I like to think I’m an observer. I have carefully studied and observed sensory kiddos in a lot of different environments. One thing I’ve noticed is a similar trend: confusion in a cluttered environment. Where there is a lot of “stuff”, it’s tough to organize. It’s tough to organize the brain…remember, I’ve said this before…it’s like there’s 10 steps for every single step.
Having said that, I have been on this journey to reorganize our lifestyle. I wouldn’t say I’m the type to love clutter, but it’s easier for me to deal with some mess than it is for my sensory kiddos. 2014 was about dealing with the excess, the mess, the nostalgia items, long forgotten and shoved off in a corner. Dealing with the bulk items in vast quantities, too many of this, too much of that. Many, many loads of “extra” donated. Gone.
We actually went into Christmas with very little “stuff”. We gave each child 5 items under the tree. A toy, something to wear, something to read, something pretty, and something to do. It felt…weird. For me, it was anti-climactic. I love, love, love to give! It’s my favorite thing to delight someone with a gift I’ve chosen just for them. I love to lavish my kids with gifts. But for them, they don’t love it.
This holiday season, they smiled. They played with every cherished gift. For the first time, it wasn’t too much, too cluttered, too crazy and over-the-top. They enjoyed Christmas! That had never happened before.
I’m learning how to give up more of my stuff. North American culture is such that we have so much. We are, after all, in the wealthiest part of the world, and “stuff” seems to be a way of life. I’m learning how to give it up, in favor of minimalism.
To my astonishment, I have felt a freedom within minimalism that I have never experienced before as an SPD Mom. Living with less is simple. There is less mess to clean up after. Everything with cleaning goes faster actually. The tidying up part in particular.
When cleaning is easier, there is a natural domino-effect in every other area too: I have more time. This means more time to teach (we homeschool), more time to play, more time to enjoy our beautiful girls!
I have found too, that it is possible to love the things that you have so much more…because they are few. The girls cherish the things they have. There has been a new respect found for the individual gifts they have. They pay attention to them, instead of absentmindedly ignoring the many things they’d been given before.
The recovered space in our home has created a new revitalized position for us to stay in our modest home. We no longer feel the need to strive after the almighty dollar to get the bigger home, which ultimately chains you to a mortgage, long out of reach for our single-income family.
I’ve seen the bewilderment leave our girls…the puzzled expressions in a mess….the frantic questions, “how do I clean this?” are slowly, but surely, leaving our home. The fights between spouses who are just too stressed with so much claustrophobia, not really sure what the problem is…gone. I’ve learned that too much is just that: it’s too much.
So every day, I’m training my brain to de-clutter, to toss, to donate, to clean up…in favor of healthy, happy sensory kiddos. They teach me every day how to be a better Mom. Love my Sensational-Misses!