Last week, I suddenly got the urge to declutter. OK, it wasn’t just a random feeling, it was because I was inspired (again!) by Mum In The Making. I love her home decor!
I think the first step to a beautiful home is neatness (and of course basic cleanliness). I had done a few rounds of decluttering prior to this, but somehow, there were still lots more to clear! Once I got into the groove, I gave away many things and kept many things away in the storeroom and storage boxes.
The result of my hard work over three days
The difference is not very obvious in the photo. (It’s like housework – very obvious if not done, not so obvious when it’s painstakingly done!) I cleared ALL surfaces in the WHOLE house, from kitchen to bedroom! Tidied and dusted the display shelves and cleared everything on top of cabinets and shelves (which was such a convenient place to deposit stuff!).
I used to try to keep the top surfaces neat, perhaps just one small filing rack. But everytime, more and more stuff ended up there.. until it was ‘overflowing’. So I decided to keep surfaces bare – everything must go inside drawers or cupboards. I can tidy the insides when I am free, but at least the house will look neat. If there isn’t any more storage space, that means it’s time to throw things!
This nth round of decluttering, I finally feel different. I feel liberated. In the mornings, I wake up feeling yay, the house is clean and neat. At night, if I get an idea about an activity to do with the kids the next day, I feel like anything is possible. And most importantly, I finally feel like I want to stop buying things for the kids. (If my hubby is reading this, he is probably jumping for joy haha)
So, having been a shopaholic-mummy (a very dangerous combi, cos there are just too much kid-related stuff out there!) for the past five years (the buying started before the baby arrived) and now a newly-converted minimalist (haha), what are my insights?
There is really no need to buy too many toys or educational whatnots. Not that the toy is useless, but there simply isn’t enough time to do all of them with the child. I
have had sooooo many good toys, but I realised hey, the kids hardly touched them…
Take for example, a stacking toy. By the time the boys finally played with it, they were already old enough to do the stacking on their own, despite never having been ‘taught’ before… Which means, they ‘learnt’ how to do it without the toy… and without anyone teaching them… And since they now know how to do it, there was never a need for the toy in the first place! Argh!
Letting the kids see me giving away their toys is therapeutic. I posted on a freecycling group the items which I wanted to give away, and the recipients came to my place to collect. So the boys watched with their own eyes (in horror??) people going away with their toys. It was an effect I did not expect, otherwise I would have made full use of the impact. Now the boys know I am serious about giving away their toys and I REALLY will do it.
(I never had any qualms about carrying out my ‘promises’, but I knew that if I had to throw their toys away, I would feel quite sad. But now I actually feel zen and I think I will be quite happy if I get to clear more toys out! *rub hands in glee*)
When I first told the boys I would be giving away some of their toys, the boys cried and wailed and said they wanted to play with the toys. But seriously?? They had not touched the toys for years!
Kids’ imagination increase as their toys decrease. Perhaps it’s having more physical space, perhaps it’s having fewer things competing for their brainspace.. The very first afternoon after I started decluttering, the boys started using their remaining toys to ‘substitute’ for the toys they lost.. by pretending! And we are still in Week One After Decluttering. I am sure I will see more improvements in their play. Click here to read why fewer toys will benefit your kids.