I remember life before children, when all of my clothes were in the correct drawers, my nicer things hung in the closet, there was order to my laundry chaos. And then I got pregnant, and everyone's happiness manifested in tiny onesies and even tinier socks. Not only did we have an overwhelming amount of baby clothing, we also had a happy spitter, so all of those onesies got put to use! She was born in late November, so spit up on her onesie resulted in a cold, fussy baby. Eventually, we broke down and bought bibs, which is about the time she outgrew the spitting. Oh the irony.
What I then had to deal with was the massive pile of clothing associated with the smallest member of the family. We also cloth diapered, and washed at home, so the mountains of laundry were daunting. Thank god I have a patient and loving partner, because eventually, I got overwhelmed and just left the laundry in the baskets. We just had too much!
I remember sitting on the couch, yet another pile of baby clothes to be folded lying next to me, and browsing Pinterest. That's when I found The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo. (Yes, that is a link to Amazon. No, it is not an affiliate link.) She found joy by decluttering. Could I find joy this way?
I don't think I'd call it joy. A profound sense of relief, yes. An easiness to life with a rough and tumble, roll in the mud, pour spaghetti on her head, kind of girl. I sat down with those 45 piles of baby clothes, and let go of the ones we were done with. Eventually, when we started talking about a second child, I started to store her outgrown clothes instead of passing them onto other families. But now they're in their own bins, organized by sizes, and ready to be pulled out when the time comes.
After finishing the baby clothes, I moved on to the dozens of receiving blankets, little bins and totes of baby toys, and all the other things we think we need as parents. Gizmos and gadgets can be helpful, but others just sit on the dresser, unused and cluttering. Growing up, we had so many kids and so many things, I didn't know what an uncluttered house looked like. Since starting the KonMari method, it's been a gradual progression to getting rid of objects that don't bring me joy. My own clothing, the knick knacks, the art supplies (and half finished projects)... I let go of the things and looked around. I didn't find joy, but I found a sense of peace. I was surprised at how easy it all seemed, when I didn't have as much clutter.
I think that's one of the reasons I enjoy cleaning as a postpartum doula. I want to bring a sense of easy comfort in a stressful time. When you look up from rocking your baby, and you see all the blankets and onesies tucked away into their drawers and baskets, I want you to breath a sigh of relief. One less thing for you to worry about.