The Connection between Clutter and Parenting

A Q&A with Laura Forbes Carlin. Posted in

So often we talk about home organization as the strictly physical act of cleaning and removing unwanted things. Which is part of it, says home organizing expert Laura Forbes Carlin. She also sees clearing clutter as a process that can be highly impactful for children when it’s met free of judgment and with intention. With less stuff, Carlin believes there’s more room for children to take up emotional space, which inspires more creativity, more compassion, and a deeper connection to the world. Carlin gave us her four-step process for keeping a clutter-free home, plus advice on how to get children involved from an early age, and she explains how to release judgment during the clutter-clearing process so that parents—and children—are happier at home.

Photo by Tatiana Yrikova

Clutter gets in the way of the love between parents and children. Physical clutter is really emotional clutter. When we hold on to things that are no longer serving us, it’s usually because we are holding on to the past or worrying about the future. In either case, we are missing the opportunity to be fully present with our children.

Clutter also drains our time and energy—two things every parent needs. Living in a cluttered and disorganized home is stressful and overwhelming, and we end up spending time and energy caring for our stuff instead of caring for ourselves and our families. We get caught up in managing it instead of living and being.

Once we clear the clutter, our vision for our life with our children—the way we hope and imagine it can be—has room to take form. When we get the clutter out of the way, we create space for this precious time with our children.

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