I was in our living room the other night and realized it happened: baby stuff has taken over every surface of our apartment. And the worst part is, Torre is way too young for it to be his doing! So every crinkly toy and piece of baby gear (bouncer, stroller, playmat) is where it is because I put it there. The reason music rang out when I sat on our couch was because I crammed a musical toy between the cushions.
One of the reasons minimalism appeals to me is because I know clutter attracts clutter, and the simplest antidote for clutter is not to own anything extra. But extra things can be beautiful and useful, not just clutter magnets, and the fact that we have an extra person in our family now, it makes sense to have some extra stuff! In fact, the reason our apartment looked inside out was because everything was being used on such a consistent basis, it simply never got put away.
Having dusted off my tidy-up skills, I thought I would share a few ideas and encourage you if you’re living with clutter to tackle it! Keep these things in mind:
- Does your space fit your stuff? Organization can only take you so far, and if you are constantly needing to re-organize it might be a sign you need more space or less stuff. (We don’t really have a more space option right now.)
- Give your things a home – they’ll never get put away if there isn’t a place where they belong. For me, the criteria of a good home for stuff is somewhere close to where it is most often used and contained. Piles look tidy, but they never seem to last, so I much prefer well-organized shelves, baskets and drawers. For this project, I grabbed a basket we weren’t using to keep Torre’s toys contained but conveniently nearby in a corner of the living room. That is where we spend our days, and I want those items in arms reach without having them always underfoot. Since Torre does not have (or need!) enough toys to fill a basket, I put my dumbbells and an exercise band in the same basket since the living room is also where I work out. The nook where the basket is now (on the far side of the green couch) is also big enough to store the play mat and some foam floor mats that are great for tummy time.
- Clutter attracts clutter. If you can break the cycle by putting things away asap, it will be way less work to maintain a tidy space. We teach this to kids (clean up before you move on to the next game/activity), but don’t always do it very well as adults.
- Small steps count. I totally recognize that the word tidy might disappear from my vocabulary or need to be redefined for a few years. I aspire to maintain space in our home where my mind can rest, but once Torre actually plays and is mobile (not to mention any other little people who appear later down the road), I know a lot will change. Maybe I will write a “keep your home tidy with a toddler” post two years from now. Currently, I have not a clue how to do that. What I do know is that my tidy living room makes me okay with our untidy everywhere else. I have hopes of bringing order to our dresser, our dining room, and the chair no one has sat on for months because it is covered in stuff, but in the meantime our living room is a good, small step.
Where does your clutter accumulate?