girls. A solid idea for a new wife! But I never used it and never expected I would.
I sold it to a construction worker that was new to the country and had no tools to start working. He was desperate for an affordable tool kit.
After five years of living that travelers’ lifestyle, we became really good at getting rid of unnecessary clutter.
The hardest things we’ve left behind were our long boards in Hawaii. Jesiah hand made us long boards that were far too heavy to take with us back to Canada and then onto Australia. We left it with a friend of ours and literally said, do whatever you want with it. Sell it for some extra cash, give it to your kids or use it for yourself.
The second hardest was the Xbox which we left in Australia. We literally quit video games cold turkey at the Sydney international airport just before we boarded our flight. We suddenly found out our suitcase was too heavy and had to leave our Xbox and videogames behind. Surprisingly, we’ve never missed it.
Living in British Columbia now is the first time my husband, kids and I have ever stayed in the same place for more than three years. And now with two kids we have a lot more stuff. A lot more memories. A lot more possibilities to reuse items keeping in mind we might have more kids.
But with our oldest starting kindergarten and our need to have better functionality in our home, we had to Marie Kondo AND The Home Edit like no tomorrow! (Both pretty cool shows on Netflix).
I mean it’s already a struggle finding a towel and PJs just after the kids finish their baths. Even just a hair elastic out of the thousands we own has been hard to find! It’s there, but it’s like finding a needle in a haystack.
The hardest part about getting rid of items when we have kids is the fact that multiple times a year relatives send gifts. And these gifts consist of toys with multiple small pieces and tiny trinkets. When considering the Marie Kondo route of minimalizing our home, we are left with the gut wrenching tension of sending many gifts to the Salvation Army.
Unfortunately the kids often get more excited about receiving gifts the moment they unwrap them than within the following days. These gifts are oftentime forgotten about. We’ve held onto gifts for years in hopes the kids play with them. They weren’t played with. Or the pieces were scattered and lost forever.
Jesiah and I have decided, all we can do is give gifts a fair shot for a week after receiving them and if they’re not played with, we then have to hand them over someone else. Atleast that’s our most recent plan.
This past week in preparation for Esperanza’s first day of school, we cleaned out the kids’ room of every single item they did not play with. I thought it would be harder to do than it actually was. I thought the guilt of sending away old gifts from relatives would be weighing on me like carrying a ball and chain around. But it was the best feeling ever!
You don’t realize how bad it truly is until you go 24hrs without stepping on atleast twenty oddly shaped toys.
What we’ve left behind are toys the kids have focused play time with. You know those toys the kids play with for longer than ten minutes.
The fridge and pantry were even trickier to organize than most of the house. I had to accept that I have wasted food.
Here’s a bad habit I’m working hard to stop. I put something away in the fridge that’s either left overs from a meal or a half eaten snack. Then I ignore it for a few days. I pick it up out of the fridge when I think it’s gone moldy and if it hasn’t, back into the fridge it goes. Only to be thrown out once I finally do find mold.
I could argue that I’m leaving it in the fridge so someone else in our home has an opportunity to eat it. But there’s a high possibility that no one will eat it if I don’t eat it. Well, no one but Father Time.
Since understanding the foods we’ve wasted, I’ve then been able to find better ways to maintain the freshness of the foods we do eat often.
There are these containers that preserve fruits and vegetables! I had no idea they existed, but they’re amazing!
There’s also storage containers that keep cereals and dry snacks fresh. I honestly thought those types of containers were all for show. Like, look at me I’m too cool to have labels displayed in my pantry. But they keep dry goods from going stale. It’s amazing!
Plus no more crumpled bags of left over chips making a mess in our pantry!
I love knowing where things are and not having clutter. This is really just the start and who knows if I’ll be able to maintain it. But thus far, decluttering and organizing our home has mentally prepared me for back-to-school.
What are your tricks for organizing your home?