If there’s one common complaint parents have, it’s that our houses or apartments are too crowded and never clean enough. With babies or children in our households, our homes are filled with love – and stuff. So much stuff, you can’t seem to find a place to stash it all.
If you’re in danger of being suffocated in the world’s biggest indoor avalanche when you open your closet doors, here are some tips for freeing up some valuable real estate on your counters and in your closets.
Knock off some knick-knacks
If you have a lot of knick-knacks cluttering your tables and bookshelves, it might be time to part with a few. Take a hard look around. If you feel anxious or stressed at the thought of dusting all those mementos you’ve gathered throughout the course of your life, you’d be better off without a few of them.
Keep the ones that are the most special to you, and either pack away or give away the others.
Cut back on your child’s toys
This one is tough for parents because you feel like you are giving up memories when you give away any toys your child has outgrown. You can remember them playing with those toys just months ago, and you can’t believe how quickly time is passing.
It’s okay to feel sad about parting with toys that were once special to your child. Maybe instead of getting rid of all the ones he no longer plays with, keep a couple that you have space for.
Another compromise is to give them to your child’s younger friends or cousins, and then he can still play with them when he visits their houses, and you’ll have extra opportunities to reminisce about his younger days.
Say goodbye to your old wardrobe
Fashions change, and so do people. You might have had a killer wardrobe before you had a child. It’s probably still in your closet, where you’ve kept it just in case you ever need it. If you still have high hopes that you’ll someday revisit your little black dress collection, then hang on to it.
But if your body shape has changed so drastically because of pregnancy that you feel you’ll never be able to fit into your old wardrobe, give it away or sell it. It’ll be a relief to have the extra closet space and not see the constant reminder of how skinny you used to be.
Save counter space by getting rid of appliances
Kitchens are notoriously crowded places. It seems there’s never enough room. If you’re going to free up some space in this room, you’d better be prepared to make some hard choices.
If your baby is now a toddler and you don’t need that bottle warmer any more, give it up. If you’ve ditched your coffee habit in favor of tea, pack away that old coffee pot for a while and see if you miss it. See if you can find room elsewhere in your house to store that waffle iron you only get out once or twice a year.
With a few well-spent hours and a take-no-prisoners approach, you’ll be admiring your new clutter-free living space in 2017 and beyond.
Shannon Serpette is a mother of two and an award-winning journalist and freelancer who lives in Illinois. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.