I have to be honest, one of the first concepts that attracted me to Montessori is the aesthetic of the simple, minimalistic and beautiful environments created for our youngest humans.
When in college my dorm room had the bare necessities (I mention this because I still get called out about it), even back then I knew myself well enough to know that I function best in a clutter free environment, as does the young child.
I’ve seen it with my own eyes when removing excess ‘stuff’ from a child’s environment their behavior changes drastically.
Take a moment to think about it.
They are brand new to this planet and have so much to decipher, categorize and make sense of. Keeping things to a minimum, helps them adapt with more ease and serenity. This is a huge benefit to their developing brain. They are calm, not overwhelmed with too many choices and most importantly are not taken over with the overwhelming task of ‘clean-up’ time.
I’ve said it before and you will hear me say it again and again. Your child doesn’t need all of the toys marketers have us believe they do. Stick and stones, a wooden spoon (or anything else you already have) … is all they really need.
I remember so clearly moving to the States when my daughter was barely 2, she would literally take an hour and a half before entering the house, walking in from the back yard. She had been exploring and having wonderful conversations with the snails. I never bought any of the plastic outdoor toys that I see cluttering open spaces today.
Have you ever thought of how visual clutter affects our mood?
If you’ve been following me for a while you might remember the great joy, I had emptying out all the kitchen cupboards and only putting back what sparks joy.
I did the same this weekend with the medicine/cosmetic cupboard (photo). And as always brings great satisfaction, to do so.
Give it a try.
I open this cupboard daily to take care of my skin and use my perfume so yes it was affecting my mood to see the constant clutter. Cleaning it out this past Sunday was an act of self-care.
What area of your home stresses you out?
Let’s declutter the physical environment and specifically toys:
- Choose one area of your home you want to de-clutter. Just one at a time. I know Marie Kondo suggests taking everything of the same category out, but I’ve noticed this can get a bit overwhelming when living with little ones.
- Choose just one corner, shelf etc. Take everything off and diligently consider each item: Is it purposeful? Is my child really playing with it? Does it work? Are all the parts there? Does it invite open-ended play? Are they developmentally appropriate toys? Are they overstimulating? I prefer staying away from all battery operated noise making toys (again you’ll thank me for this one).
Then organize 3 boxes:
- One, for what you are discarding, donating, or giving away.
- One for what is still useful but can be stored for toy rotation.
- And lastly, the few, very few items that actually stay out. I like to have 5 to 6 items/activities out at a time per child.
Remember there are so many other activities to do around the house and outside, you do not need to feel like your home has been taken over by the toy monster.
And here are a few self-care ideas I’ve done for myself that you might want to try out as you slow down and enjoy the slow summer ahead…
- Get rid of all notifications on your phone, at least all the noisy ones (I got rid of the visuals too).
- Take all social media app off your phone (you’ll thank me for this one) at least for an allotted time. I did this last summer for 30 days and it was heavenly. I’ve yet to have the email app back on the phone. I realized I was using email as if it was a text message, which it is not. So now I intentionally check my email on my laptop and all is well. These can be immense time sucker and diminish your mood and self-worth. Minimize the distraction from what is truly important.
- Be mindful of what you say yes to, especially when it comes to filling up your calendar with commitments. It’s ok to say no.
Let me know how this resonates with you and how I can be of support. Make sure to book your discovery call and learn how I can help.