Before Four, Declutter More.

When I found out I was pregnant with my fourth child, I did what any mother would. I immediately googled what it would be like to have four kids.  And most of the articles discussed how to handle chaos. Anyone who has 3+ kids knows that it’s always chaotic. So I took to asking moms in the homeschool community. 

What was it like having four kids? How do you handle it? How can I prepare?
And it seemed like the general consensus was that it carried a huge mental load, and that if you have too much stuff in your home, it’s always going to feel hectic. Basically you need to get rid of everything. 
And not the-kids-can-amass-so-much-stuff everything, but as a family who is growing, junk will not help you to survive having a large family unless you get rid of it all. 
Now I know what you’re thinking. “I could have told you that.” And yes. But then no. 
 When I became pregnant, I assumed that I would prepare when the nesting bug would hit me at the end of pregnancy and everything would be neat and organized. This thought lasted for 5 minutes as I walked around my house realizing that unless my nesting was the entire Avenger team rolled into one, I was already setting myself up for failure. 
 I’m not a collector of junk, but when I say every room had stuff in it, I realized that in the state my house was in, it was going to be hard to take care of the baby and maintain any semblance of sanity. Enter the thoughts of “oh man, what the heck were we thinking” and “my god we are gonna need a bigger boat.” I was stressed. I mean I couldn’t sleep and couldn’t think. My house hadn’t fully been cleaned in over a year. 
 Yes, a room here, and there along with the bathroom and kitchen, but outside of that stuff had a way of migrating from one place to another. So, I adopted a pregnant version of Marie Kondo’s method and my husband and I got work on decluttering our house. Now did I see if things sparked joy, or any of that, no. I just got rid of stuff but it seemed to be at the same pace so we’ll appear to be fancy and say it was her method. I would love to say that the magic of getting happier happened when we started to declutter, but every weekend I felt and became more and more overwhelmed. More stressed, and more annoyed. We didn’t have a lot of stuff but we still had too much. The biggest stressor was it just felt like we weren’t moving fast enough. If we didn’t finish a room, it would sit until the following weekend, reminding me that 10 months of being pregnant seems like a long time, until it’s not. 
 It literally felt like a John Wayne western in my house, as I would stare down rooms and junk waiting for the help of my husband to move it. I should probably take this time to mention that I had a few health issues, so going at anything alone was unwise.
Anywho, the last 4-5 months of this pregnancy was hard. If we didn’t complete a task the way I hoped, I immediately felt like a failure. And the weight of that became heavy and consumed my days. I suddenly disliked my home. My family saw the shift in my usually optimistic state turn into constant quiet and sadness. 
I could literally go on and on about this, but I will say what everyone says when you are working on something; trust the process. 
Because aside from homeschooling stuff, we managed to declutter fifty percent of our house! And immediately after removing so much stuff, and deep cleaning every room the weight and stress gradually started to lift. Like what?! 
The best part about this is that while I was decluttering, I never realized that I was also decluttering my brain. I was getting rid of so much mental junk that I didn’t know was there. The heavy mental load I was feeling as a mother was cluttered. I was attached to clutter and I didn’t even realize it. Things were affecting my day to day in a way that it made everything else in life difficult. 
As women and mothers, we carry a lot. I mean, the only reason most of us have planners is because it has to go somewhere, you know?  We literally are the beacons of our families’ life. And when we remove what seems like a miniscule obstacle it feels like someone has given us an ice cold lemonade on a hot day. 

Now when I talk to mothers with 4+ kids, I get it. I completely understand what they mean when they say you have to get rid of everything, because you do. 
Que music from Britany Spears “Work b*&%h”
“You want to keep  your sanity. feel like you’re in control. not lose your mind. You betta declutter b*&%h! You want to have a baby. Not feel societal weight. Have your days flow. you betta declutter b*%$h!”

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