Everywhere we look – on Pinterest, blogs, Instagram, you name it – people are decluttering. I’ve seen lists of rooms to in which to attack the clutter or bags piled up boasting another notch in the challenge of getting rid of some obscene amount of things we don’t really need.
Marie Kondo has undoubtedly made heaps of money with her tactics on purging your home down to the very bare essentials. But what does this mean for us homeschoolers and our homeschool clutter? Aren’t we supposed to have an excess of books and paper and glue sticks?
I’m usually one to err on the side of minimalist rather than a clutter bug. But rather than going crazy and throwing away 90% of our things, I’ve found a happy medium between too much clutter and too much rigidity in our home. Here’s why you should rethink the amount of clutter you’re allowing in your home without going too crazy.
Clutter leads to loss of time
How many times do we spend an extra 40 minutes searching for a lost math book or looking for the pencil sharpener? Probably lots and I’m guilty too.
With four kids that are always home and doing things, I don’t think there will ever be a time in the next 15 years that my house isn’t somewhat cluttered or messy. But excessive clutter steals our time.
When things start to get really cluttered around here, I find myself moving a lot of piles and “losing” a lot more stuff. When paper clutter is at a minimum, and the kids’ rooms are not overflowing with unnecessary stuff, we spend a lot less time searching for things!
Clutter leads to overspending
Raise your hand if you’ve bought two of the same curriculum because you forgot you owned it because your bookshelves and closets are overflowing with curriculum. Yep, me too.
Spring is a great time to hit those used book sales and homeschool conventions and start thinking about the curriculum you’ll need for next year. The thing is, though, we’re not really getting prepared if we’re just buying duplicates of what we already have. Have you ever spent $86 on new writing curriculum because you forgot you already have a similar one because you have too much stuff?
Before you go buying new things for next school year, take some time to clear out what you already have. Shelf by shelf, clear out the things that you tried that didn’t work for you. Clear out the duplicates. Clear out the things you bought just because they were a good deal but you know you’ll never use.
When you have a clear view of what you have, you’ll have a clearer picture of what you need. You won’t feel guilty about spending too much at the convention because you know just what you need.
Clutter begets clutter
Usually, around here, things get messy and cluttered when we are too busy to keep up with things. When this happens, I’ve noticed how quickly the piles seem to grow! This phenomenon makes me think that clutter begets clutter. The more you have, the faster it will multiply.
My kids seem to feed off my level of cleanliness. When I slack, they slack. But in reverse, they will pick up steam when I do too.
Staying on top of clutter is easy if you just do a little each day. Every afternoon when we finish school, I ask the kids to put away all their books and papers. By asking them to do that, I feel obligated to do the same by putting my planner and my books away too.
Again after dinner, we have a cleanup time. It’s only about five minutes, but everyone cleans up their rooms, toys, and projects. I clean up the main living areas and the kitchen counters.
It sounds like more time than it actually is. It only takes a few minutes, but the payoff is enormous. It’s a lot easier to let piles stack up when there are already piles galore. The more, the merrier, right? Clean surfaces are much harder to junk up. I find that the clearer the space is, the clearer it will stay.
The key for keeping clutter under control is paying attention to how much stuff we are holding onto. We can’t expect to have immaculate homes. Our children see to it that that won’t happen for a while, but that’s okay! We don’t need immaculate homes. We just need homes that are comfortable and that work for our needs. Hardly ever can clutter add to that equation.
What areas of your house tend to collect clutter the quickest?