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I just read a short guest blog post from Allie Casazza of The Purposeful Housewife on The Balanced Life blog titled “How Getting Rid of My Stuff Saved My Motherhood” about minimalism and clutter. Let’s just say I found myself thinking the author must have telepathy because her words were my very thoughts. She referenced a study published out of UCLA in 2012 that claimed “managing the volume of possessions was such a crushing problem in many homes that it actually elevated levels of stress hormones for mothers.”

Anyone else want to raise their hands? My kitchen is stuffed with things I don’t, and probably never will, use. One of our bedrooms is actually a storage shed. Literally. We have boxes of camping gear, home renovation tools, sports equipment, wrapping paper, and books. Tons of books. Now, to give us credit, we moved in thinking we were only going to rent for one year, so we decided to only unpack what we absolutely needed. My books, although they are cherished friends, didn’t make the cut.

However, that room, even though it has a purpose, stresses me out to the max. I can hardly walk in there without my blood pressure rising. What I’ve noticed is that because that room is untouchable, I’ve allowed the inability to declutter that room to be my excuse for not decluttering the rest of the house. Unimportant papers, towels, blankets, electronic gadgets and gizmos are all stuffed into random locations around our home, which has created a constant stress without me even realizing the cause. The stress and the clutter have added up to me feeling out of control and incapable of feeling relaxed in my own home.

No more. Every nook and cranny of our home is going to be looked at in term of the value each item brings to our family. If we don’t LOVE it, NEED it, VALUE it or USE it (with some exceptions: I’m not getting rid of my golf clubs just because we have young kids and haven’t used them in two years – that’s something I enjoy and will start playing again in the near future). Obviously, I will have to take our state in life and future plans into consideration before I list all our belongings on Craigslist.

I started organizing our extremely awkward pantry closet this summer, and while it still has a lot of work to be done to it, one of my favorite improvements is our door organizer. I bought a mesh closet door shoe organizer from Amazon, hung it on the inside of our pantry door, and put all of our tumblerswater bottles (these are my favorite), Ninja cups (we use the single serve cups daily!) and other awkward size travel coffee mugs (like these!) in the pockets. Since there were extra pockets when I finished, I also put our vitamins, aspirin and dog medications in the very top pockets, far out of the reach of little baby hands.

As I’m decluttering our home, I’m going to be decluttering my mind and heart as well. That’s another post for another day.

Until then, let’s continue to live with joyful purpose!