The lockdown that happened last year had me feeling all wound up, anxious, and at one point, on the verge of breaking down. I was four months postpartum then, I feared for my family’s safety, my daughters’ future (quite advanced but yes, I went there), and was perpetually worried for my husband who was away for work that time.
Dealing with long nights wrestling with a rollercoaster of negative emotions was one thing, but the daybreaks where I had to pull myself together was a whole new level of self-control. I was not entirely a basket case (thank Heavens), I was just generally out of sorts—more like, almost there but not really. But I didn’t want it to linger for long so I knew I had to find a distraction, one that would help me cope and get me through random bouts of anxiousness bordering on mild anxiety. Having had to deal with a few curveballs in the past, I knew exactly what to do: sort through the emotional and mental clutter by way of dealing with the physical mess.
Gaining control of our environment at a time when the outside world seems to have taken a turn for the worse does not only make you feel secure, it also is liberating. It liberates you from negative thoughts, helps you get rid of clutter, and eventually make space for new energy. And while decluttering and organizing our homes may seem like a daunting task, it need not be as complicated and overwhelming as we initially thought it would be.
Too many areas and don’t know where to begin? The shoe closet is always a good place to start.
Starting with the most basic, and frequently used area in the house, I gave our shoe closet a deep clean. I dusted all the shoes, wiped down every nook and cranny of the stackable organizer, and got rid of the pairs we no longer use. I even moved it to a different corner so as to give that sense of newness to it. Think, bad memories and mementos, but in shoes—sorting, decluttering, and maybe some heavy burning too to get rid of all the bad juju. Burning memories, but definitely not the shoes.
I moved on to work on our pantry next. The whole process of decanting and labeling gave me a different kind of calm I never knew I needed until I basked in the ASMR goodness of transferring a box of cereal into its pop lip container. It is both addictive and meditative, something that I would always look forward to doing. But more than just the ASMR, and the aesthetics, it’s the sense of order it gives my pantry and my kitchen that encourages me to continuously do it. It creates a system, one that makes food preparation, kitchen clean-up and maintenance a whole easier and less messier too.
Slowly But Surely
I have had a few nesting phases since giving birth to Mia and while all of those were minor projects, I still found them quite helpful in keeping my sanity intact despite the pandemic. One project in particular that had me in high spirits for weeks on end was Vania’s bedroom revamp. I went the whole nine yards of sprucing up the whole space with a fresh coat of paint, incorporating her toy kitchen as additional storage, and adding a desk, chair, and an art cart to complete our distance learning set-up. It was by this time that I had fully immersed myself in home organizing and just when I thought things were already looking good, my husband made it even better by making a homework station with an integrated printer drawer to keep everything streamlined, and this big black clunky printer hidden from plain sight. Home organizing is definitely better when you get everyone involved.
Of course, not everyone has the time for big undertakings and I have to admit, there are days too when I’m not up for mammoth tasks that take too long to complete. So on these days especially, I focus more on the little things, the small details that make up the whole like organizing just a drawer of hair accessories, or a drawer of Mia’s cloth diapers, refilling/updating my cash envelopes, or even just the simple task of organizing and labeling our cables.
Home organizing doesn’t necessarily have to be the big changes, it’s the small undertakings, the small wins that truly matter: those that when you add up, spark so much joy in you that you look forward to next time that you spruce up a corner, or even just a kitchen drawer. It should give you that sense of peace that comes from a clutter-free home and a clutter-free mind and however you want your space to look, and in whatever timeline you wish to accomplish it, always embrace your own pace of decluttering.
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