Have you ever walked into a room in your house and just felt the energy drain out of you when you look at all that needs to be done? My kids room can feel that way to me. The rest of my house is usually in pretty good shape (as in, I’d let people come in my house and not die of embarrassment) but the kids room? It can go from semi-tidy to where’s the floor in well under an hour. Even though I live and breathe organizing, decluttering and beautifying, my kids room drives. me. nuts. It’s not my stuff and I don’t like to declutter it by myself, yet when I help them clean and declutter it I don’t always have the patience of a saint when they are agonizing over every Lego, birthday party favor and note passed in class. I won’t lie, I’ve been known to get a glass of wine when tackling this problem. So I’ve been thinking about how to solve it and I realized that I’ve been focusing on the micro perspective and ignoring the macro perspective. You know, the Big Picture.
When looking at a decluttering or organizing issue start BIG and then go small.
In other words, take a step back from the space (figuratively and sometimes literally) and think about three things:
- What is the purpose of this space?
- What is it actually being used for right now?
- How do you want to feel in this space?
So in my case, I would answer those questions like this:
- My kids share a room so this space is used for sleeping, relaxing, playing and occasionally doing homework.
- All of the above things + our household linen closet + storage for not currently played with toys + childhood mementos (saved by yours truly) + hand me down clothes that don’t fit them yet = That’s nuts
- I want to feel calm and happy in this room. I want my kids to easily be able to put away their toys, books and clothes and to be able to find things without stress.
Now that I have that figured out, I realize that I need to declutter the linen closet stuff (extra sheets, blankets and pillows) and consider what I can remove from their current living space and put into storage (a.k.a. the attic) like a plastic tub of hand me downs or twice-used-a-year sleeping bags.
*Bonus tip #1: If you put things in storage like you basement or attic be sure to label it clearly and then go to your calendar and figure out when you need to take it out and make a note of it. (e.g., I would use my Google calendar to make this note: Attic: Take down purple tub of kid’s summer clothes 5/1/2014)
*Bonus tip #2: Break out your camera and take some pictures of the space you’re going to be working on. All of it. We stop “seeing” a space after a short while and this will give you an instant change of perspective. Truly, give it a try and see for yourself. This quick tip can give you Decluttering Superpowers. Honest.
So I have some work cut out for me. I will use Trusty Timer (love her!) and limit my project to an hour. I know that by changing my perspective of that room that I can free up some space to better organize their belongings. And get closer to how I want to feel in this space.
Goodbye energy draining space, hello sparkly room!