In my first eCourse, Decluttering With Kids, I briefly touch on the idea of a decision-making muscle. (If you’re interested in learning more, you can sign up for my five day email eCourse by simply subscribing in the sidebar on the right, or if you are mobile it will be at the very bottom of the screen.) I want to elaborate on that thought today. Not many of us Mamas have time to make it to the gym these days, but at some point in our lives we worked out fairly regularly. Imagine walking into the gym on your first day dressed in your new yoga pants, prancing over to the free weights and taking a long look before deciding on the 30-pound dumbbells. You wrap your fingers snug around the handle and give it a jerk. It wiggles a bit, but you can’t lift it. You try and try (you’re very determined!), but despite having a gym membership, wearing the right workout gear, and possessing an extreme amount of motivation, you can’t do it. You look to your left and see someone lifting the 30-pound dumbbells with ease. This person makes it look easy. “Why can’t I do that?” you ask yourself and you feel a tiny bit of that glorious motivation fizzle out.
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Well- as I’m sure you know- it takes practice. You must start small with exercises that are made for beginners and use weights that fit your circumstances. If you continued to walk into the gym every single day attempting to lift the 30-pound dumbbells, eventually you’re going to extinguish all of your motivation with cold discouragement. The same is true with beginning to declutter your home. So you’ve completed my eCourse, joined up with fellow Minimalist Mamas in my Decluttering With Kids Facebook group for encouragement and accountability and you follow my daily tips and advice on my social media accounts. You have all the motivation in the world to make this change. You just know that you can conquer your most cluttered space now! Well- you can. But my goal for you is not simply a momentarily decluttered space, but a relaxing, stress-free home and a new Minimalist lifestyle that supports it. You can jump in with two feet and empty out your junk room, or your garage or spare bedroom, but I implore you not to. You need to build up your decision-making muscle before you’ll notice a lasting change in yourself (happiness) and your home (neatness).
“Comparison is the thief of joy.” -Theodore Roosevelt
When you look over at the person next to you who is successfully lifting the 30-pound dumbbell, you are only seeing a five-second snippet of the person’s actions at the worst possible time for you to take notice. Your self-doubt causes you to turn your frustrations inward and in just a mere moment you have decided you are not good enough to succeed at this task. The part you have failed to consider is the amount of practice this strong-armed individual has toiled over. In one glance, you can’t see that she has been coming to the gym regularly for two years. You can’t see that she failed more than once, but that failure taught her the skills she needed to get back at it again. You can’t see how much her muscles ached when she first began this workout regimen. In one side-eyed glance, you can’t see that at one time this was hard for her, too.
This metaphor holds true for keeping a neat, organized home. When a friend shares a photo of her child on social media, you can’t help but notice her toy-free floor, or her empty laundry basket, or the fact that her child is actually wearing pants because #toddlers. Maybe her house looks like that all the time, but I’m willing to bet she just cleared the background before she snapped a pic. Don’t let someone’s highlight reel be the reason you give up before you’ve even begun. You can do this! Yes, you!!!
You have to exercise with the light weights over and over to build up your decision-making muscle. The first decluttering exercise that I suggest to almost everybody is to simply find one piece of clutter in your home every day that can go and add it to your donation box. Just one thing. Everyday. Does that sound too easy? Do you feel like that won’t even make a difference in your massively cluttered home? When a person with 30 pounds of extra body weight joins a gym and completes her first day of working out, she shouldn’t expect to go home and look in the mirror and see her version of perfection. She must daily repeat the exercises that feel “too easy,” control what she is allowing into her body, stay consistent in the amount of time she puts in and realize that a noticeable, lasting change isn’t going to happen overnight. BUT. Keep in mind, even the slowest runner laps the person still sitting on the couch.
Begin today. Find your starting place, control what items you’re allowing to come live with you, stick with decluttering 5-10 minutes a day and stay consistent. My FREE eCourse can help you with that. Exercise your decision-making muscle and before you know it you will be able to successfully take on the bigger challenges, stress-free. Svelte.
I’d love for you to share your decluttering photos in my Facebook group. Before you know it, these will become your ‘before’ photos!