The moment I realized decluttering my home was not enough
My simplification journey started last year. I moderated a Miami Moms Blog panel of mompreneurs whose businesses are all about making your lives simpler and better. It was around the time of the Marie Kondo boom.
I went back home that morning in January inspired and ready to declutter my home. I was ruthless and determined. In less than 6 months I got rid of a good 50% of stuff around the house. Things that we didn’t need and were cluttering our home.
A year later, my home is almost completely clutter-free. I still walk frequently into each room of the house with a plastic bag and get rid of expired items, stuff we no longer use, clothes that no longer fit, old shoes, papers, toys, stuff. Keeping my house decluttered has become a habit I truly enjoy. My husband is on board and my children have started reaping the benefits of living in an organized space with less. It’s a simpler, more peaceful, much better lifestyle.
But although I pride myself of this accomplishment, my organized decluttered house didn’t seem to bring me much peace anymore.
My habits changed for good. My home was simpler, my pantry healthier, my family happier. But I was even more overwhelmed and tired. Somehow I managed to keep some of my emotions hidden behind the “oh well, I’m a full-time working wife and mom of two young children, so being tired and moody is a part of it” kind of excuse.
My capacity to focus was significantly lower than usual. My patience also started fading away and my mood deteriorated. I felt easily overwhelmed by anything. Until I prayed a simpler prayer… one that came from the bottom of my heart and the humbleness of those moments when you know you are standing before something you can’t handle any more on your own.
And God heard me. A very interesting realization came to my mind: I’d decluttered my home and bettered my lifestyle, but hadn’t decluttered my own mind. I’d taken care of my family and given them the best life possible, but I hadn’t taken care of my own heart. My thoughts were just too many for me to be able to decompress and rest every day. I was looking at a simpler, organized, almost minimalist home. But if you could look inside of me, the clutter was out of control.
So I had to make some decisions for my own health and that of my family.
Like I did with my home, I started getting rid of thoughts that I didn’t need
I laid most of my recurring thoughts, kept the good ones and got rid of the negative ones. I was ruthless and determined to uncover the lies I’d believed about having to do it all, perfectly. Feelings of inadequacy, insufficiency, and guilt. Pressure to perform at 100% at work, in motherhood, and in every single role and task. I put all these straight in a trash bag.
Stocked back up on essentials: God’s love and grace
The Word of God is the source of truth and life and I needed a reminder of this to feel free again (John 8:32). It holds the truth about who I am in God (a daughter of the Almighty King of kings) and what it means to be loved unconditionally and saved by grace, through Christ’s sacrifice (1 John 4:10) and equipped to do anything (Philippians 4:13). Refilling my mind with these thoughts brought me peace and helped me recover my confidence understanding that it’s not about my efforts and intentionality (Ephesians 2:8-9), it’s about Him and how complete, sufficient and capable I am thanks to His plans and purpose for me (Jeremiah 29:11).
Identified the sources that cluttered my mind
An over-crowded schedule with no room to get enough rest nor fall behind on anything and too much time on my phone was the biggest source of my cluttered, always-on unhealthy spiral of thoughts.
Simplified my evenings
I decided to simplify my evenings and truly rest once the children went to sleep. The constant pressure of having to be productive once they’re in bed was taking away precious time. I needed this for myself to unwind and keep my mind clutter-free.
Also, instead of going to bed drained, thinking about what I didn’t accomplish or where I failed, I reminded myself of the importance of going back to my essential source of truth. I learned to clean up my mind, take out the trash and give myself some grace as I thank the Lord for my day. Meditating in his Word and letting go of my own frustrations and negative emotions is a practice I’m going to cultivate until it becomes a natural habit for me.
Simplified my schedule
Instead of attending three events in one day, I learned to choose one and enjoy it. I got smarter at scheduling work meetings giving myself time in between to decompress and prepare for the next one. I added in time to rest and reduced my commitments outside of family and work to the very absolutely necessary. I’m no longer spreading myself thin across so many things.
Simplified my phone
My phone was also keeping me in an unnecessary always-on mode. So I deleted a bunch of apps, deactivated ALL push notifications, and categorized my content in folders. I put all my social apps in a folder named “Open once a day” (I’m almost there!). And guess what, the world still goes on. And I see the difference in the kind of thoughts I have and my capacity to disconnect and get rest.