Whether it’s early or late in your pregnancy, it’s never too late to do some purging. I should know – I’ve undertaken some form of decluttering at every stage of mine so far. I know it can be exhausting sometimes to even think about going through stuff (or getting off the couch at all), but even just tackling one drawer can give you a huge sense of accomplishment.
So, why is pregnancy, of all times, a good time to purge? While it’s an absolutely wonderful time filled with excitement, that excitement can easily turn to anxiety. (Again, I’m speaking from experience. ;-)) Making room for a new little life can mean uprooting other parts of your life. Rooms may need shifting around, the fun baby clothes, toys, and accessories need a place to live – to say nothing of your own constantly shifting wardrobe. Getting on top of it all can help you feel calmer, in control, and a little more prepared and mentally ready for what’s to come.
Here are just a few tips that I’ve found helpful while dealing with my own purging adventures (which are, admittedly, not fully complete yet):
1. Don’t overdo it. As with anything in pregnancy, it’s easy to do just a little too much and overextend yourself a tad too far. You’re used to getting a task done in a certain amount of time, and especially if you have other kids in the household, you’re probably a whirlwind when you have a chance to devote the time to any job.
I have problems remembering this with most tasks I undertake lately. When I finally find enough motivation to get off my behind, I want to push through until it’s D-O-N-E. But, sometimes they can’t get done in one afternoon. AND THAT’S OKAY. Our bodies are naturally more fatigued during this special time, and while I’m not saying that we need constant pampering, we need to heed our body’s warning signs. And if your husband raises his eyebrow upon seeing a pile of clothes in the middle of your bedroom still to be sorted…remind him. 😉
Oh, and keep hydrated, especially if you’re working in a stuffy attic or basement. I forget to drink the allotted amount ALL the time, and particularly when working on chores. Oops. And NO HEAVY LIFTING! Another mistake I’ve made more than once.
2. Make a list. This is my answer for all of life’s stresses, even if the list ends up getting lost in a pile I was decluttering. Ahem, yeah, that’s happened. Simply writing out what needs to be done lets my brain relax a little and actually visualize and focus on the tasks rather than the overwhelmingness of it all.
So, in my case, we’ve got a small house. Whether we find a larger house before this little one comes is anyone’s guess (ACK!), so we’re planning and making adjustments to our current living situation to accommodate two adults, one preschooler, one newborn, three cats…and a partridge in a pear tree. This involves shifting an office to house said newborn, utilizing unused storage in our son’s room, completely overhauling our basement storage (which also involved painting everything, for some reason), and purging all of our clothes. Oh, and continue working on our house just in case we need to put it on the market at a moment’s notice.
Without making a list and following tip #3, I’d be a basketcase of worry.
3. Chunk the purging into smaller tasks. Ahhh. Isn’t it nice to cross things off your list? This is why I don’t write lists that say “Organize basement.” It would take all summer to cross it off and would make the task seem insurmountable.
Instead, writing a master list is a good start, but try making bullet points for each small task. In my case, I was ecstatic just to get the bins of baby/toddler clothes sorted and purged as well as I could. Check! The task this afternoon will probably be going through my underwear drawer. Yup, just one drawer, but with all the various sizes I’ve been fluctuating through, it’s a job I’ll be happy about when it’s done – and I can close the darn thing.
See? Slow and steady really DOES win the race. It also helps you pick and choose what you’re up for doing depending on your mood and energy level. If you’re not in the mood for an in-depth project, just try grabbing the stack of already-paid bills and paperwork to organize on your lap while watching your favorite show. You’ve not only splurged on some Downton Abbey time, but you’ve checked something off your list. Look at you go!
4. It’s not a big deal. If the decluttering gets done, great! Pat yourself on the back and put up those swollen ankles; you’ve earned it. If it doesn’t, it’s not the end of the world. And not every job needs to be completed to perfection. Seriously! Does that word even exist in reality?
I’ve heard so, so many mamas tell stories of the baby coming early, or simply faster than they expected 9 months to go. It’s rare that they were fully prepared, with the nursery ready to go with weeks to spare. For us, we finished ours after our first son came, but the important stuff was ready to go and clean. (Remember that they often don’t make use of the nursery for awhile, anyway.) As far as this second baby? Who knows. And this is totally normal. I’m considering making one of those frou frou art prints for the nursery but instead of an inspirational saying, writing “It is what it is.” The baby will never know. 😉 (J/K…kind of.)
The main things need to be done: a hospital bag packed (sending your husband home for clothes can be a disaster!!!); diapers should be purchased and prepped if you’re cloth diapering from the start; at least a few days of outfits, onesies, and blankets should be washed; and at least a bassinet or pack ‘n play (or whatever you’re using) should be ready to go. Even if you’re formula-feeding, you may want to wait on purchasing a particular brand or type considering the hospital will give you the rest of the stuff you’ve been using while there (and quite possibly free samples); you also don’t know if the brand you buy will be different and possibly cause tummy troubles, so wait and ask someone to pick some up for you after you get home. Sure, there’s tons more you could do, but these are pretty much the bare basics.
There’s always something you wish you could’ve finished or cleaned or organized or purchased or zhuzhed, but in the end, the baby will come and, as long as you’re both healthy, everything will be fine. That perspective has helped me…a lot.
Anything you guys would like to add to the list? Have any of you undertaken some purging projects lately (whether pregnant or not)? I’m not a purger by nature, but the 1,000 sq. ft. footprint of our house has made me appreciate the job greatly!