How does your environment affect the way you feel?
Finding time for yourself
I’ve been single for way too long; 10+ years and it’s really getting to me. One thing I’ve noticed is that I stopped decorating my home. I stopped putting the time, energy, and money into my environment.
It’s not that I don’t want to live in a beautiful and inviting environment. It’s more about the fact that I’m feeling tired, overwhelmed, and every last cent is going towards bills or to support my kids. The longer I’m single, the less I focus on me.
The effect of overwhelm
Another downside to being single for so long has been that I don’t always feel as motivated as I should be to keep it clean. I also don’t have any extra help to keep it clean or even someone else around to help with finances or other things so that I can focus more on organizing the clutter.
I feel like I’m spread so thin that it’s hard to focus on each thing because I have to focus on EVERYTHING! It’s all on me and after doing this for so long, I’m exhausted!
I know that not every single parent follows this pattern, but I have definitely met many single moms who have similar frustrations. When it comes down to it, our life affects our environment and our environment affects our mind. If you’re one of those single moms who doesn’t have a problem with this, PLEASE share your advice in the comments below.
Organized home equals an organized mind
Have you noticed the effect your environment has on you? Have you noticed feeling more stressed in a cluttered home? How do you feel when your environment is organized and clean? Our physical environment does affect us mentally. Once your home is organized and clean you’re able to focus more on other things. Having one less thing on your mind can make a huge difference for an already overworked mom.
One form of self care is keeping our environment clean and organized. Doing so will go a long way in improving the feelings of overwhelm and stress.
Create a System
It can be difficult trying to determine the rules that work best for your household. It can be difficult making every decision alone. It takes time to setup a routine and system that works for your family, but once you do it will make a world of difference. Make sure that you find a place for everything and also decide who is in charge of cleaning what each day.
This is one of my favorite tools to plan and actually implement a system that works: Love Your Space Action Steps Workbook
Make it a family priority to follow the system
The next step is, to get your family to FOLLOW the system- trying to do that alone can be even more challenging. Figure out what works for you and stick to it. Decide that your system will be a family priority. When does each chore around the house need to be done? What are the consequences if it’s not done on time? Make sure that your expectations are clear and that you follow through with consequences.
Begin with a clean home
When starting a new system, it will probably work best if you begin with a clean home. It will take some work, but you can do it. Clean your entire house, including every closet, drawer, etc. Sometimes the best time to do this is during winter break, summer break, or spring break- especially if you’re able to be home with your kids. These might be the perfect times for everyone to work together to clean and de-clutter.
If your only option is to focus on one room at a time, choose one room each day to organize. If things are pretty unorganized or you just don’t have much time, focus on one room each week and de-clutter as much as you can. If that’s too much to ask right now, try to at least find one space that you can clear out as a work space for now and develop a time line for the rest.
Do what works for your family
One way to motivate your family to clean is to start out pretending like someone’s coming over. There’s nothing that motivates us more than trying to get rid of the mess before a visitor shows up. With younger kids you can also try making it fun by singing the clean up song or turning it into a game. For example, see how much everyone can get done in intense 20 minute cleaning sessions.
The most important thing to remember is that how you organize and do things is not as important as making sure that you actually do work on it. It seems to work best for most people if to get it all done quickly and not drag it out, but you do what works for your family.
When you’re ready to de-clutter, make sure you get rid of non-essentials. If you have too much stuff, there’s a chance you’ll just feel overwhelmed trying to re-organize and clean constantly. This is a tough one for me because I constantly worry that if I throw something away, I will need it and won’t be able to afford it when I need it. I’m definitely trying to work on this mindset.
One idea is to only keep enough toys out that will fit on one shelf. You can always rotate toys every few days or every week if you have more than what fits on your shelves. Or even better, get rid of the toys that don’t fit.
Invest in the tools you need to succeed
If you need more buckets or containers in your closets to keep things organized, get them. If it’s not currently in your budget, write down what you need and buy one thing at a time.
Determine other items that will really help you to be more efficient. Some say that their Roomba is a necessity. I don’t have one, but I have friends who swear by it. Anything you can set and forget is a lifesaver in my book. Remember to make sure you only buy what you need and will use. Don’t add to your clutter.
Determine your expectation
Accept that things may not every be perfect and recognize that you’re doing your best. Don’t beat yourself up if your home isn’t perfectly clean or if it’s cluttered, but also don’t make excuses and put it off- especially if you know that clutter affects your mood. Decide what is acceptable in your home, but also remember how easily clutter can sneak up on you.
Do you need a break? Or do you need help?
Of course, there are times when we all need a little break. In general, I try not to get into this type of thinking. If I do, it’s easy to decide I need a break for every little thing we do. At the same time, single parenting is tough, and if you’re completely overwhelmed and about to have a breakdown, figure out what you need to do for yourself to be centered and balance and pull yourself out of that state so that you can focus on what you need.
If you’re completely overwhelmed and at your breaking point, get help! Don’t wait. Get help now. Do what you need to take care of yourself.
Clear the clutter
Clear the clutter from your life. Whether it’s leaving a draining relationship or keeping your home clutter free, do what you need to do to be your best self.
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**This post is the fourth of a 7 month Single Moms 101 series “Secrets of a Successful Life” by Single Mom Bloggers that I am working on with a few other single mom bloggers. We will each be writing monthly about topics that affect single moms directly.
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