A Year of Less so Moms Can Have More
I am all “less is more” until I hit a Brazilian steakhouse. It’s a tradition for our family to go around the holidays and I just can’t turn down a lamb chop. Yes, I’ve had three already (and most items in the salad bar) but one more can’t hurt, right? As moms, it can feel like we’re living this Brazilian steakhouse life day in and day out. We add and add to our plates until they are overflowing with “stuff”. Where does that leave us? Bloated and uncomfortable on occasion but also stressed and overwhelmed.
What if we got out of the buffet line? What if instead of adding more to our already full plates, we took something (or somethings!?!) off? What if the resolution or goal was to have more by owning less? Or achieve more by doing less?
No, I’m not in a post all-you-can-eat coma. The body of research on the subject is (somewhat ironically) growing. There’s a transformation that happens when you clear some things off your metaphorical plate and here are some areas to consider.
When we surround ourselves with possessions that we no longer love, need, or fit the season of our life, we feel stressed, overwhelmed, anxious and/or depressed. Owning 100 pairs of shoes that don’t match your wardrobe, are out of style, or don’t fit correctly is a burden. Owning 50 pairs of shoes that fit nicely in your closet, that make you feel glamorous, confident, or comfortable, is a joy.
Does this item serve me in my current life? Is this something I want to take with me moving forward? Do I still want to commit to this? When you make a decision about what to keep or toss from your home or schedule, what you’re actually doing is making a decision about what is important to you right now — and what isn’t. By letting go of items from your past, you clear space and time to explore new avenues and reprioritize.
THIS is the more of less. The less you have, the less you have to clean and organize. The less time you spend looking, the more time you have to be productive. The less on your schedule or to-do list, the more you’re able to enjoy the people and things you love. You can make it to that workout class you’ve been wanting to try. You can take that coffee break with your girlfriend. You can spend an hour building a fort with your toddler.
When your physical space is calm and orderly, you’re able to be more creative and productive. The same is true for your to-do list and schedule. You accomplish more in less time. You’re more successful professionally.
Okay, Catherine, this is all well and good but, give me a place to start! Here are two “spots:”
- Tackle a clutter hot spot in your home. What area or space makes you grunt or sigh every time you go by it or open it? Once you’ve decluttered and organized it, make it a priority to keep this spot in order. Even if you pick up nothing else, straighten this area out daily. This will give you the confidence to tackle bigger projects in the future and make you smile every time you walk past it.
- Don’t commit on the spot. As a people pleaser, this one is hard. You want to help but, what you thought would only take an hour or two may actually require more of your time when you think it through. Give yourself permission to take a hard look at your schedule and decide if you have time to volunteer at your kid’s school or host the baseball team for dinner. Is this even something you want to do? You decide what you say yes to and what you commit to.
This year, instead of making space to add more to my already full plate, I’m challenging myself to take things off. Are you ready to get out of the buffet line too?
by Catherine Gibel of Less is More Organizing Services Naperville.