You’d have to be living under a rock not to have noticed (or been swept up in) the big shift towards minimalism and decluttering in recent times. Spark joy anyone? I, for one, am not so surprised to see it come. It speaks to a wish that so many people have to simplify their lives, to slow down and just be.
We can clearly see that clutter in our homes is adding to our feelings of overwhelm and stress. That more isn't always better. People are exhausted, and deep down inside we just know there’s more to life than frantic running on the work/life treadmill, day in, day out. So we’re searching. We want calm. We want spaciousness. We want to breathe out – long and slow.
But what about the clutter in our lives? The endless filling of time in a way that takes away from our wellbeing rather than adding to it?
For many people, particularly parents, it can be hard to carve out the space and time in a day needed to do the things that support you to be your balanced, flourishing best. You’re so busy doing all the things - running the kids to sport/music/drama/dance classes that you barely have the time or energy to do your own exercise, let alone pursue the things you love to do, just for you.
And you do it because you love them, because they mean the world to you. That’s why you put them first, right? Why you’re so busy working, so you can buy them all the things you never had. Because that’s what a good parent does…don’t they? But let’s think about this a little further…
What are the values driving your actions? In this instance, our first response might be that it's love. And while we know that loving someone doesn’t necessarily mean giving them all the things, somehow we can forget that doing all the things may not actually be the best way to express our love either – to our children or ourselves.
Sometimes, when we really examine why we behave in the ways we do, we realise that we’re operating on belief systems that don’t actually serve us. We can see that there are other ways of doing things, that will not only benefit us, but will benefit those we love too. And one of those things may be decluttering your life so that there’s more room for self-care. For breathing out.
When you're able to take care of yourself in a way that allows you to truly flourish, it flows on to all of those around you. You have more presence, more vitality, more energy, more love even, to give. You have more of what makes you uniquely you, and, as a consequence, are more able to raise your children to be their best selves and flourish in their own way.
What will your children remember, when they look back on their childhoods? Will it be the merry-go-round of activities, with a reheated dinner eaten in front of the TV? Or will it be the relaxed family meals eaten together around the table, filled with conversation, banter and inside jokes? Time spent together, just being.
So instead of just decluttering your home, think about how you might begin to declutter your life. What are you saying yes to that takes more away from your wellbeing than it gives?
When we step back and take a long-sighted view, it can help us make choices that take us closer towards a vision of what really matters, and shows us what we need to change. So go on, get out your calendar, see what sparks joy, and Kon Mari that s**t that doesn't.